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Reggae school wants new Bob

Regional 07 Nov, 2022 Follow News

Bob Marley is Jamaica’s most iconic entertainer

Marcia Griffiths is world renowned

Jamaican music is so universally loved and played that Prime Minister Andrew Holness is building a school to train talented dancehall and reggae entertainers, deejays, and musicians. The island’s music industry is world renowned and the search for another legend to match the likes of Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Chronixx or Marcia Griffiths will no longer be left solely to chance through the traditional sound system route.

Holness announced the plans for the music school at a ground-breaking for Jamaica’s first Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Academy in Bernard Lodge St Catherine. The STEAM academy, will be the first of its kind in Jamaica and will be constructed on lands within the government’s Greater Bernard Lodge Development Plan, which covers close to 5,400 acres. 

Holness said: “Yes, there will be a school dedicated to train our upcoming entertainers and deejays and musicians — our visual and creative artists — in the technical and softer points of the entertainment industry, because we believe that that is a space that we own and we can exploit for our economic and social development.”

The music school news comes after Holness introduced an annual “modern music grant” for reggae and dancehall acts to pursue their “professional advancement,” earlier this year when the 2022/23 Budget Debate in the House of Parliament was announced. The modern music grant he said, would ensure that Jamaica “continues its proud legacy of influencing global trends, music, arts and culture.”

The grant will be awarded annually to four Jamaicans one classical, one reggae and two from the dancehall space, from the music and entertainment sector to pursue their professional advancement, “whether they are artistes, performers, sound engineer, composers.”

The PM also commented on the rising popularity of afrobeats.   He said that afrobeats stakeholders had taken a strategic business approach to developing their product, due to them seeing it as, not only culture, but art, creativity and intellectual property that can create wealth, profit and value, while reggae and dancehall stakeholders, which he described as the root of afrobeats were not “seeing it in that light”.

Holness, who is the Member of Parliament for St Andrew West Central, said he would be working to ensure that a business approach is taken to building the reggae and dancehall music genres to “see our culture as a business as well that can generate economic growth.”  

Holness has also said that the Development Bank of Jamaica would be establishing a J$500 million (KY$2.7m) entertainment restart facility to guarantee stakeholders institutional access to credit.  He has also said that the loans would be easier to access.

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