Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Don't water down culture in hotel entertainment

Published:Saturday | August 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM


I was in the audience with the guests at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort on August 6, and enjoyed a wonderful performance by Ashe celebrating our culture. The all-Jamaican cast of musicians and performers kept the audience spellbound throughout their presentation.

I was at the same time proud and disappointed. Proud of the commitment and dedication of these young people and their director Conroy Wilson and disappointed to know that although talented musicians, vocalists and performing-arts companies are to be found here on the north coast, more and more we are being squeezed out of our livelihood as our culture is presented by dance groups with largely underpaid Cuban talent. This trend is overwhelming and continues to grow while excellent Jamaican performers are denied opportunities and industry standards are being eroded.

Who will keep the door open in the hotel industry for the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission winners, the graduates of Edna Manley College, the talented artistic Jamaican schoolchildren, the mento bands?

I owe too much to an industry that shaped me and helped me develop as an artiste to step away and turn a blind eye to this challenge. So, I am putting the stakeholders on notice to expect the official appeal to maintain the authenticity of Brand Jamaica in hotel entertainment.

I salute some of the properties which I know, have stood by us, namely - The Hilton Rose Hall Resort, The Jewel Resorts, The Couples Resorts and The Half Moon, a Rock Resort. We look forward to encouraging the performing artists who will be given the opportunity to walk their own pathway having been inspired by the likes of Gem Myers, A.J. Brown, Georgia Henry, Judi Emanuel, Kevin Clarke, Children of the Drums, Hatfield Folk and Cultural Group, Artistry in Motion, Silver Birds Steel Orchestra and Queen Paula, fire dancer extraordinaire, to name but a few.

We have to address this influx of Cuban entertainers displacing our local talent before they totally envelop the hotel landscape.

Karen Smith

President, Cornwall Local

Jamaica Federation of Musicians and Affiliated Artists Union