Back In Jamaica, The Former Shower Posse Boss Is Making Movies.
“No interviews please” Vivian Blake returning to Jamaica on January 29, 2009.
After spending eight years in U.S. prison on federal racketeering and drug charges, Vivian Blake was escorted back to the land of his birth by U.S. Marshalls along with 51 other deportees just over seven months ago. The former Shower Posse Boss spent his time behind bars developing his skills as a writer, and plans to tell his stories on the big screen. In his first interview since coming home, he tells Boomshots.com about his plans for the future.[audio:https://www.boomshots.com/tunes/ReturnOfTheDon.mp3]
BOOMSHOTS: SO, YOU’RE HOME AGAIN. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WERE IN JAMAICA?
I got arrested in 94 January.
THAT’s 15 YEARS AGO. WHAT HAS CHANGED FROM THAT TIME UNTIL NOW?
It’s really the same, it’s just that the young kids that I remember two, three years old are men now. And people are smarter now in Jamaica. I think people are trying to make a life more in Jamaica. But it’s not that easy.
NO, THE WHOLE WORLD IS UNDER PRESSURE WITH THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS.
Yeah. It’s not that easy. But people are thinking more business-wise. People on a whole.
IS IT ANY EASIER FOR A GHETTO YOUTH IN JAMAICA TO GET A START IN LIFE?
Nah, it’s not easy. It’s like if you’re down, you’re down. And that’s not a good thing. It’s like the system forces illegal activity. Y’understand? It forces. Because things are so high. Things for poor people are exceptionally high. Because the sneakers that poor people wear is 7 or 8 thousand dollars. The sneakers that a rich guy wear is 500 dollars.
WHY IS THAT?[laughs] God He knows.
WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL FEES? WHAT DOES IT COST TO SEND A CHILD TO SCHOOL?
That part is good. It’s now free school, free for the kids. That part is good.
BUT IF YOU HAVE A GOOD EDUCATION AND NO JOB…
That’s a no-no. And there’s lots of that. You can’t get a job and if you do get the job you ain’t being paid. You don’t want to go to school and get the best education in the world, and you can’t find somewhere decent to live because you can’t pay. You still got to be living in that wooden patch because you can’t afford that rent that costs 2000 U.S. a month.
WHAT SORTS OF WORK ARE YOU GONNA FOCUS ON NOW?
First, I’m trying to look about a movie that I’ve written. It’s called “Dancehall.”
SO YOU WROTE THAT SCREENPLAY YOURSELF.
By myself. Yeah. It’s about two American girls who go to school in New York, college. They wanted to learn the Jamaican dancehall dances. So they came down in the summer after school and they got introduced to a friend in the ghetto who showed them around.. They were staying in a hotel, but they preferred to live in the ghetto to learn the culture more. They found that it’s a different type of dancing from they’re used to in America.
THAT’S FOR SURE.
They wanted to excel—and they did.
As dancers. But the story is they met some guys. And one of them met a guy who is the boyfriend of the girl who introduced her to the community. Ended up in problem.
SOME JEALOUSY THING?
Jealousy thing. At the end of the day, one of them died. So the other one had to go back to the States—after winning the competition too—to bury her friend.
SO ARE THESE JAMAICAN GIRLS WHO JUST LIVE IN THE STATES?
No—American girls. This is a movie for North America and Jamaica audience, but mostly North American. You understand, I’m doing it broad. I’m not just sitting on Jamaica Jamaica. But I want everybody to understand this movie.
SOME OF THOSE THINGS HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE.
And we have a girl in America, who will be playing the lead role. Her name is Tanisha. She’s a choreographer in Brooklyn.
I KNOW TANISHA. SHE CHOREOGRAPHS ALL THOSE SEAN PAUL VIDEOS.
Yeah. My son has been in touch with her and she’s ready. Yeah. And we haven’t choose anybody yet. But truthfully, I’m thinking of that girl who was with 50 Cent.
OH, YOU MEAN OLIVIA.
I THINK SHE HAS A WEST INDIAN BACKGROUND.
Yeah, but it doesn’t have to be her. It could be a Meagan Good. It could be any American. You know? Yeah. That’s my next project.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER SCRIPTS?
I’ve written—what? Almost 40 scripts since I’ve been in prison.
WOW. YOU’VE BEEN BUSY.
Yeah, 40 scripts and about 10 books.
MOSTLY DEALING WITH JAMAICAN TOPICS?
No. Only about 10 or 12 of them deal with Jamaican things. But most is situated in America. And even the ones that are dealing with Jamaican things, it’s really broad.
LIKE JAMAICA IS BROAD.
Yeah. I have some good scripts. Trust me, if I get the right backing… Crazy scripts.
ARE ALL THE THINGS YOU’VE WRITTEN FICTION OR DID YOU DO ANY NON-FICTION TOO?
I did a nonfiction but with different names. I call it “Dancehall Catwalk,” right? That is all about how I started the dancehall movement when I was on the run.
I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THAT. HOW DID THAT GO?
I opened the club they call The Cactus. Cactus Nightclub, that was my club.
I NEVER KNEW THAT. THAT’S A FAMOUS CLUB.
Yeah. What I did was I had a show with the Stush models, right? I kept a show at the club with them top models. But the crowd was lukewarm. I expected a bigger turnout than that. So like I met a dancehall girl—which you know Dancehall Queen Carleene?
SURE, THE ONE WHO USED TO BE WITH BEENIE MAN.
Yes, she. I met her before and I saw her album and saw the clothes that she wore. And after this show I start reflecting, You know, if I can put those girls together, against the top models—just a clash. I’m wondering what impact that could have. And trust me it was an impact. That was one of the biggest show ever. The club held 1500 people and there was 1500 people inside and about 4000 outside. That was how big that show was. I did a script based on that.
SO THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF CACTUS?
Yeah that was the beginning of Cactus Nightclub. I sold it just when my name hit the papers. I sold it from way back then—about 16 years ago, 17.
THAT WAS A LEGENDARY CLUB IN DANCEHALL CULTURE OVER THE YEARS.
I’ve had people tell me “Look what you did. You introduced that dancehall thing into Jamaica, and now it’s crazy. You introduce the people being naked—and now it’s crazy.”
BUT BACK THEN IT WAS DIFFERENT. NOW THEY HAVE A THING CALLED DAGGERIN’.
Yeah, this is something different. It was better back then. This is raw now. It’s causing all kind of problems on the radio and all kind of things.
YEAH IT’S LIKE THEY WANT TO BAN DANCEHALL OVERALL.
Yeah cause I was at a meeting two nights ago, and that’s all they were talking about. We had a meeting for the dancehall fraternity.
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN? IS DANCEHALL IN TROUBLE?
Nah—it’s nine days. Nine day talk. That’s all I think that is. It will cool down. Things like this happen before.
ARE YOU INVOLVED IN ANY DANCEHALL PRODUCTION NOW? IS THAT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DO?
No, only on the movie aspect.
DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE IN THE STATES?
Nah, Jamaica… Well, yeah, I went to college in prison.
WITH ALL THE WRITING YOU’VE DONE I CAN TELL YOU ARE AN EDUCATED PERSON.
I went to the best school in Jamaica. High school, it was like a college, like a junior college.
WHAT SCHOOL WAS THAT?
St. George’s College.
BUT THEN YOU WENT TO COLLEGE IN PRISON?
Yeah. But you see, even before I went to college I was a writer. I was a writer at eight years old. At eight years old. But it’s funny, right? You know. I didn’t remember being a writer until I went to prison. All that skill was suppressed by crime. The day I got in prison, or I’d say it was about ten months after I got to prison, I started reflecting back on my youth. And remembered that I had written about five songs.
OH IT WAS SONGS YOU WERE WRITING THEN?
Yeah. And I remembered three of the songs, and I rewrote them. And then I start thinking, I want to write some movies. And what I did, right? Caw the prison had a little bitty libray. And I went up to the library, and guess what I found? A book teaching you how to format screenplays. I’m wondering how could a book like that be in a Jamaican prison? And I took the book and I went back to my cell, and I studied.
THIS WAS IN GENERAL PENITENTIARY?
General Penitentiary. And I studied this book. And I decided I’m gonna start writing screenplays. And I wrote three screenplays, right? I was so excited about it. I contacted a director. She was from California. Her name was Carolyn Pfeiffer. She was living in Jamaica at the time, right? So I sent her three screenplays, and she read them. And she said, “Good. But you know what? I can tell you in which order you wrote the screenplays.” And she told me the order. And I said, How did you know that? She said “Because you’re getting better and better and better. Continue doing it.” And that was all the encouragement I needed.
WERE YOU WORKING BY HAND OR DID YOU HAVE ACCESS TO A TYPEWRITER?
By hand. I don’t think I could type a screeplay. Because the things come to me when I’m writing. I don’t think it would come to me that easy if I was typing. It just flow. I’m going to tell you a story. It look so far-fetched, but I think it’s a spirit doing the writing. I feel that way. Because you know I can never read back my screenplays.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T READ THEM BACK?
Somebody else got to read it. I can’t read it over. For some reason I just can’t.
THAT’S KIND OF SPOOKY.
It’s spooky! [laughs] You know? I can’t.
WHO DO YOU THINK MIGHT BE SPEAKING THROUGH YOU?
I don’t know, becaause I can’t say. I don’t know what to say. But you see when I finish writing a screenplay or I finish write for the day, I’m like dizzy. Like I can’t do nothing but go to sleep. I’m not myself. So it puzzles me. And guess what? I don’t have to outline a screenplay; I write straight and I do a screenplay in five days. It takes some people two three four years to write a screenplay. I do it in five days. As I write the thing’s coming.
SO THIS IS A TALENT THAT WAS SUPPRESSED ALL THESE YEARS?
It was suppressed. Yeah, yeah man. I’m going to send you some. And you might know some friends who know some friends who know some friends. I want it to be published. I want to be known—not as a gangster. I want to be known as a writer, an artist. A different life. And trust me I’ve got the books
YOU SPENT YOUR TIME WELL.
I didn’t make it go to waste. I came out of prison with five unfinished scripts. Only the ending is left. And the reason why I couldn’t finish them is the anticipation of gettin’ out. Cause I did these in the last four months, just to make some time go by. But just thinking on it, I don’t want to rush the ending. So I left them where I stop, and brought them back with me.
SPEAKING OF YOUR RELEASE, WHY WERE YOU RELEASED EARLY? I READ THAT YOU GOT A 28-YEAR SENTENCE.
Okay, yeah. I plead guilty to 28 years. And I got two 14 years, different from the 28. It was four counts. I got 20 years on one, right? Eight years on one. They run that together, so that makes the 28. And they gave me two 14 years. But they run that together too. So I had the 28 and the 14 that run together. So what they did was run that 14 with the 28 at the same time. So my sentence was just 28 years.
Now the parole board… For that matter, the parole officers wanted to parole me early because I was good in school. I am just 13 credits away from my associate degree. Ya understand? One semester I could do that.
WHAT WERE YOU STUDYING?
Business administration. My record was good. I never fought in prison. I never had problems. So when I went up for parole, it was 2000 and three. They told me I would be paroled 2000 and four. But when they went to the commission, ca’ you know the commission gotta send the paper, they say, Nah. I am going to go back to my murderous ways. That’s their exact words.
WAS THAT A JAMAICAN COMMISSION OR AN AMERICAN COMMISSION?
No the Americans. And they give me a date of 2000 and nine, the fourth of January. I re-applied and they had to throw that out because they were wrong, because my level was seven and not eight. And I beat them again, and the parole officer said—this is 2005 now—I’m gonna get paroled in June 2005. It went back to the commission again. They say Nah, he’s gonna go back to his murderous ways—2009. So I just say, Aw, I ain’t gonna bother fight them. I fought them through court but I lost. But coming out 2009 is based on parole. They say I had to do 15 years before I could get the parole. So that’s how I got out.
HAVING DONE YOUR TIME, DO YOU PLAN TO LEAVE ALL THAT IN THE PAST?
In the past. I ain’t mad at nobody. Y’understand? I ain’t mad at nobody. I get out, I’m just moving on. But my life has changed. I got my kids. I got to think about them. I got my grandkids.
YOU BECAME A GRANDFATHER SINCE YOU WERE IN PRISON?
Yeah, I got three grandkids. The buck stops with me. Ain’t no more illegal people in my family. Never. Never. I’m done with it. So that’s it. I’ve been done with it now for 15 years. And even more than that. Twenty years. Cause I was in Jamaica for five years and I wasn’t in nothing illegal. So I ain’t gonna start now.
JUST SHAKE IT OFF.
Yeah, shake it off. That’s why I desperately want to do the books. When I say desperately, I just want them to see that I wanna do something positive. Y’understand? I can give any publisher the best books, cause I’ll put my all in it.
I WANTED TO ASK ABOUT BET’S AMERICAN GANGSTER EPISODE ON THE SHOWER POSSE. DID YOU LIKE HOW THAT CAME OUT?
You know, my daughter had a copy of it. And I watched—I think it was last week I watched it for the first time. Where I was, I was at Springfield Medical Center in Missouri. They didn’t have BET. That’s so crazy. That’s the first, only prison in the BOP that doesn’t have BET.
SO YOU COULDN’T WATCH IT LIVE.
So we couldn’t watch it.
THEY SAY IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR EPISODES EVER.
Yeah, that’s what I heard.
WHAT’S YOUR REVIEW OF THE EPISODE, NOW THAT YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WATCH IT?
[laughs] It’s graphic. It’s really compelling.
YES IT WAS. THERE WAS SOME REALLY POWERFUL STUFF IN THERE.
I’m telling you.
BUT YOU THINK THEY DID A GOOD JOB OVERALL?
Yeah, really good production. Scoon did his homework.
YOU NEED THE RIGHT PERSON TO TACKLE SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
That’s for sure.
AND CURTIS SCOON IS GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN BRINGING THE SHOWER POSSE MOVIE TO THE BIG SCREEN?
Yeah. Scoon and Irv Gotti.
SO I UNDERSTAND THAT THE SHOWER POSSE MOVIE IS GOING TO BE MORE THAN JUST A GANGSTER FLICK.
No. This movie’s not just about gangsta and drug dealing, it’s about a culture that nobody has ever seen. I have the utmost confidence in Scoon and Irv Gotti.
ON THE AMERICAN GANGSTER EPISODE THERE WAS A WHOLE SECTION ABOUT BOB MARLEY GETTING SHOT. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SAY ABOUT THAT?
Not really, because it’s a sticky subject. But me and him was okay.
YOU AND BOB?
Bottom line: politicians used him and put him in problems. Cause that’s not Bob’s calling to be on any political stage. No, that’s not him.
AND HE SANG A SONG THAT SAID “NEVER MAKE A POLITICIAN GRANT YOU A FAVOR. THEY WILL ALWAYS WANT TO CONTROL YOU FOREVER.”
I was in the States then. I wasn’t in Jamaica then. So I can’t tell you details. But the bottom line, it wasn’t something he was doing for politics.
THEY MADE IT LOOK LIKE THE CONCERT HE WAS PLAYING WAS POLITICAL.
They made it look that way by calling the election right after. It look like he was on a political rally. You understand? But that wasn’t it. I know that for sure. But I was in the States, so a lot of things with that I can’t say.
SO YOU AND BOB WERE COOL.
Yeah, we were cool. We were cool. As a matter of fact, I was supposed to do some of his shows. To promote some of his shows just before he died.
WHERE WAS THAT? IN FLORIDA?
In Florida, New York—he was just showing me the machinery how I need to get the things done cause it have to be done professionally and whatever. And then he just went. You know? Because for real, back then I was gonna go complete legit if I had that push. Y’understand?
AND BOB WAS A MAN WHO COULD GIVE YOU THAT PUSH.
Yeah, he had the world in the palm of his hand. And if you start a promotion with Bob it will go a far way. Yunno? Nah man, Bob was a person who I personally love Bob Marley. The situation with that, that was political. And I was in America then, so… But me, I have a lot of love for Bob Marley. I still have pictures with me and him together at the Marriott Essex House just before he died.
COMING BACK TO JAMAICA IN 2009, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOURSELF THEN AND NOW?
That’s a complete 360. A complete 360. For one, my brain works better. Works much better.
AND YOUR DIRECTION IN LIFE IS DIFFERENT NOW?
Different. Now, what I really want to do is help poor people. That’s what I really wanna do. And I’m gonna work hard so I can do that. I think I can do it. I know I can do it.
YOU’VE HAD PLENTY OF CRITICS, AT HOME AND ABROAD. PEOPLE ARE ASKING WHAT YOU ARE REALLY GONNA CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS?
Well I have a non-profit organization, Inner City Nation. And I’m gonna use reggae dancehall music to propel that organization with the help of a lot of entertainers.
DANCEHALL MUSIC MAKES REAL MONEY NOW. IT’S NOT JUST GHETTO MUSIC.
It makes money, but I think it only makes money for a few. But if it’s compounded, it is a hell of a force and it will make money for all. But it’s got to be compounded. Everybody work together. Because dancehall music, especially for the Jamaican artists, you’ve got 50 artists, but only 3 of them sells. People in the world love all their music, but only 3 sells. And out of that 3 only one really sell real big. But the people love the music worldwide. So why not compound the music and come with one force?
WHEN YOU SAY COMPOUND THE MUSIC, WILL YOU BE ABLE TO BRING TOGETHER THE ARTISTS WHO HAVE RIVALRIES WITH ONE ANOTHER?
That’s my plan. Compound the music. We need one force. Everybody get big paychecks. I’m talking bout million-dollar U.S. paychecks per year.
OTHERS HAVE TRIED TO DO THIS BEFORE.
I can do it. All they’ve got to do is follow my lead. And all I want them to do is just entertain. Nothing different from what they’re doing. I ain’t messing with their contracts. I ain’t messing with their music. I ain’t messing with nothing. Just do what you do best—entertain. You ain’t got no contracutral traps. Just do what you do best: rap or sing—and I will take care of the rest.
DO YOU THiNK YOUR CRITICS AND THE CRITICS OF DANCEHALL WILL ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN?
Well I think they will. Because the unity will be there now. Plus we have a nonprofit organization to help the kids, help the old folks. I want people to be able to get medicine for cheap. You see like how you got Walmart, selling a month supply for four dollars? That’s how I want it in Jamaica. That’s my plan.
THAT’S A BIG BATTLE TO FIGHT. PRESIDENT OBAMA’S TRYING TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT HERE IN THE STATES.
It can be done. We might need a little help from the government but we can do it on our own. I know we can reach out to the pharmaceuticals in America and get these pills for pennies. Why not help the poor people? You know that death in Jamaica because of lack of medication is more than gun crime?
NO I DID NOT.
Yeah! But nobody looks at it. Nobody try to check the statistics.
BUT IT’S BEEN A BAD YEAR FOR GUN CRIME TOO.
Yeah, but the poor is dying because of lack of money to buy medicine because it’s expensive. You know how many people can’t dialyze in Jamaica? They can’t because they can’t afford it. It’s up to 300 U.S. dollars per treatment, and you have to have cash. No insurance company covers it.
SO IF YOU NEED IT, YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE CASH OR…
You die. That’s just it. And people are dying left, right, and center because of it. Plus you have to buy your own medicine. After you pay 300 dollars now. 300 dollars in Jamaica is almost 30,000 Jamaica dollars per treatment. You know what the minimum wage is per week?
NO, WHAT IS IT?
FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK?
For the entire week. And one treatment in dialysis can run you up to 30,000.
HOW OFTEN DO PEOPLE HAVE TO HAVE DIALYSIS?
A dialysis person needs it at least two times. You’re supposed to do it three times in a week. So that’s 100,000 dollars for the week, and you’re earning 3,500 dollars per week.
THAT’S NEVER GONNA WORK.
Tell me how you gonna make that money?
SO YOU’RE PLANNING TO HELP WITH THIS SITUATION?
Yeah. I would like to set up a dialysis center where the people come free who can’t afford it. And the ones who can afford it will pay.
THAT SOUNDS LIKE A HUGE UNDERTAKING.
I’m telling you. But it’s critical. It’s critical.
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU KNOW AN AWFUL LOT ABOUT DIALYSIS. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU’RE FACING YOURSELF?
Yeah. I’ll be okay. But what about the people who can’t be okay? You understand? Within a couple of months I’ll be getting a kidney.
YOU SAID YOUR TALENTS WERE SUPPRESSED BY CRIME. AND YOU TALKED ABOUT THE PRESSURES FACING THE YOUTH AND DRIVING THEM TOWARDS CRIME. HOW CAN YOU HELP OTHER PEOPLE FROM MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES YOU MADE?
Well I’m planning soon to probably do some school speaking engagement. As soon as the nonprofit organization get off the ground. Because I wanna be dealing with kids. Especially the girls—that’s the beginning of the future. You can reach the girls, the young girls, quicker than you can reach the young guys.
I have two god-daughters that I’m gonna be sending through college. I’m instilling in them this different type of life. Go to school. I’ll give you everything. Just go to school. One say she want to be a lawyer. One wants to do business administration.
It’s not easy with the men, but it’s easier with the girls. Because they’re gonna be the ones to be producing, cause they gonna have kids. And if they are trained certain way, they ain’t gon’ make their kids go mean. So I’m working strongly with the girls and the few kids who I can work with. Cause some at the age of 14 or 15 they’ve already broken wild. But a young girl at 14, 15, 16, you can still turn her around.
SO YOU DON’T HAVE ANY HOPE FOR THESE YOUNG MEN OUT HERE?
Yes I do, but it’s just a little harder. Let me tell you what can do it: Financing. Trust me—I can work with the men. But it takes financing. That’s the bottom line. I would like to do it on my own, so I would like do to something that can bring financing. Remember I said I want to do the thing with these entertainers, form a one group so they can get million-dollar checks? That would enable me to help more youth. Cause I’ll be getting checks too, same like the artists. So I would have a level where I can give more. The environment is so spoiled, but you can bring it back. You just have to have the funds to do it. Even America—look at it. Who do you think buy Nike? The poor kids.
AS YOU SAID BEFORE, THE POOR MAN’S SHOE COSTS $7000 WHILE THE RICH MAN’S MIGHT COST $500.
Yeah! You understand. Because they were taught different. So it’s hard to bring them around. The rich guy already taught his kids, invest. Don’t spend your money on this. These kids all they think about is fun and looking pretty. And looking pretty is expensive because they don’t want that jeans that cost 15 dollars.
THEY WANT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES SO THEY BUY THESE FANCY THINGS.
You understand what I’m saying. So if I can get that… My idea is teaching people how to fish, not giving them the fish. So don’t feel like if I get that money to do this, it’s gonna be given away. No, you’ll get a loan. You won’t pay any interest, but you pay it back. You have to have some responsibility. So we set up people here and there, that means we build economy in the inner city. That’s why I call it Inner City Nation. Build an economy, open up bakeries, snack shops, this and that… just for inner city. Create an economy for the Inner City Nation. Y’understand? And make where kids can get their books, they can get their uniforms. And they won’t be able to rape the system, but they can get what they need in order to excel.
THAT’S NOT A SMALL TASK.
I’m just praying to God. I think it’s gonna work though.
SO MAYBE ALL THESE ROADS YOU WALKED…
Was for a reason.
Tomorrow: Producer Curtis Scoon speaks about The Shower Posse movie.