Jamaicans, particularly members of the entertainment industry, have been called on to play their part in advancing the Reggae industry.
This call was made by Minister of Culture Olivia Grange at a Reggae Month Church Service held on Sunday (February 2), at the Fellowship Tabernacle in Kingston. The service was the second activity for Reggae Month 2020 (February), which will have a plethora of day and night events under the theme ‘Come Ketch de Riddim’.
Grange told the gathering that “what they do and how they do it will determine how the respect grows” for the Reggae industry. “We must each play our part in advancing the industry in a way that would generate greater income to practitioners and increase revenue to the country,” the minister said.
She also urged Jamaicans to support Reggae Month by attending the activities scheduled for the month. On Wednesday, February 5, the ‘Reggae Wednesday’ concert series will begin at Emancipation Park, beginning at 6:00 p.m. each week, while the ‘Reggae University Sessions’ will open with a panel discussion on the ‘Business of Bob: Modelling a music career’, on Thursday, February 6, at the Bob Marley Museum, in Kingston.
Speaking at the church service, Director, Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald Riley, said that in February 2019, Jamaica welcomed about 250,000 visitors to attend Reggae Month activities. “This year, we intend to double that figure,” she said, adding that the initiative is being supported by the minister and her team at the Ministry of Culture and Entertainment. She pointed out that the country welcomed a record of 4.3 million visitors and earned $3.7 billion in 2019, adding that these goals were achieved mainly because of Jamaica’s “good food, our rich culture and infectious music”.
“We recognise that our reggae music unequivocally puts Jamaica on the map globally. We have produced iconic figures such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, just to name a few, and we continue to intrigue visitors to our shores,” she said. Riley, who represented the Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, said the ministry was moving “to further diversify the tourism product and tap into new markets”, through entertainment tourism. “The sports and entertainment network of the Ministry of Tourism is one way in which we are developing new ideas to enhance entertainment,” she added.
The service was also attended by senior government officials, representatives of the diplomatic corps, reggae stalwarts and members of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association and the Jamaica Federation of Musicians and Affiliates Union.