Wed | May 27, 2020

Freedom movement from gender-based violence at Emancipation Park

Published:Thursday | March 9, 2017 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Two engaging dancers at Wednesday's International Women's Day concert at Emancipation Park, New Kingston.
Nadine Sutherland
Judy Mowatt (left) amd Marcia Griffiths.
Tony Rebel
Ity (left) and Anthony Cruz.
Tarrus Riley moves through the audience at Emancipation Park, New Kingston, of Wednesday night during the International Women's Day concert.

On Wednesday, the entertainment industry turned out to show support in the fight to end gender-based violence in Jamaica. Several artistes at the free concert, held at Emancipation Park,. New Kingston, on International Women's Day, encouraged Jamaicans to speak out against all forms of abuse.

Each entertainer came with a message. Many said that the situation currently affecting the island was not Jamaica's culture and shouldn't be allowed to manifest itself any further. Their message was reiterated by the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, who said Jamaicans have become very individualistic and criminals have been using people's silence to carry out acts of violence.

"We are a people who care about each other. We have to face the harsh reality that this culture of silence gives approval to violence," she said. "We have to do what we can in small ways to stop the abuse. Let today be a turning point to say enough is enough."

Reggae veteran Judy Mowatt said that Jamaica has fallen prey to violence because the country has turned away from God. She said that that the situation can be fixed, but only if the country connects with the Almighty. She led the audience in a sing-a-long of Grace Thriller's Cant Even Walk. Her sentiments were shared by gospel artistes Carlene Davis and Sista Pat. The latter gave an explosive performance, encouraging Jamaicans to call on God to change the country's crime situation.

Queen Ifrica, Etana, D'Angel and reggae royalty Marcia Griffiths brought out another dynamic. They pointed out that women need to lead the charge for change. as the respect they receive from men will be a reflection of the respect they command. They encouraged women to set their standards high and make better choices of a lifetime partner. They also pointed out that the nation should be careful not to throw its men under the bus, as there are many good men whose work and model behaviour is overshadowed by the evil actions of a few.

Tony Rebel, Taurus Riley, Razor B and Bounty Killer were the male performers and using their songs, the artistes encouraged men to treat women as human beings to be nurtured and cared for, not abused.