The brouhaha that has emerged on social media in response to the US$5,000 grant to popular artiste Etana is another reminder that Jamaicans are really well down the wicket of misunderstanding. In cricket terms that may indicate that we are about to be stumped.
In this our annual Reggae Month celebrations, we really need to be able to disaggregate, understand, and analyze information in a more objective manner.
The matter of artistes receiving a grant for a minuscule portion of their touring expenses needs to be understood as a marketing investment that “rides” on the potential of an already established route that provides another way of promoting Jamaica. Tourism is, and will continue to be a major industry in Jamaica today, and will continue into the future if correctly managed.
The tourism industry continues to grow despite the negative images of our out-of-control crime situation, and hundreds of thousands of potential visitors continue to evaluate their choice for Jamaica as a preferred destination. The logical conclusion is that there must be positives about our country that outweigh the terrible way that we choose to treat one another by murdering men, women, and children, in an uncontrolled mass mania.
Although not supported by the modern instant media, names like Harry Belafonte, Keith Stewart, Count Prince Miller, Millie Small, Prince Buster, Desmond Decker, Don Drummond and the Skatalites, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, and so many others continue to add to the mystique of the music that attracts so many fans and visitors. To even mention Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Jimmy Cliff, and Damian Marley adds lustre to the emerging musical icons of reggae and today — dancehall.
Marketing is an art and science used to promote the consumption of goods and services for a continent, a country, an island, a company, or an individual. It is a part of a business process that should be designed so as to inform consumers’ choices. It is not a great process for an inadequately informed owner of a cellphone to make up news without information. We are not talking about “fake news”.
The advertisement of a track meet, football game, concert, dancehall, product or service, should not be equated to the fact that we are an impoverished nation in many areas. The allocation of funds contributed to promote the Shaggy and Friends concert, or the Sagicor Run, cannot be measured simply against the need for jobs. The outcomes provide much-needed support in healthcare that far surpass many other handout activities.