Discrimination stance creates split - Promoters' new rules not welcomed by all
Davina Henry, Staff Reporter
While some artistes have come under fire for openly discriminating against certain groups, promoters are now joining the cause through formal agreements. GT Taylor is one of those promoters to have taken a stance against intolerance.
"The world has changed. Live your life and let others live their lives. Entertainment is for the general public, so I don't think artistes should be on stage and be inciting violence against other groups. I don't think they should bash groups for their way of life. I put in the contracts that discrimination and indecent language are banned," Taylor told The Sunday Gleaner.
When prompted as to what punishment would be meted out to artistes who did not adhere to the contract, Taylor stated that the police would step in from there.
But Dexton Ennis, the promoter of the popular Follow the Arrow event, has put in place more stringent measures to dissuade artistes from discriminating.
"I am banning discrimination against any group, sect, or race at my event. Dancehall is already getting a beating and Corporate Jamaica is already pulling sponsorships from our shows," he said.
He further added that although corporate sponsorship was just one of the reasons he had taken this stance, he also had a responsibility to all his patrons.
"Bashing over the years has not changed anything! I have stipulated in my contracts that I will not tolerate indecent language or discrimination. Any artiste who breaches this contract will not be getting the remaining 50 per cent of their balance! It will instead be donated to the St Mary Infirmary," Ennis said.
NO CHANGE FOR ARTISTES
But while promoters are clamping down, some artistes are not welcoming the change.
According to I-Wayne, he has always been one to "bun out" discrimination, but at the same time, he cannot condone some things.
"We haffi burn wrongs. What is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong."
He added that if approached by a promoter to do an event with a contract that stipulated no discrimination, he would still perform at the show.
"I would do the show, but we burn filthiness same way. It all depends on how you deal with it. Discrimination is wrong, but if a man a burn out wrong, den dat is fi him ting," I Wayne said.
Ninja Man was much more vocal in his stance to decline shows banning discrimination.
"What they call discrimination a wha some people call the truth. Jamaica has gone to a stage where people a call dem self demon, gays a walk up and dung inna New Kingston, and people a cut off baby head. A nuh dat we come from. A nuh our culture dat. Mi nuh know wha di country gone to.
"No promoter cyaah sign contract wid me bout dat. Nobody cyaah stop me from bun destruction. Don't try stop people when dem a talk the truth. Stop force the artistes over the edge. Mi a one artiste whe a talk di truth, and who nuh like it can come defend it," Ninja Man told The Sunday Gleaner.
But while some artistes are not pleased with the new stance, Dane Lewis, executive director of J-FLAG, sees the move as positive.
"We know the influence music has on shaping society. This comes across as a very responsible and positive move by promoters. I am happy that they have taken a stance that will promote love, tolerance, and respect for equality," Lewis said.