Seminars, conferences and other educational fora organised by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) do not have the support and participation of younger members of the country’s artiste fraternity.
This was the observation of renowned reggae artiste and JaRIA member Freddie McGregor. The Big Ship singer made no effort to hide his ire as he hit out at the lack of support coming from the younger talents.
“Where is the support?” he queried, looking around in disappointment at a recent JaRIA event.
“Here we are trying to forge something to benefit them and they don’t turn up,” McGregor ranted adding that the only times younger artistes seem interested in organisations like JaRIA is when they are faced with problems. “It needs to change,” said the outspoken singer.
McGregor’s disappointment was not just about JaRIA as he wonders how many artistes have aligned themselves to other such umbrella organizations such as the Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers (JACAP) and the Jamaica Federation of Music (JFM).
“Some think that their thing bigger than Jamaica. If it don’t work a yard, why will it work abroad?” he asked.
For McGregor his involvement in music is a “labour of love” and he affirmed that even if the support is not forthcoming he will continue to do his part.
“I’m in this too long slaving at it. To see people want to mash it up is not nice,” he said adding that the time has come for artiste bearing the reggae/dancehall flag to either get it together or forget about it.
With Jamaica celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence this year, McGregor feels this same kind of pride should be instilled in musical ambassadors.
Commenting on the absence of younger artistes, JaRIA chairman Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper said “We have public forums which are intended to bring our young people up to speed especially under 25 — we would like to see our young practitioners here.”