Call for more support of reggae industry

January 31, 2023
Persons enjoying an edition of Reggae Wednesdays in Emancipation Park.
Persons enjoying an edition of Reggae Wednesdays in Emancipation Park.

With Reggae Month 2023 starting tomorrow, music industry insiders are lamenting a lack of support for the genre's events and artistes.

Joseph Junior Lincoln, chairman of the Dennis Brown Foundation and Trust, and founding member of Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), told THE STAR that reggae is simply not being supported as it should be by Corporate Jamaica.

"Reggae music put this country on the map. There ought to be far more support for reggae music event. Over the years we have the same problem with reggae music, period. The sponsors will tell you that they like to link their product to the event. Over the years, reggae music sells the most product, it has the most influence, it has all the things that would go with whether a company will sponsor an event because they look for all of those things. Yet they will sponsor other events that do not have the same effect on their product," he said.

Lincoln's statement comes after sharing that a lack of sponsorship is affecting the staging of the 2023 Dennis Brown Tribute Concert that is usually held by the Kingston Waterfront yearly.

"The Dennis Brown show attracts over 25,000 people. People love it. When you come to the event in downtown Kingston, you see people from uptown, downtown and midtown. It is all about love. Now you would think that for all the requirements, sponsors would be jumping on board. We should be turning back sponsors for events like that. No lewd music just beautiful melodies and singing. We have to look into that," he said.

Ewan Simpson, current chairman of JaRIA, added that investments can also be made in the artistes themselves as reggae is big business.

"There is generally an ignorance about the economic value of reggae as an industry. I think now more than ever, more people are travelling all over the world to large festivals being produced and promoted by entrepreneurs in different ways, and I am realising that there won't be an industry without investment," he shared.

"If we do not encourage and solicit investors, then the art form is going to suffer. So what we are wanting to do is invite our banks, building societies and pension funds, our manufacturers and so on to invest some of what they are investing in paper in an industry that is producing every day," Simpson continued.

He opined that it profits businesses to come on board in several ways.

"An artiste out of Jamaica can earn US$100,000 for a 90-minute performance. How many professionals anywhere in the world can? Not very many. We need to look and see that our cultural industries represent the best opportunity for earning and therefore the best model for investment," he said.

Reggae Month begins on February 1, which is also the birthday of the 'Crown Prince of Reggae', Dennis Brown. Several activities occur islandwide during the month, including a free concert in Emancipation Park every Wednesday.

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