Baje to the World Season 2 winner, Tarique O’neal-Griffith (left), receiving some of his prizes from Minister of Youth, Sport and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith. (Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment)

TARIQUE O’neal-Griffith, the lone male vocalist in the Finals of Baje to the World Season 2, emerged the winner of the competition held in Golden Square Freedom Park on Saturday.

The elated 22 year-old walked away with the top prize of $20 000 in cash and the opportunity to tour and perform internationally with world-renowned Soca artistes Fay-Ann Lyons and Bunji Garlin, among other prizes.

Speaking immediately after his win, O’neal-Griffith said, “I am in shock. This is a great feeling. I always say the girls always beat me in competition but tonight I came out and did what I had to do to win. At first I had a few doubts, but miracles do happen.

“This is an amazing competition. It took me out of my comfort zone. Look at what it did for me tonight. I am performing Soca. I was never really into the sweet Soca before and now I am performing Soca. So now I am going to study my next steps and invest the money I won wisely into my music.”

O’neaI-Griffith added that he could not have done it without a support system, “I want to thank my sponsor the City of Bridgetown Cooperative Credit Union. I also want to thank the supporters of the show who made me feel like family. I especially want to thank my mentor for the competition, Mahalia Cummins. She went all out for me and was always pushing me and encouraging me.”

The second place spot in the competition went to Shontae-Alleyne Clarke who took home $10 000, while Dianne Jemmott copped third-place and $5 000.

The other contestants in this year’s Finals were Daianna Price, Rebekah Carter, Harmoni Haynes, Jalissa Edwards, Christina Dottin and dance duo Damon Boucher & Asha Weekes, who all received a participation cash-prize as well as a trophy.

Producer of the event, Dwayne Grazette congratulated O’neal-Griffith on his win and noted, “This was a great competition. Each of the contestants came out fighting for the title and put down top-class performances.

“In the end Tarique came out victorious after his amazing performances of Sam Smith’s Writing on the Wall and Don Trent’s When Tomorrow Comes. As he said he did what he had to do and now we have a new champion of Baje to the World. Job well done, Tarique.

Shontae-Alleyne Clarke (left), who copped second place in the competition, took home $10 000, while third place finisher Dianne Jemmott, won $5 000. (Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment)

“I must also congratulate the first and second runners up who also gave tremendous performances, as did all the other contestants who really made this entire event and programme a fantastic journey. You were all remarkable and have shown that the future of Barbados’ entertainment industry is in good hands.”

Baje to the World is an initiative of the Community Development Department in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment aimed at developing well rounded entertainers in Barbados, who are equipped with the necessary tools to launch and progress their careers in the industry locally and internationally.

Season Two, which started late last year, saw some of the island’s seasoned entertainment practitioners including head judge Senator John King, along with the likes of Alison Hinds, Philip Forester, Andre Clarke, Marisa Lindsay and Dawn-Lisa Callender-Smith, sharing valuable advice from week to week with the contestants on improving their techniques and overall performance.

Each contestant was also paired with songwriters, producers and other creatives including Nikita, Mahalia, Shari Pollard, Kevin Watson ‘Sluggy Dan’ and Edwin Yearwood for the Mentorship Programme headed by Terencia Coward.

They also participated in Professional Entertainment Workshops facilitated by Kirk Brown and Stephanie Chase in conjunction with the National Transformation Initiative (NTI) under the guidance of Director, Dr. Allyson Leacock, which covered areas such as communication, presentation and leadership skills and topics including Financial Management and Entertainment Law.

Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment

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