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JaRIA hits out at government as Jamaica50 song controversy mushrooms Featured

Archive Written by  CONTRIBUTED Monday, 25 June 2012 19:28 font size decrease font size increase font size 0
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    Dear Minister Hanna and Opposition Spokesperson on Culture Ms. Olivia Grange,   Greetings and best wishes. At the general meeting of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) held on Tuesday the 19th of June 2012, the members in attendance expressed unanimously that: for our government to decide who composes a song to be used as a national song in perpetuity, then dictating to the people, in a democracy, that this is the official song to commemorate this 50th anniversary of our political independence, is an egregious act. It was therefore necessary for us to bring this to the attention of both the current and previous Ministers of Culture as the process affected both songs.
Over the 50 years, unfortunate, misguided occurrences such as the initial commissioning of the former British West India regiment band master, to write a national anthem for the newly independent Jamaica in 1962, the initial approval of the first Bob Marley statue and now this, all led to fierce and passionate public disapproval. JaRIA is hoping that all this would teach the responsible parties that for us to progress, this type of action is unacceptable. Genuine acceptance from the people has been the basis of the expansion of our music at home and abroad. The present era of payola hyped material, has reflected a decline in sales and success of especially the newer artists. This demonstrates profoundly that no entity should attempt to unilaterally decide and prescribe what the public listens to or dances to. The need to sample public appreciation at some point in the process is standard in marketing and a necessary step in any production including music. It is therefore ill advised to place this part of the process at the end and suffer major disapproval, embarrassment and disappointment, after or at the launch or release of the final product.
Further to the tragedy is the setback to the unity that JaRIA and others in the music and entertainment industry are trying to achieve. To now have the issue of the 50th anniversary songs seemingly divide the music fraternity along politically partisan lines, is a slap in the face to any attempt at peace, in a Jamaica that must confess to 50 years of politically motivated tribal war. Successive governments have repeatedly acted in this unacceptable manner, resulting in these things happening too often. As we enter into another 50 years, JaRIA is hereby insisting that, in the national interest the administrations learn from their mistakes and stop making them immediately.
The success of our music happened because we had and still have a vast number of creators of melodies and lyrics with the skill to hone cleverly crafted, catchy, easily remembered songs that bear relevance to the theme. This is evident in our vast catalogue of Mento, Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae and Dancehall. Over the 50 years, our greatest achievement is the seemingly unlikely but eventually realized, universal appreciation of our indigenous unique popular music and by extension our culture. Brand Jamaica has been established and the country recognized globally all because of Reggae Music. It should not have been a problem to find a process that would include a broader range of music creators, who would  provide engaging music, leaving memories of the last 50 years, as well as hope for our future, indelibly etched on the minds of the old, the young and those to come. 
Contact: K. Micheal M. Cooper O.D J.P-Chairman at  290-9569 
             Charles H.E.Campbell -Vice- Chairman/ Executive Director at 361-1551
             Coleen Douglas- Director of Marketing at 849-9560
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