Given the current pandemic, the key players in the organizing of the month-long celebration of this indigenous genre of music, the Reggae Month Secretariat, out of the ministries of tourism and culture, gender, entertainment and sports, along with the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), have outlined a slate of plans, programmes and initiatives.
During Sunday’s televised launch of Reggae Month Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange noted that despite not being able to have the in-person gatherings on which the music thrives, the organisers have not been daunted and have moved ahead with the plans for this year.
“We will use Reggae Month to increase further the capacity of our technical creatives through virtual workshops in such areas as sound engineering, lighting and stage management. We will also use the opportunity to organise masterclasses in areas in which we believe there is a knowledge deficit. Such areas as publishing, the different forms of music rights , and other areas which will put our songwriters, and artistes on the right path to truly earning from their creative works,” Grange noted.
Reggae Month 2021 kicks off on Sunday, January 31, with a church service and continues throughout February with a string of virtual events. They include the discussion series, Grounation, organized by the Jamaica Music Museum; Reggae Films Online; and Reggae Tune Fi Tune, a virtual sound clash.
JaRIA is proudly staging it signature events during the month and chairman of that association, Ewan Simpson, shared that of note is the inclusion of the city of Miramar in one of the panel discussions on ‘Reggae, Rasta and Resistance’ as part of the popular Reggae Open University series.
“We are going virtual with all our events, reaching a global audience and collaborating globally as we celebrate Jamaica and reggae as the entertainment mecca of the world . This joint panel with our brothers and sisters in Florida will look at the role played by reggae and Rastafari in efforts such as the Black Lives Matter movement,” he noted.
The JaRIA-organised events include four staging of the Reggae Wednesdays showcase. The weekly discussion series Reggae Open University, Reggae Stories — two webinars primarily geared towards students with industry stalwarts sharing their stories and the JaRIA Honour Awards, which usually caps the month of celebrations.
Head of marketing for JaRIA, Coleen Douglas, noted that one of the Reggae Wednesdays events will be dedicated to the artistes who passed away in 2020.
“This is very important to us at JaRIA. Due to the pandemic, we were not able to meet and celebrate the lives of some of our own who left us in the usual manner. So we will be dedicating one night to the memory of artistes Bob Andy, Toots Hibbert and Feluke, as well as producer Bobby Digital and others.This is especially poignant for us as one of the last events Toots performed at in Jamaica was a JaRIA event,” Douglas noted.
Reggae Month was first celebrated in 2008.
Source: Reggae Month ready