Begin conversations on how artistes will survive this pandemic
THE EDITOR, Madam:
Music has been a major contributor to economic development in Jamaica. Our pioneers have blazed a trail of international excellence which has garnered millions of dollars in foreign exchange. One thing bout we: we a go sing, clap, dance and have a good time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Government to put measures in place in an attempt to curtail the spread of the virus. The selfishness of some Jamaicans has contributed to these measures, and if things continue the way they are, we expect that the measures will eventually be tightened even further. We cannot fault the authorities from taking that stance, as it is their duty to act in the best interest of the public. However, what about us?
The entertainment industry has been at a standstill since early 2020, with the exception of the occasional virtual events, which only a select few artistes have been able to participate in. However, even for those who have been on these virtual shows, the revenue gained is not enough to sustain us for any prolonged period, and for those who haven’t, it presents them with a whole different dynamic.
From conversations with other singers and musicians like myself, the reality of the struggle is evident. Many of my colleagues at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, where I am a student, have had to discontinue their studies due to financial constraints and their inability to afford tuition fees. Some have lost their homes, while others have had their utilities disconnected, others are barely able to afford a decent meal. I believe that this calls for a strategic conversation.
We are not advocating that the measures be relaxed. However, what we would love is to have a conversation on creating more opportunities to utilise our unique talents even in this challenging times. Some of us earned from events – funerals, weddings and church services. But that source of income has been significantly diminished due to the restrictions imposed.
Again, we understand the challenges and the new norms that we have to adjust to. We also understand that we might have to make changes to our lifestyles and we might also have to venture into other areas of business. We might even need to find a job, even though the job market at this time is in shambles. We are just asking for the conversation to begin on how we can be aided as we all go through this dreadful time.
AKA Minister Godartiste