Record producer and social impact entrepreneur Andre Blackwood has committed to strengthening the community of Fletcher’s Land and its environs.
As a product of the community he now gives back to, Blackwood – who grew up in Fletcher’s Land playing football daily with his peers – who no longer lives in the community, has maintained a long-held relationship with Fletcher’s Land.
As an adult, Blackwood conceptualised The Gud Vybz Initiative, a program launched to inspire young men to keep working toward preserving a peaceful neighbourhood through community-building projects.
One such activity included a football competition dubbed The Upliftment Football competition.
Record producer and social impact entrepreneur Andre Blackwood (R) passed on lessons, advice and more to John’s Lane FC Captain Robert Daley, at the recent prize handover. (Photo: Travis Muschette)
Blackwood and his team coordinated a daytime match on the well-appointed community football court named “Fletcher’s Land Coliseum”.
The series of matches were sponsored by Blackwood’s record label IOKI Productions and the Voices for Jamaica Today Foundation (VFJT), a non-profit organisation that Blackwood supports.
The Voices for Jamaica Today Foundation, which strives to develop young Jamaicans in underdeveloped communities, has embarked on numerous fundraising and community development projects across Jamaica to raise awareness of key issues and assist the most vulnerable.
One of the VFJT organisers Dante Green, gathered men from Fletcher’s Land, Tivoli Gardens, Greenwich Gardens, Arnett Gardens, Jungle, and surrounding areas in West Kingston to make 14 teams.
That groundwork resulted in an exciting final match on Sunday, December 18, 2022, where Angola FC faced off against John’s Lane FC in a fierce final battle.
All teams understood that there was a JM$100k cash prize to be split equally among the ten footballers of the winning team.
In an interview with Our Endz, Green shared that as a young man growing up, Fletcher’s Land had a lot of football competitions that always brought people together.
He said: “Certain wars started coming up, people started dying, so me and [friend] Brandon decided to bring back the competition and now we are bringing back the community and bringing back the joy,” he shared moments before accepting a cheque for JM$100k on behalf of his team.
John’s Lane captain, goalie Robert Daley – a captain of very few words – expressed equal excitement in sharing the joy of winning the competition and is already looking forward to his future in football.
Without remorse, Daley made everyone aware that he will use his prize money to buy new cleats.
Andre Blackwood, who presented the cheque to Daley and Green, alongside VFJT Director Patrice “Q Soul” Pinkney, was proud to share the moment and encouraged the young men to keep at it.
“They said when sports is in play. The competition reminded community members why unity is strength and allowed the men to come up with different ways to deal with conflict resolution,” and that’s the goal, according to Blackwood.
He hopes that with more awareness for the initiative, the community will receive more sponsorship and overall, more support.
The cheque of JM$100k was presented to Robert Daley, captain of John’s Lane FC, on behalf of the other nine winners of The Upliftment Football Competition recently.