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Q&A with Cerose and Funk Fest recap

FUNK FEST: Mr Play with Sisqo and Dru Hill

CONGRATULATIONS TO the champs London Lions Basketball team won their first British Basketball league! I wish I was there at the Copper Box. I got all the teams videos and saw it was going off! Fellas you did it. I’m proud to have been on this journey with you all as Team DJ. Respect. Let’s keep winning!

Meanwhile, I was out in Orlando for Funk Fest, which has been going for more than 20 years. It has an all-star line up that has the “old school”, “new school” and everyone in between jamming all night long.

In my opinion, it was a great blend of music, people and vibes. UK peeps, there’s one coming to Birmingham on May 25.

GOOD VIBES: Mr Play with 112

I also caught up with 112, Sisqo and Dru Hill and Bobby Brown backstage. Boy, I must say, it took me right back to the early 90s. Their music will never be outdated; those are some classics for real; that’s RnB Hall of Fame, straight up.

RNB HALL OF FAME: Bobby Brown and Mr Play

This week I talk to a fellow Douglas family member, my cousin Daniel, who originally started off as, and still makes music under the name Cerose, releasing many tracks across dancehall, reggae and hip hop. Daniel has recently become an author, launching his new children’s book Ringo. He shared with me the inspirational journey that led him to creating this character and storytelling.

Q: Who is Daniel Douglas?
A: Coming straight from Brixton, south London, born to strict Jamaican parents, my earliest memories are of me performing and/or showing off in church and at family functions. We were poor financially, we never went out to eat or had designer clothes, but almost every other year my parents would take me to Jamaica where we mostly stayed with my grandparents in Kingston or on my uncle’s farm in St Ann. Every trip I would get to know and love the island and my culture a bit more. Those experiences are priceless and showed me how big the world is outside of Brixton.

Q: Many know you as a music artist, what inspired your journey to become an author?
A: I always had a big imagination and have always been creative. Looking back I do think those experiences fed the creative spark in me even more so. Whether it was singing and playing instruments at church, putting on puppet shows at summer play scheme, drawing funny cartoons of people or making up my own raps in the playground, I have always been more comfortable in a free and creative environment, as opposed to an academic one. I'm married and a father-of-three. Before I became an author I was and still am a rapper/singer-songwriter going by the name Cerose. Over the years I have released several studio recordings and collaborated with some of the top artists and producers in hip hop, reggae and dancehall from the UK, USA and Jamaica.

NEW CHILDREN'S BOOK: Ringo by author Daniel Douglas

Q: Tell us more about your motivation to start create the children’s book Ringo?
A: The Ringo concept came from a place of frustration. I have a two-year-old daughter so while reading books with her and watching children’s TV, I was struggling to find content that spoke directly to her. So I began to make up stories and tell her about a little boy in Jamaica called Ringo. The more I would freestyle stories of Ringo to her, the more she would ask. I then thought to sit down with the idea and actually write something down. As I am accustomed to writing songs and raps already, it wasn't too strange to sit down and write a poem about a character I was already familiar with in my head as I made him up. So one day my daughter and I were doing some drawing, and I drew this little boy gave him a Rasta beanie, big eyes and a smile, showed my daughter and said, "Look bubba, its Ringo" and her little face immediately lit up! That’s when I thought there might be a bit more to this.

Q: Who is Ringo?
A: Ringo is a character designed to empower African Caribbean children, especially in the UK, as there are many wonderful books available for African-American children, but the two experiences (UK vs USA) are very different. The book is aimed at pre-school/early years to teach many different things from alphabet to agriculture to self care and respect for others all in a fun, rhyming, and musical way, while subtly using Ringo and the other characters to heighten the young persons consciousness and knowledge of themselves and that around them...even at three or four years old.

MUSICAL BACKGROUND: Daniel Douglas also creates music as artist Cerose

Q: What are your upcoming plans/projects?
A: I recently started a production company called Youth and Kulture Ltd. We will be releasing different books for all different ages, also animations, cartoons and short films. As well as music projects, workshops for schools and events. My first book Learning is fun with Ringo is the first project from Youth and Kulture. I am happy to say we have a cartoon based on the book, and an educational reggae song (recorded at Buzwakk studios by Bucky Jo in Brixton) and animated music video, scheduled for release this July with the premiere being held at our very own Ritzy cinema in Brixton. Look out for it.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring creatives/authors?
A: My advice to aspiring creatives is to just do it! We live in the information age. We can all write books, make films, make songs, find things out. We can even make phone calls in a way that 20 years ago simply didn't exist. You'd be surprised at what you can do with a smartphone and a bit of internet. Don't doubt yourself, you'll never know unless you try.

Q: Where can we follow you and purchase the book?
A: For hard copies of the book or other enquiries email:
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube @YOUTHANDKULTURE

Additional contributions from Steph D’Sa (@Ms_Dsa)

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