TIME Soccer

Jamaica Beats U.S. 2-1 in Gold Cup Semifinals

Joel mcAnuff, Gyasi Zardes
John Bazemore—AP Jamaica’'s Joel McAnuff heads the ball in front of Gyasi Zardes during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer semifinal in Atlanta on July 22, 2015

It marked the first time the U.S. was eliminated by a CONCACAF team

(ATLANTA) — Jamaica stunned the United States with a pair of first-half goals, one off a blunder by goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and held on for a 2-1 victory in the Gold Cup semifinals Wednesday night that dealt the Americans their biggest upset defeat.

Darren Mattocks, who plays for Vancouver in Major League Soccer, put the Reggae Boyz ahead with 31st-minute header directly off a throw-in. Giles Barnes followed five minutes later with a goal on an 18-yard free kick after Guzan was caught going outside the penalty area on a routine throw.

Michael Bradley scored in the 48th minute for the Americans, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a stunning setback in front of sold-out crowd at the Georgia Dome. The small contingent of green-and-gold-clad Jamaican fans saluted their underdog team, ranked 76th in the world but now becoming the first Caribbean nation to reach a Gold Cup final. The Reggae Boyz face Mexico or Panama on Sunday in Philadelphia.

The 34th-ranked Americans, who had played in five straight Gold Cup finals, will face the loser of Wednesday’s second semifinal in the third-place game on Saturday. They also will meet the Gold Cup winner in a playoff for the region’s berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

It marked the first time the U.S. was eliminated by a CONCACAF team en route to the Gold Cup final. In the era when teams outside the region were invited guests, the Americans lost semifinals to Brazil in 1996 and 2003, and a quarterfinal to Colombia in 2000.

In the early going, it looked as though the Americans might romp to another impressive win after a 6-0 blowout of Cuba in the quarterfinals. They had most of the chances but kept sending good looks wide or over the net against Jamaican goalkeeper Ryan Thompson, who plays for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the third-tier United Soccer League.

Suddenly, Jamaica jumped ahead. Kemar Lawrence got everything on a long throw-in, delivering it perfectly into the box. Mattocks, with his back to the goal and sandwiched between defenders Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks, leaped up for a dazzling header that caught the underside of the crossbar, out of a leaping Guzan’s reach, and dropped beyond the goal line. Guzan had taken a step off his line and scrambled back for the ball, but it was too late. He slammed it in disgust as the Jamaicans celebrated.

The U.S. goalkeeper was really steaming minutes later, when his huge blunder set up Jamaica for a commanding lead.

On a routine throw downfield from the edge of the penalty area, Guzan’s right arm went over the line when he let go of the ball. That gave the Jamaica a dangerous free kick and Barnes hooked a shot over the defensive wall and into the right side of net, while Guzan was covering the opposite side.

After the goal, Guzan screamed at the linesman who made the call, but the replay showed it was the proper one.

The Americans fought back early in the second half. Aron Johannsson ripped a shot that was smothered by Thompson, but he couldn’t hang on to the ball. Dempsey tried unsuccessfully to poke it under the sprawled-out keeper, and Bradley swooped in on the third whack for the goal that sent the sell-out Georgia Dome crowd of some 68,000 into a frenzy.

Bradley nearly evened it in the 57th, when his shot one-hopped off Thompson’s chest, caught the near post and deflected away.

The Americans had a number of good chances the rest of the way, but none that came close.

TIME Jamaica

Jamaica Decriminalizes Marijuana and Moves Toward Cultivation

Jamaican ganja farmer checks his marijuana plants
John Greim—LightRocket/Getty Images Jamaican ganja farmer checks his marijuana plants

New law decriminalizes possession of small amounts

A law passed in Jamaica on Tuesday decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, while also laying the groundwork for regulating the drug’s cultivation and medical usage.

The new law states that possession of up to 2 oz. of pot or weed, as it is otherwise known, will be considered a petty offense without going on a person’s criminal record, the Associated Press reported.

It also legalizes the cultivation of up to five marijuana plants on any premises and the use of the drug for religious purposes. Furthermore, tourists prescribed medical marijuana abroad can apply for a permit to buy it locally.

The amendment in Jamaica, where weed has long been a part of daily life but remained illegal, comes soon after Alaska became the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana.

However, both American and Jamaican authorities insisted that this does not change the strict rules and guidelines around cross-border drug trafficking and illegal cultivation.

TIME Culture

Haile Selassie in Jamaica: Color Photos From a Rastafari Milestone

Photos from Haile Selassie's historic 1966 visit to the Caribbean, capturing the fervor--and the barely restrained chaos--among thousands of believers upon seeing the man they considered a messiah.

In terms of spiritual significance, few dates compete with April 21, 1966, in the hearts of Rastafari. Celebrated by the faithful the world over as Grounation Day, it marks the visit to Jamaica by the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, a figure worshipped as a deity by Rastafari everywhere. (Selassie was born Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael on July 23, 1892, in the Ethiopian village of Ejersa Goro; “Ras” is a noble honorific—thus, Ras Tafari.)

Here, on Selassie’s birthday, LIFE presents photos from his historic 1966 trip to the Caribbean. The images capture something of the fervor and delight, as well as the barely restrained chaos, among thousands of believers upon seeing the man they considered a messiah—and whom countless others still view as a power-hungry fraud.

Like photographer Lynn Pelham’s pictures, the story of Selassie’s visit never ran in the American edition of LIFE. But informal observations made by LIFE staffers who were there provide some fascinating insights into how the proceedings were viewed—hint: negatively—by at least some in the national press.

In notes that accompanied Pelham’s rolls of Ektachrome film to LIFE’s offices in New York just days after Selassie’s visit, for example, an editor for the magazine wrote privately to his colleagues that “the Rastafarians went wild on Selassie’s arrival. They broke police lines and swarmed around the emperor’s DC-6 [plane]. They kept touching his plane, yelling ‘God is here,’ and knocking down photographer Pelham, who got smacked. The Rastafarians fouled up the visit, as far as most Jamaicans were concerned. But Selassie seemed to love the attention these strange, wild-eyed, lawless and feared Jamaicans gave him.”

The same editor noted a few days later, when Selassie visited the Haitian dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier in Port-au-Prince, that “Papa Doc looked pretty much as evil as he did in 1963 when I last saw him.”

Haile Selassie died in Aug. 1975, almost a year after he was deposed in a military coup. There is no consensus, among historians or among Rastasfari, on whether he died of medical complications while under house arrest in Addis Ababa, or was assassinated.

Lynn Pelham?~@~TThe LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
TIME Jamaica

Jamaica to Decriminalize Weed

Sam Diephuis—Getty Images

Smoking ganja could be a minor infraction in the ganja-growing nation by the end of the summer

Possession of marijuana is soon to be decriminalized in Jamaica, where the plant has remained banned despite being grown widely across the island.

“Cabinet approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja,” Minister of Justice Mark Golding said in a news conference Thursday. “These relate to possession of small quantities of ganja for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical-medicinal purposes.”

Under the amended law, set to be formally changed this summer, possession of pot will be punishable by a small fine. Failure to pay will result in community service.

“Too many of our young people have ended up with criminal convictions after being caught with a ‘spliff,’ something that has affected their ability to do things like get jobs and get visas to travel overseas,” Golding said. Criminal records for people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana will be expunged, Reuters reports.

Jamaica joins the list of countries, including, in varying degrees, Uruguay, Portugal, and parts of the United States, where drug laws are being softened as policymakers move away from the harsh punishments of the past that many feel have failed to stem pot use.


TIME photo essay

Unstoppable: Meet the Dancehall Queens of Brooklyn

Dancehall is a style of music and dance born in Jamaica in the 1970s, and Brooklyn, New York, with its large Caribbean community, is home to a thriving Dancehall scene.

At around 1 am on a late-winter night in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, a small line of young men and women forms outside Sugar Mills nightclub. Attendees are searched by a team of bouncers before entering. Inside, dancers watch each other from the edges of the floor. As girls run circles around each other, the quickening beat of the music creates the sensation of a gradually building fever. One dancer, Sarah, moves her head in a serpentine rhythm, a wig framing her striking features. As she dances, she spins and floats in a maelstrom of implausible flexibility. For Sarah, and the other members of a Brooklyn-based Dancehall team called Zero Nation, these weekly parties at Sugar Mills are a keystone of their community.

Dancehall is a style of music and dance born in Jamaica in the 1970s. It fuses reggae-style rhythms with electronic instrumentals and DJs who freestyle over the music — in Dancehall, the term DJ is used instead of the more widely known MC, used in hip hop. While often criticized for its themes of violence, extreme sexuality and homophobia, for many fans the subculture is an expression of the realities of life in its birthplace of Kingston, Jamaica. Brooklyn, with its large Caribbean community, is home to a thriving Dancehall scene.

Sarah Crosse goes by the name “Cookie,” and like other Zero Nation members she often struggles to make ends meet. Many work at low-wage jobs while going to school and trying to build their futures. But while they are dancing, their troubles fade. Sarah has taken ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop dance classes at a dance school in Canarsie, Brooklyn, since she was 5. Her formal dance background has built up her reputation in the Dancehall scene. She credits dance with helping her to cope with some of the most difficult moments in her life.

August 8, 2013. A photograph of Sarah in her ballet costume around age 5 is tucked into the mirror in her bedroom.

When one of her best friends was shot and killed in September 2010, Sarah fell into a depression and dropped out of school. But with the support of her family and dance teachers, she began to go to her dance classes again, and to use movement as an outlet as she processed the loss. She joined Zero Nation two years ago. The group became a family to her, and a social space that exists outside of the gang culture entrenched in her neighborhood. However, in Brooklyn’s 67th Precinct, where someone was murdered roughly once a month in 2013 and 10 out of 12 of these crimes remains unsolved, the street violence finally caught up with Sarah last fall.

On Oct. 30, 2013, Sarah and a friend, Zero Nation member Cheville — who goes by the name “Velvet” — descended the steps of Sarah’s family’s home in East Flatbush and set off down her block. Sarah only realized she’d been shot when she pulled off her hightop Nike Jordan and saw blood oozing through her sock. A bullet had ricocheted off the sidewalk, as the girls ran for cover from a drive-by, and lodged neatly in the center of the ballerina’s heel. It had to be surgically removed.

In February 2014, Zero Nation congregated in their leader’s bedroom in Brownsville to lay out a new set of rules for the group. They discussed stylistic elements for the group’s choreography, and banned any intoxication during practices and “excessive” intoxication at parties. The group established ground rules for monetizing their dancing. Zero Nation’s name would no longer be used to promote parties unless they were paid.

As the meeting broke up, the dancers ran through their routines. Sarah leaned her walking cane against the wall and joined in. Though she stepped gingerly on her still-recovering foot, her movements were precise and confident. Since the shooting, she has refused to entertain the idea that she would not dance again — although at first the doctors were unsure if she ever would.

“Don’t worry guys,” Sarah posted on her Facebook page a few weeks ago. “I’ll soon pick you back up and start moving you around. I know you miss me and I miss you guys 10,000 percent more. The time will come when I will wear you out until your body starts falling apart. I love you and I promise I will never leave you again.”

Natalie Keyssar is a photographer and a member of Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent.

TIME olympics

Listen To The Jamaican Bobsled Team’s Catchy New Theme Song

Tune apparently syncs perfectly with the Olympic bobsled course itself

After a 12-year hiatus, the Jamaican bobsled team has returned to the Winter Olympics, and this time around they’ve got an awesome new theme song. The catchy reggae tune is called, naturally, “The Bobsled Song,” and it was specially designed to sync with Sochi’s bobsled course.

The team will compete today, Sunday Feb. 16, so be sure to hit “play” right as they begin.

Of course, no Jamaican bobsled song could ever top the classic tune from Cool Runnings:

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