Sun | Feb 16, 2020

I-Octane urges parents to support children’s dream to entertain - Puts daughter on major stage as example

Published:Saturday | January 25, 2020 | 12:07 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

Dancehall entertainer I-Octane is beaming now that his daughter Octavia, an aspiring recording artiste, received the opportunity to perform on a major stage. Last Sunday in the wee hours, the proud father invited his 10-year-old daughter to share the spotlight with him at the 27th staging of Rebel Salute, held at Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, St Ann, and without fear she performed a snippet of her single, Don’t Trust.

“I have been introducing her to local stages and events, but it is the first major stage like this, to make she practise and thing. She have the experience, but this will make her become a great performer and entertainer,” I-Octane told The Gleaner.

Prior to his daughter’s Rebel Salute debut, the My Life singjay made his way off the stage (after removing his shoes) and on to a riser inside the VIP area. With the help of several members of his Conquer the Globe camp, Octavia was also lifted from the stage to join her father. Aware that his actions might come under criticism, he said he wants naysayers to know that his was a genuine show of support for Octavia’s dream to become a music industry powerhouse, although she is only in grade five.

“I am not doing it for clout. She really, really loves music and wants to do it but she knows it’s education first. Some people will put their children out there or do it because it gives them a better spin-off, which nothing is wrong with that,” said I-Octane.

He said that there is a lingering stigma around non-traditional careers in Jamaica and, as a result, parents are not always supportive of a child’s dream to pursue a career in entertainment, worse yet as a dancehall or reggae artiste.

Organisers’ response

“When I put the presentation to the organisers of Rebel Salute, them never deny it or try decline it. Instead, the response was that it is a good [idea],” he said.

“However, there are people living in mental slavery who need to rewire their minds. We don’t understand that the backbone of our country is people with non-traditional jobs, because we advertise jobs like doctor and lawyer, so every youth feel that is the path them have to take.”

He said that for parents who recognise talent in their children, there should be no issues to expose them to a stage, if the opportunity presents itself, even before their pre-teenage years.

“Because of what seems the norm, everybody want to put them children in more glamorous [jobs], but what they need to understand, there are some farmers who get more money, and we not shining the light on those jobs because them fingernail dirty. A lot of people who have non-traditional jobs are more successful and satisfied; music is one of them. Let’s try to do more as parents and support the dream to entertain,” he said.

The Gleaner also spoke to Octavia, who said, “I don’t remember where I first performed I was scared even though I was smiling, and actually ran off the stage, but Daddy was supportive and still is. I want to play instruments as well.”

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com