Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Alliance Movement founder, Ras Astor Black, popular for the many times he has offered himself up for public office, is popular for other reasons too.
This time around, Black is making waves because of the impact he is trying to make in the music industry.
Black, who has had more than 20 years of production experience, is hoping to discover and develop Jamaican reggae talent through the Ras Astor Black Interactive Music and Arts Learning Institute.
The institution, which Black founded in 1994, is located at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium and offers a variety of programmes, including photography, film and video production and entertainment and media management.
Black is now seeking up-and-coming local reggae artistes to showcase their talent and produce their music videos.
The perennial political underdog will be pairing established reggae artistes from each parish with students from their home parish in a bid to encourage a mentor-mentee relationship that will foster the creation of new music and help the students to develop as artistes.
The reggae artistes who have come on board are those inducted in Black's Reggae Walk of Fame. This includes Ky-Mani Marley, Tony Rebel and Barrington Levy, just to name a few.
"The response has been fantastic! A lot of children who do not have any direction and love art have been signing on," Black told The Gleaner.
Black also hopes to ultimately shoot their music videos which will be showcased on BobArtsTv - a broadcasting forum operated by Black's institution.
The songs created will also be featured on FREEiRADIO 88.9FM and its associated website.
According to Black, students will also be participating in the Reggae in the Sun attraction at the stadium every day as part of their curriculum.
Reggae in the Sun opened on October 1 and is geared at providing a unique cultural experience for tourists visiting the area.
Black revealed that mobile giant, BlackBerry, is the official sponsor of the Reggae in the Sun concert series and has sponsored two billboards promoting the event so far. There is also a Reggae in the Sun BlackBerry application in the works that will highlight the day-to-day events taking place at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium.