Tue | Jan 19, 2021

Freestylee image on Kingston’s music

Published:Sunday | February 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
Michael 'Freestylee' Thompson

With Kingston having been declared a Creative City of Music by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2015, there will be an image to represent that creativity.

Speaking on Thursday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia 'Babsy' Grange said one of late artist Michael 'Freestylee' Thompson's artworks will be used for Kingston, the Creative City of Music.

A specific drawing was not identified from the work of Thompson, who died in 2016. Founder of the International Reggae Poster Contest, Thompson's work was displayed at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Museum at the Mona campus in March 2013. The museum's curator, Dr Suzanne Francis-Brown, said, "These 19 posters are graphically interesting and they give us a glimpse into aspects of reggae music's history. The exhibition also reflects the UWI's commitment to understanding and interpreting the region's rich and dynamic culture."




Speaking about his work, Thompson said, "I try to incorporate the idea of truth and rights in my art, the same way as reggae artistes like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Dennis Brown incorporate it in their music."

The website www.reggae-postercontest.com says, "Activist and artist Michael Thompson, also known as Freestylee, artist without borders, died at his home, August 15, 2016, of a heart attack, according to the coroner's result. He was 58. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, (he) lived for more than 25 years in the small city of Easton in Pennsylvania, United States."

Grange was speaking at the opening ceremony of the UNESCO Creative City of Music subnetworking meeting. And although she did not single out the concerns expressed over the recent announcement of a US$5,000 grant for tour support to singer Etana, Grange noted that in many places outside Jamaica, state administration of culture is directly linked to the economics portfolio.