An interesting twist was added to the ongoing discussion of Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness, after he blamed dancehall for the high crime rate in the country. Mavado, Baby Cham, Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel and several others have lashed out against the PM’s statements that he keeps bring up while giving speeches.
Now, Popcaan is telling Prime Minister Holness to invest some of his own money into the dancehall music industry in an early morning tweet on Thursday, April 8. His recent statement still triggered a backlash not only from some of the artistes, but also from fans, a lot of whom have supported him in past elections while he added that after PM Holness stated that he’s the first Jamaican Prime Minister to openly embrace and support dancehall music.
It might be very unlikely that Mr Holness will respond to Popcaan directly, it’s likely that he will further address the broader issue soon. The Unruly deejay’s tweet gave new life to the ongoing debate which was sparked by the statements the PM made when he blamed the lyrics some of the dancehall artistes put in their songs for the high crime rate in Jamaica. Most fans of the deejay disagreed with Holness’s assessment of the situation, but some of them don’t agree with politicians putting money in the genre, as they fear that the creativity will ultimately be stifled, and they don’t want handouts from politicians.
What if the Prime Minister should invest his own money in aspects of the dancehall music production. Maybe he would retain some ownership stake in the venture, and perhaps Popcaan is saying what Jamaicans who are stakeholders in the Reggae music industry have been saying for a long time, that the government of Jamaica is not investing enough money into the music and culture, even though reggae/dancehall contributes directly and indirectly to a part of the country’s GDP through promoting Jamaica on tour globally when the artistes perform.
Reggae Sumfest generated over JM$1 billion into the Jamaican economy, in 2019 according to the Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett. The majority of those funds were from foreign patrons who visited the island to attend the event, that year was one of the largest stagings of Sumfest to date, due to the huge turnout.
It is estimated that the revenue from the festival was $J1 Billion based on the average room nights stay of locals and visitors and taxes, The Tourism Minister also stated that the success of entertainment festivals such as Sumfest does well for tourism because it boosts arrivals and has a huge economic impact in and around Montego Bay.
The Honourable Prime Minister had vowed to protect dancehall music from degeneration that year. It is not everything that is called ‘culture’ will have the longevity to live on from generation to generation, societies can die when culture degenerates into decadence. The State cannot just sit and watch as the culture degenerates. The State has to support those people who are willing to enable the longevity of the Jamaican culture.