"I have good reasons to be thankful" - GT Taylor
On the morning following the 2014 staging of the GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza in Black River, St Elizabeth, promoter George 'GT ' Taylor was in a thankful mood, he was counting his blessings - 14 consecutive incident-free years.
"I have many reasons to be thankful Ö . Not many promoters in Jamaica can boast of staging an event like this for 14 consecutive years, incident-free," said Taylor. "That is something I am very happy and proud about."
Even the artistes, including some with a long history of offensive behaviour, seemed to be making a genuine effort to embrace Taylor's desire to make the annual event free of lewdness, crassness and violence. However, during his stint on stage, Sizzla made it quite clear that he was not pleased with a sign the promoter had mounted on the stage, calling for 'No bad words and offensive language towards anyone or groups with unpopular lifestyle'.
"So wah dem a seh? No bad words? Oooohhh?" said Sizzla, as he picked up one of the signs and examined it closely. "No offensive language against certain groups? A wha dis? Mi nuh inna dis. I want to warn all promoters against de sponsors dem who want dem fe go easy on certain groups Ö but me nuh inna it with dem," said Sizzla, seemingly striving hard to control his rage.
According to Taylor, the artistes basically understand what he is trying to do, in terms of putting on a family-friendly show, and as a consequence, they try to be non-contentious.
"I have a great relationship with the artistes Ö . I show them respect and they show me respect in return," said Taylor. "Look at the tribute Coco Tea did to John Holt Ö . That shows the level of respect I have for those who have served our music well."
Ninja Man, who was seething from his fallout with Supreme Promotions, the promoter of Sting, and new dancehall sensation Gully Bop surprisingly steered clear of using foul language.
" Ö An' you, Mr Isaiah Laing, wid yuh pop-down show Ö wha you a deal with yu talent search fe find artiste fe come a war? If GT never put de sign deh up yah (pointing to one of the 'no bad words' sign) Ö I woulda Ö oh God Ö a nah seh it," said Ninja Man, refraining from using any offensive language.
As he continued to bask in the joy of yet another incident-free year of good, clean music at the annual show, Taylor said his only area of real concern is the fact that, for unknown reasons, corporate Jamaica has not been supporting the event.
"While we are thankful for the little support that we get Ö . We believe that based on our exemplary track record, in terms of non-violence, we should be attracting more corporate support," said Taylor. "We are just hopeful that going forward, they will begin to recognise what we are doing and what we have achieved."