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Internet, social media 'for better and for worse' - Cliff

Published:Sunday | March 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell
Jimmy Cliff

Reggae artiste Jimmy Cliff is gearing up to release more than seven new songs, two of which tackle the Internet and social media. According to the icon, he is not trying to start a revolution against the Internet, however, persons should be mindful that the invention can be both negative and positive.

Jimmy Cliff was speaking on Thursday at the University of the West Indies, Mona's Reggae Talks, a series hosted by the Department of Literatures in English.

In a follow-up interview with The Sunday Gleaner, Cliff said he does not subscribe to the notion that no publicity is bad publicity, highlighting that certain images painted by celebrities on social media can cause irreparable damage to their brands.

"The Internet and social media is, as I said in this new song, for better and for worse, as well as a blessing and a curse. There is a balance between the negative and positive of life, and social media exposes everything. So, we have to monitor our children. As for artistes who go to the extreme to get attention on social media, I don't agree with that. I think there is a limit to what you should do with this thing called publicity and shock treatment. Each to his own order, but proceed with care," he warned.

Jimmy Cliff also revealed that some of his new music will be released this summer. He is set to record projects for iconic producer, Winston 'Niney' Holness, who has worked with U-Roy and I-Roy, among other icons.

Dr Carolyn Cooper, who organised the Reggae Talks event in order to benefit her students who study Reggae Poetry, says she is not very fond of social media herself.

"It depends on the use that you put it to. The issue for him is privacy, it's hard to get privacy, it is a very rare commodity these days. I wouldn't say I am very active on social media, I have a bogus Facebook page, and the only thing I tweet is my column ... mi a one a di old people dem, suh mi a guh through wid the old system," she laughed.

Dr Cooper also said artistes who depend on social media shock value to stay relevant should be mindful of their actions.

"Clearly, the people who are putting up certain things don't see it as bad publicity. But some of the things, me nah guh see, because mi nah watch dem, so it nah guh affect me. But you have to be careful and ask yourself, what is the basis of the decisions that you make. You can't just put up everything just to shock people," she said.