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Books, bags and beats - Back-to-school projects a music priority

Published:Tuesday | August 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Members of Morgan Heritage in performance. - File
Children make the message clear at the recent ROC Kids Fest, held at 5 Keesing Avenue, St Andrew. - File

As summer comes to a close, the music industry appears to be making education a priority, with a number of record labels and recording artistes hosting back-to-school charity initiatives.

At least four of these projects have been done in the Corporate Area within two weeks of next Monday's beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year.

One Jam records recently hosted its charity initiative at William Road, Maxfied. The label, which received attention earlier this year for Bounty Killer's Harder They Come and Abby Dallas' single, My Heart, which was aired on MTV, went all out. According to One Jam producer and musician Drezion, even Morgan Heritage band shared in the charity for free and said it is testimony to the priority the music industry places on education.

"One Jam is a label that always tries to help the inner city. Many parents cannot afford to support the children, so we are basically helping to reduce the education costs so that we can make life easier. We hosted the first one here last year, and I think we will have to get a bigger venue next year because it has grown so much. That shows that the help is definitely welcomed," he said.

Drezion said education is extremely important to the development of any nation. He pointed out that the artistes signed to One Jam must be able to represent themselves at a satisfactory level on any platform if they are called to speak.

"The point is to show the people in the inner city that, look, we can love each other and, without education, crime and violence is inevitable. If you are not educated in this world, you won't be able to elevate yourself in society and, in colloquial terms, yu corna dark. Education is very important to every artiste under our label," he said.

"Morgan Heritage is our main act and they were really pushing the event from their side, because they know that the cause is worth it. Every artiste comes out and sings songs about poverty, so since you know the life it should not be a problem for you to give back once you have made it," Drezion said.

Among the other artistes who performed at the One Jam Records back-to-school event were Abby Dallas and Jay-Q.

A-Town Records' back-to-school charity focuses on the Trench Town and August Town communities. The initiative is pushed by reggae/soul singer Tenuke, who was born in Trench Town. Tenuke recently launched the Trench Town GSAT Learning Centre, geared towards preparing students for the annual Grade Six Achievement Test examinations. The objective in the first year is to seat approximately 200 children, using educated volunteers, from within and outside Trench Town, to assist with training.

The young singer is also hoping to get sponsors on board to ensure that the programme achieves longevity.

According to Tenuke, she is inspired by the attitude of famed former Trench Town resident Bob Marley, of his life being in service to others. She said many parents from Trench Town have given up hope on the community and she wants to prove that a lot of human resources are still hidden under the cover of poverty.

"Education is the only way out for these kids," she said.

The Ghetto Blues singer is also asking persons interested in nation building to donate books, pencil, uniforms, and other educational tools to the project.

Other music-industry players who recently put on charity initiatives geared towards education are Paypaz Chasaz Records and SubKonshus Records, which did a joint project in Duhaney Park, and Cherine Anderson, who spearheaded the Reach One Child Kids Fest..