Where It's At Florida reunion

Observer senior writer

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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There was a sense of hopelessness among youth like Baldwin Howe in West Kingston during the late 1960s. He desperately wanted an escape from violence and poverty.

That came in the form of Where It's At, a weekly television entertainment show that aired on the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. Howe was a dancer and presenter on the popular programme that debuted in 1972.

On Saturday he will be in Florida for Where It's At Dance Party, a reunion event in Cooper City, Florida.

“It's a great idea, it's something I've always wanted to do but couldn't through lack of resources. People ask me about Where It's At all the time,” Howe, 65, told the Jamaica Observer.

Where It's At went off the air in the early 1980s. Elaine Wint, Alphonso Walker and Howe were its main presenters. It had a format similar to Soul Train in the United States, in which there were dancers and artistes performing their latest songs.

For Denham Town-raised Howe, Where It's At was a “building block” that allowed him to keep out of criminality.

“I was always a youth who never want to get into the negativity, so I used to go uptown and find something to do,” he said.

Initially he was a dancer on Where It's At, but soon eyed the role of presenter. Walker, who was also the show's producer, was willing to give him a chance, but Howe had no broadcasting experience and admits his diction was not up to par.

“I started reading scripts and ended up going to drama school. That helped set the tone for my career,” he said.

Howe eventually shared host duties with Walker and helped select artistes and dancers for Where It's At. He considers it just as important, in terms of exposure, as the current Digicel Rising Stars and Magnum King & Queen of Dancehall contests.

“Jamaican artistes got full exposure for their recordings. There were also fashion shows and panel discussions on various issues,” he explained.

Howe went on to emcee major shows such as Reggae Sunsplash, White River Reggae Bash and Rebel Salute. He still keeps in contact with Where It's At alumni in Jamaica, the United States and Canada.

Saturday's event is staged by Retro Movement Marketing out of South Florida.




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