Veteran Jamaican journalist Michael Sharpe’s death has plunged not only the media fraternity, but the entire Jamaica, into a state of shock and grief, as he was a much loved media personality.
Sharpe was a decorated journalist who was known for helping others. He will be remembered for helping to bring the plight of working class Jamaicans to the fore with his television feature programmes such as Your Issue Live and Sharpe Talk.
In his honour, BUZZ is sharing 10 things you probably didn’t know about Michael Sharpe.
1. He studied journalism in New York
After attending Calabar High School in Jamaica, Sharpe went on to study journalism at Hunter College in New York. Upon graduating in the 80’s, he then returned home to start his trailblazing career.
2. Sharpe was in the media game for 40 years
He has been actively involved in Jamaican journalism since the early eighties, having joined the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) upon his return to Jamaica. He then went to the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) and, after a short stint there, arrived at Radio Jamaica in 1983. He also had a short stint working at the Jamaica Gleaner.
3. The culture, gender entertainment and sports minister is his cousin.
Following his passing, many learned that Sharpe and the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange are cousins. “#RIP Michael Sharpe. Love you my cousin,” said Grange on social media as she reacted to news of his passing.
4. He covered the 1983 Grenada Invasion
Though his time at JBC was short-lived, Sharpe still managed to make a major impact there, and he was sent to Grenada to cover the invasion of that country in 1983 by US troops following a coup that had taken place earlier.
5. Jamaicans grew up seeing him as a news anchor
For several years, Michael Sharpe was the face of Jamaican television. He worked alongside the late Dorraine Samuels on Prime Times News for over a decade.
6. He’s related to a US Supreme Court Justice
Sharpe’s sister, Carol Sharpe, was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court in the state of New York last year. He also has a brother named Bill.
7. Sharpe covered Abu Bakr Coup in Trinidad
His reporting skills were again called upon for the 1990 coup in Trinidad where Yasin Abu Bakr and members of his Jamaat al Muslimeen group had staged a take over. Sharpe was able to provide wide ranging coverage of that event.
8. Sharpe was also a bit of musician
While never having ventured too deeply into the musical industry, friends of Sharpe noted that he had a great singing voice and would often sing at karaoke events. See clip below of Sharpe in action.
9. He has had a few talk shows
Sharpe has had a few talk shows, one of his most memorable shows was the popular talk Your Issues Live programme broadcasted by TVJ. A live session of the programme which gave Jamaicans a platform for social issues was conducted in New York among the diaspora. He has also hosted Exposure and Sharp Talk earlier in his career.
10. Sharpe was a District Constable
Despite his illustrious career in the field of journalism, Sharpe also holds the profile of being a District Constable in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) as he sought to contribute in his own way to justice in the country.
11. He taught at a university
Sharpe was also a teacher. He taught media studies at Northern Caribbean University