Artistes remain one of the groups in the entertainment industry that were hit the hardest by COVID-19. Cancelled shows put a dent in the pockets of every artiste in the space. Those dependent solely on tours and stage shows have been finding it hard to stay afloat in these difficult times.
With the country’s borders expected to open up to international travellers next week, signalling a reopening of the tourism industry, many have been calling for a phased reopening of the entertainment industry as well.
But some dancehall artistes are cautious about such a move.
Ding Dong told THE STAR that although he misses the energy he gets from a live performance, he wants the Government to be absolutely certain a reopening is the best decision, before it is implemented.
“It is a very touchy topic because there is no blueprint on how to do this. If it sits well with who is running the country for there to be a reopening, then I’m OK with it. But this thing affects all of us and we have to bear in mind that an outbreak will not leave only one person affected,” he said. “We nuh really over this COVID thing yet and so I would prefer to watch and see what’s going on.”
He added, “Then again we can’t jump and say wait because we nuh know how long we a go wait for COVID to be gone. For me, it really depends on what the Government is coming up with because if they can put in place some measures that will ensure maximum safety, then I’m willing to give it a shot. I am ready right now to jump into performing again because there’s nothing like being on stage in front of your fans but me just wah everyone to be safe.”
Keep it under lock
Skillibeng also believes that if the Government sees it fit to reopen the entertainment space, then there is no need to keep it under lock.
“As long as the Government and the health minister say it legal fi keep back events again, me woulda want to see the industry open back. Personally, me a look forward to it. The whole a we as entertainers miss road and wah fi interact wid we fans the real way again, live performance and dem thing deh,” he said. “All we affi do a encourage the people dem fi protect themselves and practise social distancing in the way it’s required if the road open up back.”
For Aidonia, however, while the entertainment industry is integral to many lives, he feels a reopening should be secondary to people’s health and safety.
“As much as me wah fi dat happen (reopening), at the end of the day, we affi think health and safety. Nothing matters more than life,” he said. “With COVID still out there, dat affi come first. Every day yuh still have new cases if a even one, two or three, and with borders a go open now, we can expect a rise because people a go come in from places weh have way more cases dan we. At the end of the day, we affi put safety over everything.”
The Government is considering a phased reopening of the entertainment industry. In a Sunday Gleaner article published on the weekend, it was revealed that several proposals are now being considered to usher in a slow and steady opening rebirth of the country’s entertainment space.