Classism hurting Jamaica's creative industries - Twin of Twins
Slavery was officially abolished in Jamaica on August 1, 1834, but the effects of the system have lasted and still affect today's generation, this, according to dancehall duo Twin of Twins. The duo comprising brothers Patrick and Paul Gaynor expressed that as entertainers, they see first-hand the ills the creative industries suffer as a result of a mindset passed down through generations from the days of slavery.
Speaking at a recent Editors' Forum at the Gleaner's North Street offices in Kingston, the twins said Jamaica's creative industries were being held down by creative resentment.
"In Jamaica, there is resentment for the majority that creates," said Patrick, one-half of the duo. "It is that creative resentment that prevents the industries from moving forward."
The twins explained that creative resentment was a major issue facing the country's creative industries and pointed out that slavery and the effects of it, such as classism, were the root cause. Addressing US, actor Danny Glover, who was a special guest at the forum, the twins said that classism is Jamaica's equivalent to racism in the US. They attempted to explain that classism was the reason behind the segregation that exists in Jamaica and that it was passed down through slavery. The twins expressed that the division of the classes have been hurting Jamaica's creative industries for many years.
"Our industries cannot excel because those persons at the head are from a section of society who think the person in the movie or the song is expressing too much of this or he/she talks different from me. We have to learn to compromise. We have to learn how to understand each other if Jamaica's creative industries are going to move forward successfully."
The twins sought to drive home their point even further by highlighting that reggae legend Bob Marley, and by extension, reggae music, was hated by its own people because of its origins.
"The things and people you revere and love Jamaica for, was and is still hated here," they posited. "They are hated by the elites because they came from the lowest." They also said that reggae music has been suffering in the country that gave it life because of rules and restrictions placed on the music by the country's elite.
Carole Beckford, film commissioner, agreed with the twins, as she said that there was some level of creative resentment in the country, but pointed out that it is the duty of the people to effect change within the industry if they want to see it moving forward.
"There is some level of resentment, but until people are educated and informed enough, change will be slow," she said. "We are supposed to influence people in becoming activists. It has to start there."
The twins agreed. "Three-quarter of the problems facing our industries are psychological, and that means it will take time to accept and understand, but the solution is simple. Put aside pride and listen to the people who are feeling it the most. We can change things moving forward by changing things within ourselves, because we all know the truth. Consider the persons you consider below you and put your mannerisms acquired through slavery aside." Both the twins and Beckford challenged the media to help inspire this change by playing its role in educating the masses.