Sat | Nov 28, 2020

McKenzie: Examine COVID messaging - ... says Buju’s utterances require ‘deep analysis’

Published:Saturday | October 24, 2020 | 12:16 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer

Music analyst Clyde McKenzie says the messaging of coronavirus (COVID-19) campaigns, both locally and globally, needs to be examined. This amid uproar over Buju Banton’s denouncement on social media of mask-wearing as one of the protocols established to assist in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It [Buju’s comment] is impatient of further interrogation. It is something that I think requires deep analysis. What are his motives? Did he want to start a debate?” he queried, noting that the coronavirus is very serious.

McKenzie said that although Buju took “a contrarian position that is not popular,” one of the things that needs to be examined is the message construction of COVID-19 campaigns.

“Buju aside, we have to look at how the message is communicated. It should say that precautionary measures reduce the risk instead of saying that if you follow the protocols, it guarantees that you cannot catch the virus. Remember that we are dealing with a public that is very sceptical. So if they know persons who always wash hands, wear their mask, and practise social distancing, and yet they still catch the virus, they are going to seize on that and say that this thing is a hoax,” McKenzie said.

According to McKenzie, these “deficiencies in communication” lead to misinterpretations and undermine the effectiveness of the message. “I build a wall around my house to protect me and my family from thieves, but it is not foolproof. An ingenious guy may just find a way to break in any way. And so it is with the wearing of the mask or any of the protocols because we don’t know how intelligent this virus is. How you frame a message is very important,” he added.

As to Buju’s comments, he says that some things need more significant examination before coming to a conclusion.

“Because I am such a fan, I don’t want to come across as slapping him down in public or being an apologist,” McKenzie told The Gleaner when asked to comment.

On Wednesday, Buju Banton commanded attention with a series of videos posted to Instagram in which he denounced the wearing of masks. “Jamaican people need to wake up. Mi nah wear no mask cause mask nuh mek fi man. Wi waa done wid dis mask-wearing bulls*** inna Jamaica. Who fi dead a go dead, and who nah go dead haffi jus live. We tired of you intellectual fools trying to tell us how to live our lives,” the Grammy Award and Jamaica Festival Competition song winner stated.

He added: “Free mi people dem! Free my people now. You are all touting a line and putting the Jamaican people in abject fear and driving us all to poverty. What have you done for all those who you have laid off and mek dem business close early?”

He assured his audience of his sincerity and stressed that his love for them “supersedes all that this world has to offer” and promised not to “join the other entertainers and trick you”.

Many of the comments disagreed with Buju’s position, and he removed two of the videos, but they may still be watched on fan pages.