Sat | Nov 27, 2021
COVID-19: Livelihoods hanging in the balance

Promoters of weekly events reeling from effects of coronavirus

Published:Sunday | March 15, 2020 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle - Staff Reporter
Boom Boom
Scenes from Day Rave Thursdayz last year.
Hotta Rice
Strong support for Boom Boom Birthday celebrations last year.

Organisers of Jamaica Carnival are the latest to announce the postponement of their season of events due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Jamaica. They have now joined BRT Weekend, UWI Carnival and Sterling Gospel Awards who are among the big events that have had to reschedule. But these large-scale events are not the only ones reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 virus. Promoters of weekly street dances have also been vastly affected by the outbreak. And unlike the large-scale events whose temporary fix is a simple date adjustment, the livelihood of the promoters of these weekly events hangs in the balance indefinitely.

100 per cent decline

Boom Boom, who is the resident selector and face of Boom Sundays, told The Sunday Gleaner that since the first case of the virus was confirmed on Monday, he has seen 100 per cent decline in bookings for events. He says while things are sure to improve in the long-term, by then ‘the likkle people dem done suffer’. “Reggae Sumfest and dem thing deh ago keep innu because by dem time deh everything calm down but yuh see the people dem weh keep dem weekly events, a dem diss really ago affect. Yuh know how much people make dem living off these street events and all a dem off till further notice,” he said. “This a affect not only myself as a selector but the vendors dem weh sell dem chicken, dem likkle cigarette and peanut a night-time. Dis drastic man.”

Boom Boom said while the Government has only imposed a 14-day ban on public gatherings so far, there is a high possibility that will be extended and, according to him, if that becomes the reality, ‘trouble deh deh’.

“If di Government extend diss, how we a go manage?” he questioned. “We can’t go chu diss fi long periods because if a only 14 days and people a bawl, imagine the extension, we nah go can cope. A diss a nuff poor people income.”

Hotta Rice, another selector and promoter of the popular Day Rave Thursdays, described the coronavirus pandemic as World War III. He expressed that only world wars have ever been able to affect the globe in the manner COVID-19 has. “This a di worst and me have da virus yah as World War III right now, a di biggest thing. Dis is not an America or Europe thing, a worldwide thing,” he said. “It already a affect we because dance a our hustling and if it extended, me know nuff people nah go manage but we affi work wid di laws of the country and for as long as dem say no gathering, me nah go behind dat.”

While the virus has put hustling on pause, both selectors want Jamaicans to focus less on the financial fallout and more on how to keep themselves and families safe.

“Stay in as much as you can, wash your hands and take the necessary precautions because nothing beat life,” said Hotta Rice. “This is a difficult time for everyone but we affi try play it safe as much as possible. Let us do the right thing and help fight this thing, it can’t last forever.”