From handouts to foundation to museum - Sizzla committed to August Town community building
Grammy-nominated artiste Sizzla already has his own foundation and is working on completing a museum.
Sizzla told The Gleaner he has always prided himself on giving back to his people and the museum is just another means of ensuring his philanthropic efforts continue. "I wanted to give back to the youth of the world and I used to do a lot in terms of cash and kind; but I said to myself I can't feed the people out of my pocket and I started the Sizzla Youth Foundation," he explained. "Differently from the foundation, I wanted to do more and so I decide to build a little museum. The foundation is different from Sizzla and the museum is different from the foundation. I've been getting a lot of support, both from people in the community and from officials. I received some donations towards the building from the Venezuela and Argentina ambassadors, as well as other community-based organisations."
Sizzla explained that while the museum will focus on sharing knowledge about the entertainment industry, music lessons will not be the only ones taught. "Of course, music will be a part of the knowledge shared, but black history, black culture, black knowledge, black books, will also be taught. I want the youth to learn their culture, learn about Rastafari," he said, explaining that he hopes the museum will help the youth stay clear of trouble. "We're not leaving the people; we're going to be here and so we're aligning ourselves to keep the crime and violence out of the community. We want to reach out to the youth, show dem love and see how best we can save them from destruction."
Speaking about how residents have managed to keep a lid on crime in the August Town community, Sizzla believes the success comes from keeping formerly idle hands active. "We are all human beings and we all have a bit of problems sometimes, so we just have to work on it. If everyone is doing something, then people have less time for other things. The museum will be a way of keeping the youth active."
He did not give a date for the museum's official opening. "I've done a lot of work on the building so far, me and the youth from the community, and I've been getting a lot of support. We wanna get it really sophisticated and up to a level where even high official people can come," he said.