Rebel Salute 2020 | Lady G, Minister Grange lobby for more women on the big stage
Stephanie Lyew / Gleaner Writer
By all accounts, the females featured on Rebel Salute this year have a strong presence - what they weren’t though, was enough. Night one of the music festival only featured three women - Jamaica’s Abby Dallas, Treesha from Nairobi, Kenya, and Queen Omega from Trinidad and Tobago. On night two, it was the same including Rhoda Isabella, Lady G and Queen Ifrica.
The fairer sex accounted for less than 25 per cent of the bill and this is no fault of the organisers, said Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange.
“It is actually a concern to me why at this time we do not have enough female artistes; the well-established, they are few in numbers and primarily leave for tours and are not available for a lot of these events and I am concerned about that. There are some young female artistes coming up who are extremely good but we need more,” Minister Grange told The Gleaner.
She also noted that the collection of music that speaks to woman empowerment is limited, but could be improved “with more of the gender getting opportunities to explore their talent, both up-and-coming and established, the more we will be able to have good songwriters and performers who can carry the message”.
The music is not just in rhythm, she added, “It is about the message and how good an individual can write good lyrics and produce the kind of music needed to convey it that people will listen to, understand and be empowered. It is not impossible."
Grange said that she has made it her mission for delve into the pot of talented Jamaicans to find the pools of females to improve the ratio seen on stages like Rebel Salute.
“It is a mission that we going have to be on and it’s an important one; I made the decision to search for the artistes, work with them, help them develop and get exposure for the purpose of seeing the numbers change. We have to get more female artistes out there, in the streets, on charts and essentially on stage and a greater variety, and it cannot be reduced to dancehall only but about all the genres that have over the years helped to produce Jamaica’s music. I am going to produce that,” she said.
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Lady G expressed a desire to see more of her dancehall and reggae sorority on the stage and to silence the never-ending topic that women are outnumbered by the men on large platforms such as the one Tony Rebel has provided for both male and female performers for the past 27 years.
“I have been with Rebel Salute from its inception and still here but I want to see more females on the stage because unlike the '80s and '90s, there are more of us dominating and making our presence felt ... so promoters need fi check themselves," Lady G said.
“Look at Best of the Best which happens this May in Florida ... it is females that are headlining and everybody talking about it which shows that we are capable of headlining shows,” she continued.
The Girls Like Us deejay captured the attention of male, as well as female, patrons upon strutting on to the stage in her platform shoes, patterned pants and black mesh blouse that showed a fit physique, and cool melanin skin, complemented by her tapered blond haircut.
She told The Gleaner that she did not want her performance to be about the physical as that is never her aim.
“We females definitely need to take it on ourselves, and not only deejays, to show respect for ourselves and females on the forefront so we can forcefully empower our gender for the better,” she said.