JFMAU and JAVAA partner to help ailing industry
Emphasising that any kind of collaboration will be for the benefit of both organisations and the music industry as a whole, the heads of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians & Affiliates Union (JFMAU) and Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA) have signed off on a partnership.
The two entities promise that this synergy will see some innovations to help the present economic situation that the ailing entertainment industry is facing today.
A joint statement noted, “Two of the strongest voices in the entertainment industry have decided that collaborating is a win for both their members and their industry. The JFMAU president, Lowell Lawson, welcomes the synergy/partnership and commends the chairman of JAVAA, Frankie Campbell, on this initiative.”
Lawson, the newly installed president and former vice-president, told The Gleaner that the move was strategic, and he hopes it will encourage other entertainment entities to bond together at all levels. Stressing that he believes that “working together is the way forward for the upward mobility of the entertainment industry”, Lawson said last year was “very tough”, and it is unfortunate that tourism, aviation and sport are open, but entertainment remains closed.
“When we looked and saw what was happening in the industry, Mr Campbell and I spoke. We understand that the process of transformation not only requires good leadership and good presidents, it also needs people who will support the policies and programmes that we all agree are the best ones to grow the industry. Mr Campbell recognised the vision of the JFMAU board, and with this collaboration, we will have increased demography and increased membership. We are still talking, but right now, we are working together and will be doing things together moving forward,” Lawson shared.
“We already had some synergies, and we will be working together to get a meeting with the authorities so we can sit at the table and tailor a programme to curtail the virus and open the industry in a responsible way,” he added.
Lawson said, however, that no decision has been taken on a new name that will incorporate both organisations.
Campbell, who is also the frontman for the 50-year-old Fab 5 Band, hailed the JFMAU (formerly JFM) as the oldest organisation to serve the entertainment industry, as it has been in existence for over 60 years.
“JAVAA is pleased to be partnering with the union to help move the industry forward. The Jamaica Federation of Musicians has, over the last six decades, done a lot for the industry. A number of the protocols in place now, [such as] work hours, work conditions and minimum wages for all hotel entertainers, were instituted in the ‘60s and ‘70s by the union,” explained Campbell, who has been a member of the union for over 50 years.
SUPPORTING SAME CAUSE
He pointed out that though different in parts of their mission, “both bodies are synergistic in advocating, preserving and promoting the advancement and economic stability of the entertainment industry”.
The JFM, originally incorporated in 1958 to advocate for performers in the entertainment industry, was reorganised in 2017 to include affiliates in general and took on a modified name – the JFMAU. JAVAA was formed in 2003 to focus on the welfare of the many vintage artistes in Jamaica and preserve the music.
“JAVAA would like to see [the JFMAU] back to serving the best interest of all Jamaican musicians under this new president and board. I firmly believe that a successful working union will be of great benefit to all performing musicians/artistes. Regulating our industry that has been labelled informal for far too long will put back protocols in place and help make a more professional and sustainable industry with better working conditions and overall benefits. A united music industry can only mean greater progress in moving forward to a brighter future. Unity is strength every time,” the JAVAA chairman told The Gleaner.
An enthusiastic Lawson said he welcomed the new vision and looked forward to seeing greater things ahead for the music business in Jamaica. “We are calling on the entire entertainment fraternity to look at this and to understand that if JAVAA and JFMAU can come together like this to benefit the industry, then others can too. We take this opportunity to invite all entertainment practitioners to come on board so we can all join together and help ourselves as an industry,” he declared.