Reggae artiste Protoje says the Government should do more for entertainment. In an interview done by Stephen Cooper last Wednesday in the US, the artiste said the state continues to ask a lot of Jamaican entertainers even as it fails to provide an enabling environment for them to operate.
“If I go home and I have my CDs, they’re charging me duty. And I am an ambassador for Jamaica. And I am not treated as such a lot of times,” Protoje told Cooper at Los Angeles’ famed Dub Club.
Cooper, a former federal and DC public defender-turned-writer , asked Protoje how he felt about Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ call for Jamaican artistes to do more with music to help curb crime and violence.
“So when [the Government] says, ‘Oh, you need to do this, you need to do that,’ what are you doing to help us to do these things? What places are you giving us to perform? Where are you giving us free venues to perform? Where [are] you giving us [assistance] to bring down our keyboards, our equipment, and all of these things? What are you doing to help us to help you? So I just sing about what I sing about because I’m inspired to do that. But you can’t ask artistes that are not about that life to be about that life,” he said.
Songs belong to everyone
“I know that if I put a song out there, it’s no longer my song. The song belongs to anybody after that. They can do whatever they want to do with it. I can fuss or I can do whatever, it doesn’t make no difference,” he said.
“And being a politician is hard. It’s a selfless job that you do and you never get any credit for it, you understand? So I don’t want to make it seem it is easy to jump on politicians. That song Blood Money was talking about politicians, but it was also talking about just everyday people because it was talking about me. Because I drive around Kingston and I see the pain. And I see the suffering. I see all these things happening. And then I drive all the way to my house, press my automatic gate, drive in, go in, go and chill with my family. And then I go back to my regular life. It will hurt me for a while, and I sing about it, and we try to do stuff, but we all go along with our lives, right?
“For the most part. So the key line [in] that song is: ‘if what you see no really faze you, then you are the problem that we face, too’. It was more [directed] to the people that see all of this happening and then just continue with their lives,” he added.
… says Floyd Green is a really genuine person
Meanwhile, Protoje revealed that he has lots of time for junior education minister Floyd Green, the member of parliament for South West St Elizabeth.
“We went to high school together. From he was 10 years old I knew he was special. I wasn’t doing great in class. And he came to me, and pulled me to the side, and told me that I have better potential than this.
“And I need to stay with the right crowd. And I need to focus more. I need to work to my potential because I can be great. And he was like 11 years old.
“I’m like, who does that at that age? And I told him at like about 15 years old, ‘you’re going to be prime minister of Jamaica one day’. And he said, ‘I’ll never do politics’.
“And when he became a minister, I said, ‘Yo, remember I told you you’re going to be prime minister?’ And he laughed. But he’s a really genuine person.
“He really cares about people; that I know for sure. And he’s a charismatic leader. He reads a lot. He reads a lot about all types [of things]. So he knows all about Haile Selassie and he really studies him, in terms of being a leader. I really have hope he will be good for Jamaica. And I hope he maintains his honesty and compassion for people.”