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Unprofessional Conduct Causing Local Music Decline - Dunn

Published:Wednesday | November 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Saxophonist Dean Fraser
Karen Smith. File

Karrie Williams, Gleaner Writer

Professor Hopeton Dunn, director of the Caribbean Media and Communications Institute (CARIMAC), says the high level of unprofessional conduct being displayed by some persons locally, is responsible for the current decline facing the local music industry.

"In my estimation, the music and artistic industry, in terms of its growth and development, is a work in progress that has brought Jamaicans tremendous pleasure, great happiness and niceness, but also considerable pain and worry," he said while speaking at a recent panel discussion at the University of the West Indies, Western Jamaica Campus. "It is a work in progress, (and), as a profession, it is not quite there; yet there are many artistes behaving unprofessionally, (who) are blocking the advance of this sector."

"What is required in part is a more integrated and inclusive professional structure that will not separate the experience from usefulness, and that will exercise a stronger leadership, and even sanctions in relation to poor performance in the sector," continued Dunn.

The panel discussion, which was staged under the theme, 'The Jamaican Artiste, Hustle or Professional,' also featured music promoter, Whilston Taylor Jr; cabaret singer, Karen Smith; former rising star finalist, Susanna 'Princess Tia' Brooks, Richard Cooke and noted saxophonist, Dean Fraser.

In highlighting some of the negatives hurting the industry, Dunn pointed to the growing number of artistes with criminal convictions, inappropriate conducts to include fighting on stage before large audiences, a tendency to promote the gun culture in lyrics, inadequate knowledge of broadcast rules and payola, among a litany of woes. However, the professor pointed out that not all local artistes were behaving unprofessionally, and lauded those whom he said were quite professional in their conduct.

"Now these things that I'm talking about do not apply to all and every artiste ... there are decent artistes who make a decent and honest living and who engage in ethical and professional practice," said Dunn, "but those who are engaging in these other forms of conduct are bringing the profession into a level of disrepute that is challenging the reputations of the ones who are the decent operators."

Dunn went on to argue that professionalism practiced on an individual basis will not achieve the positive transformation that the industry needs, and made an appeal for a unified approach from all artistes to build the sector. "It may be that the industry requires the adoption of some code of practice ... it should be observed that even where individual performers and individual conduct is professional, individual conduct, as important as that is, cannot speak to the overall industry reputation as a profession," added Dunn.