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Turmoils Inside Djakout #1: A new band has Emerged

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Imagine spending your days, nights, weekends, holidays with 
a group of people for several years, even decades.  That type of relationship whether conscious or not can develop to become very complicated over the years.  Some of these folks you will grow to consider as family members, while others in the same group, you make a conscious decision to deal with them at arm’s length.  Such is the life of the Haitian bands in the industry.  A band lasting more than a decade in the HMI is viewed as an anomaly.  The HMI bands lose members and change names as often as we breathe.  Even when they are at the peak of their success, drastic changes are made.  This is the phenomenon that is occurring before the public eyes in the case of Djakout#1.  It appears the bandmates' relationship has taken a turn for the worst while the “family” relationship is hanging on by a thread.  Now the question is why?  Is the marriage over?
 
Let’s recap:
Prior to the release of the album entitled “Lod Nan Dezod”, according to our sources, Djakout#1’s management informed Steve Khe that his $300 per gig would increase to $400 per gig once the new bookings started coming because of his valuable contribution to the album.  With the release of the new album, the band increased their contracted price, and promoters were lining up to book the band.   The band was busy with back to back bookings.  Once the contracts were signed and Djakout#1 fulfill the duties of the contract, everyone was enjoying the rewards of the hard work, but Steve never saw the increase in pay.  He asked management on several occasions about his earnings, to no avail.  The $100 increase never made it to Steve Khe’s pocket.  Shabba, part-owner of Djakout#1 saw the writings on the wall, so he went to his bandmates to discuss Steve’s frustration.  In that meeting, Shabba emphasized on the promise that was made to Steve and the fact that the band was enjoying Steve’s fruit of labor.  It was reported that Shabba equated the $100 increase to $20 per band owner.  Shabba discussed the financial rewards for the band and all the members were much greater than the $100 raise to Steve.  Shabba’s arguments were rejected by most of the band members.  Steve eventually departed from Djakout#1.
 
Upon his departure, the bookings continued to come, but eventually started to dwindle.  As the writings on the wall were becoming more apparent to all, it was reported that Shabba again appealed to his bandmates to have Steve return to the band.  The request was rebuffed by all the members.  During the meetings, a prominent member of Djakout#1 even went as far to exclaimed, “Mwin pito manje KK” instead of allowing Steve back in the band.  Hence Steve never returned to the band.
 
Another occurrence happened when Ti Regie fell ill during his tenure with the band such that he was unable to play with the band during local and international performances.  Since Ti Regie was an integral member of the band, i.e., a band member and part-owner, Djakout #1 and management agreed he would continue to receive his payments although he was not playing.  As Ti Regie took care of his health, he started to receive his compensation from the band as if he was on the road and playing.
 
During Ti Regie’s recovery process, he disclosed to his bandmates and management that he wanted to spread his wealth and legacy by investing in a younger band in the HMI.  He informed them that he wanted to purchase stocks in Harmonik.   He was not asking for permission; he was just informing the band of his plans.  Subsequent to sharing that information with his “friends”, Ti Regie’s payments from Djakout#1 came to a sudden halt.  There was no explanation given, no meetings, just no payments.  The abrupt about face from the band and the members felt very insulting to Ti Regie especially when Ti Regie’s hit songs continued to be played during all of Djakout#1 performances.
 
As Ti Regie was taking care of his health, he decided to also take care of his finances. although the payments were never reinstated.  Ti Regie followed through with his plans and invested in Harmonik.  As the Haitians say “Ou paka sevi de met ala fwa”, the payments were never reinstated and Ti Regie and Djakout#1 parted way, and the payments were never reinstated. In the meantime, Pouchon has opened a new restaurant in Orlando, which the band seems to be ok with. 
Recently at the height of the holiday season, on December 28, 2019, Djakout #1 was scheduled to play to a packed house in Boston.  The anxious crowd consisted of old timers, 1st timers, occasional holiday party goers who are willing to pay premium price for a wonderful night.   The ticket prices are the highest during this time of year, and they sell quickly.  The ladies had their gowns ready and the gentlemen with their fresh haircut were ready to dance the night away.  On that day, December 28, 2019, the news started leaking on social media that Pouchon is not in Boston.  When contacted by the band on that day, Pouchon informed them that the airline ticket was purchased too late, and he would not make it to Boston on time to the airport to catch the flight.  Djakout #1 decided to purchase a last-minute airline emergency ticket for Pouchon to ensure that he made it to Boston on time for the performance.  Pouchon was still a no show.
 
Subsequent to the Boston fiasco, our source indicated that there was a band meeting called to address the issues that were broiling amongst all the members.  The meeting became very intense and emotional between all present.  Our source indicated that Roro became so upset that he threw a bottle of wine in Shabba’s direction.  The bottle missed Shabba’s head by inches.  Everyone was shocked at Roro’s behavior and actions, this scenario resulted with a suspension from management against Roro.  The suspension was kept quiet from the media.
 
The latest incident involved Shabba.  He and Polo gave a brief interview to Guy Wewe after Djakout#1 performed at the Haiti Musik Festival.  During the brief interview, Shabba discussed amongst other things the political situation in Haiti, and his participation or lack thereof in the upcoming Djakout#1 Album.  Immediately thereafter, the band sent out a press release informing the media that Shabba was suspended indefinitely from the band.  Haitianbeatz has reached out to Shabba to get his version of the events, and he has indicated that he is not sure of the reason that he is suspended from Djakout#1.  He indicated that he is furious with the decision and the press release.  He is extremely upset that the band did not even give him the courtesy of calling a meeting after all these years with the band.  In speaking with friends, Shabba felt that there is a double standard in the group in terms of disciplinary actions.   The source explained that several incidents that warranted suspensions in the band were overlooked by management. Amongst one of them was when Roro decided to pocket Ti Regie’s payment during his illness without authorization; management took no action.  Pouchon not appearing for the Boston performance, and informing management only when he was contacted, management took no action.  During a heated argument at a band’s meeting, Roro threw a bottle at Shabba that missed Shabba’s head by inches, Roro was finally suspended but there was no press release to the public, Shabba was suspended for just answering a question that was asked of him.  The source went on to say that Shabba feels that the double standard is taking its toll on him. 
 
Shabba  has embarked  on the same path as Richie from Zenglen did a few years ago. He has put together a new band (EKIP) with Steve Khe and Ti Regi as partners. Before the decision was even made some in the HMI has indicated that Shabba’s mindset was not on Djakout#1 anymore.  Shabba indicated to close friends that he missed playing with his friend Ti Regie  and not to mention the musical creativity that the two shared that resulted in those studio hits and carnival meringues over the years. Shabba also believes  that Steve Skhe is one of the best vocalists any band should want as an valuable asset. Even if Shabba has left the band, he will not go away silently.  He has indicated to HB that he has invested his entire life to the band, and he wants to reap those rewards. He has already consulted a lawyer to help him recoup his investment. 
 
It seems that the “EKIP” is moving full speed ahead. The band has already released a carnival meringues and video. The band will release two singles immediately after carnival, and do a grand premiere in Haiti. In early April, they will perform in Montreal alongside Nu Look for  Lions Productions. The band is working on a grand premiere for the NY area for May. 
 
As for Djakout #1, will the departure of Shabba bring stability to the band. Is there anyone that can put “Lod Nan Dezod” in Djakout#1 after losing two key musicians?  Is the looming demise of this band a result of Finance? mismanagement? Lack of communication? Egos? The road seems murky for Djakout #1, they’ve been removed from the Compas Festival in Miami next May. Will other promoters follow suit?
Marriages fail for all the reasons mentioned, and bands are no different.  If the band is not booked, and the promoters are not blasting the manager’s phone for contracts, it’s hard to stay together. But in the case of Djakout#1, it appears the phone is still ringing, at least for now, but the internal turmoil is the leading cause of their failure.  The day to day uncertainty of Djakout#1 is a promoter’s worst nightmare, and the phone might eventually stop ringing.
I report, you decide.
 
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