Jamaican Gold is L.A.’s longest running premiere reggae night club. In fact, it’s been running for 20 years! On June 28th, Jamaican Gold celebrated it’s 20th year of delivering feel good reggae vibes to the masses of Los Angeles. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday night, Jamaican Gold gives you a party worth planning your week around. A party where the conscious beats of the island move through the sound system.
We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Jamaican Gold’s CEO Quie “QBwoy” Anthony to learn about his unique position as LA’s signature reggae ambassador. Intrigued by his knowledge, we wanted to learn more about the man behind it all.
QBwoy, or simply “Q” for short, is actually a native Angeleno born and raised in East LA. As a freshman in high school, Q went to his first Sunsplash at the Greek Theater in 1989. Q sites that concert as the pinnacle of his reggae education. In 1993, while in college, he hosted his first club night at Kingston 12 in Santa Monica. He booked Macy Gray as the nights special guest with the help of his good friend “Will Dog,” the bassist in her band at the time, who now plays with Ozomatli. The night was a success and Thursday night became Q’s night at Kingston 12. It was known as a cutting-edge underground hip-hop spot where Q would bring weekly acts such as Jeru The Damaja, Goodie Mob and The Black Eyed Peas. DJ Alywad was on decks and spun mostly hip-hop and funk with a sprinkle of reggae and a morsel of dancehall.
In ’94, underground music became more commercialized and the quality of music suffered. The owner of Kingston 12, Dale O’Brien, called Q unannounced to tell him about a vision he had. A vision that Q would one day control the biggest reggae parties in LA. O’Brien offered him Sunday nights at Kingston 12 and Jamaican Gold was born. Q did his thing every Sunday night, booking noteworthy acts such as Born Jamaican. In ’96 the Gold moved to Martini Lounge, where Wesley Snipes became a regular, before it moved to Dragonfly. So many people began to catch on to the scene, the fire department constantly shut the club down for being over capacity. From there they moved to the Key Club on Sunset, until settling at the Century Club in ’97 for a few years. “A thousand plus people coming out every Sunday night with live reggae and roots DJs on the outside patio, DJ Ron Miller was blazing latin beats of reggaeton, salsa and merengue in the Tropical Room, and rare grooves and R&B in the upstair’s loft. Dancehall with a break of hip-hop, was spun by two of the best DJ’s in L.A., DJ White Lightning And Mark Luv,” remembers Q.
Q’s love for bringing people together, along with Dale O’Brien’s vision, empowered the young club promoter. The momentum really accelerated after Joe Higgs' performance one night, “Keep it up, don’t stop bringing the people of LA the reggae vibes,” Higgs told him. This really gave Q the confidence he needed to continue building Jamaican Gold’s following.
When asked about the scene today, Q believes the reggae scene in LA has changed for the better. The following has gotten larger and there are more venues willing to host a reggae night than ever before. It wasn’t always accepted he recalls “When starting out in ’95 up until about 2009, there were only three to five reggae nights a week that you could find in a 30 mile radius. Now, in 2015, there are three to five reggae parties per night within a 30 mile radius.” As he rightfully should, Q credits his hard work and dedication for the city’s warm embrace of the culture.
On a different note, Q views the scene today as more segregated than it used to be. Before it was just one club and one love. If you liked reggae, you would go to the club that played reggae. Nowadays, there are separate clubs for the Latin crowd only playing reggaeton, or a club where only Belizeans attend, or Polynesians or mostly Asian spots. Q is about unity, and bringing all people together for the common good; through music and a safe place where everyone is welcome. He views the reggae community as:
“Having a purpose, just as all things in life. Reggae music’s purpose is to bring as many of Jah’s Children together in peace and harmony. For all reggae fans, promoters and artists we all share this purpose. We need to not allow any egos to prevent us from working together on this mission of humanity, truth and rights. We all have strengths and differences but until we start to see each others strengths and build up our community we will all fall victim to negative standards.”
Q tries to inspire and help as many people that he can who are doing positive work in the reggae community. Just as Bob Marley remains an inspiration to him. Q describes Marley as, “One of those rare gems that most people have a connection with, one way or another.” Saying that, “Truly we are all ONE. Reggae music is the healing of the world. It is truth, happiness, and inspiration.”
With his uplifting and positive personality, we can see why Q Bwoy has been holding it down as LA’s reggae ambassador. Q, a lover of all kinds of music, has also been spinning his own vinyl since ’96. His definition of a good DJ is someone who plays good tunes and keeps people dancing. At any of his three nights in Hollywood, he’ll greet you at the door and will hop on the mic from time to time to hype up the crowd. He walks around with style and grace, exuding positivity through his kind smile and soft voice of wisdom.
Ready to see Q Bwoy spinning in action? He’ll be at KingstontoLA’s official launch party dropping his music knowledge by bringing the VIBEZ to the roots reggae room. Come hear him spin the latest sounds from Jamaica on Friday August 21st at Joseph’s in Hollywood. RSVP for free entry at Vibez.splashthat.com!
Listen to the lyrics sung by the Goodie Mob in “Cell Therapy” back in ’95. Real talk then that’s still relevant today.