JAVAA needs help
Frankie Campbell appeals for $250,000 to pay insurance arrears
Chairman of The Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA), Frankie Campbell, is appealing to players in the music industry at all levels to assist in pooling together the requisite funds to keep a life insurance policy for members afloat. Campbell told The Gleaner that the organisation needs $250,000 to pay off all the arrears.
“We at JAVAA have an insurance policy, and it assists with funeral expenses for our members who have passed. This helps to ensure that they are sent off with dignity. In order to cover the cost of the insurance policy and other associated JAVAA expenses, we would have at least three fundraising events per year, but owing to COVID, we have not been able to stage events, and we have no other real income. The policy is now on the verge of being lapsed because we have not been able to pay the premium,” explained Campbell, who is also the manager and bass player of Fab 5 band.
He shared that of JAVAA’s 150-strong membership, the organisation is collecting full fees from approximately 20 persons, while another 30 or so are partially paid up. “We have a little over 10 per cent of members being fully paid up, but we have been subsidising others by paying their fees just to keep them on the policy. So, we may have a member who has not paid any dues for five years, and then he or she passes. The family collects the insurance payout, but they don’t give back a portion to the organisation that has been paying the premiums all along,” the JAVAA chairman said.
The entity, Campbell said, does not receive the necessary support from the industry, and he called out record companies, foundations that have the names of prominent artistes and the big players who have essentially turned their backs on JAVAA.
“JAVAA is an organisation dedicated to the preservation of Jamaica’s musical heritage through the protection of the professional well-being of our vintage artistes and musicians. When we started 18 years ago, we reached out to all the record companies and the big players in the music business, hoping that they would have jumped on board. VP Records gave us US$1,000, and the other record companies, you name them, they all said they didn’t have any money or simply ignored us. A prominent foundation paid half of the annual $10,000 membership fee. Half! Not even the full amount. It is unfortunate that the private sector and government look at music like how they used to view football before Jamaica qualified for the World Cup,” he lamented.
On the bright side, Campbell said that Chris Chin, the CEO of VP Records, called him last week and pledged his support, and he is also awaiting a response from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
“We need $250,000 to pay off what we owe and give us some leverage until next year. Chris [Chin] called me and said he will help, and I expect that Minister Grange will find a way to assist us. The ministry sponsored our Reggae Month concert in February, and they have assisted us with other things, so we are hopeful,” Campbell stated.
Campbell noted that over the last 18 years, Fab 5 has been the main benefactor for JAVAA, “investing millions of dollars, so the organisation could stay afloat”.
“We have also found ourselves in the same predicament, no earnings over the last 19 months owing to COVID. We are now appealing to anyone for whatever assistance we can get to ensure that this important music organisation does not die, but will live on to benefit our vintage performers/musicians and Jamaica at large, through the promotion of positive wholesome music that Jamaica was known for in the past,” Campbell said in a prepared statement.