Child promoters put on 'big people' parties
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
While the idea of children actively participating in the dancehall space is frowned upon, there are children who bring the dancehall to patrons in the form of events that they host.
The task of hosting and marketing parties is usually left to adults due to the nature of these events and what is likely to take place there. However, persons under the age of 18 have made their way past just attending these events to also hosting them.
At only 16 years old, Kashmani Lawrence says he has been promoting events for about three years, with events like Bigga Holifest and Velocity -
He explained that his father is also involved in party promotion and is available to guide him where necessary.
"My father does the same thing so I kinda follow his footsteps. It's not really difficult 'cause I know what I am doing and I have my father to back me up," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
And although he is only a teenager, Lawrence explained that his parties do not only target youngsters.
"In marketing, I don't go just for teenagers, I go for everybody because it is a money-making business. I try to bring everybody," he said.
And while there are rules against underage drinking, he admitted that liquor is served at his events, but not to minors.
"If you are under 18, you get a non-alcohol band. If you show ID, you get an alcohol band. Children don't get to drink because the bartenders are very strict," Lawrence said, adding that children never get drunk at his events.
However, of the Section 40 Child Care and Protection Act (2004) says no establishment should sell intoxicating liquor or tobacco product to a child and a person commits an offence by purchasing intoxicating liquor or tobacco products from a child. The act also states that children should not be allowed inside nightclubs.
Although the law does not endorse child promoters and many persons may be against children putting on events of this nature, Lawrence says it all depends on maturity.
"It depends on maturity. If you are not mature enough, I would advise you to stay out of it (party promotion). For me, it's about making money," he said, noting that he donated to the YMCA following the after-Champs March staging of Velocity - The Re-Run.
Inappropriate for children
But Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon-Harrison says it is inappropriate for children to be hosting events, unless it is something like an educational fair that ends early in the day.
"Generally speaking, it is not appropriate for kids to be in things that are not wholesome. If it is a party where anything goes, I think is something you would look at with caution," she told The Sunday Gleaner.
She stressed that children should not be exposed to alcohol, smoking and the lewd behaviour that would be found at parties.
"It is just plain inappropriate. Those parents should probably think about what they are exposing their children to. Children should be allowed to enjoy their childhood space and all the activities that are appropriate for childhood without being exposed to age-inappropriate activities," Gordon-Harrison said.
Selector Boom Boom is also very much against the idea of children partaking in these activities.
"Mi nuh know any (child promoter), but mi hear bout some. Dem fi go school and tek dem education. Right now you have more promoter than flosser and more promoter than supporter," he said.
"Children fi go school and tek in dem education and the parents must see to it that them tek in dem education."
He explained that he is not opposed to playing at an event being hosted by a child, on the basis that it is a small gathering with friends and family at their home. "Not no big party weh dem a sell liquor. If dem a keep big party inna club and dem a sell ticket and dem ting deh, mi can't support dat. Dem fi leave promotion of dancehall till dem get big," Boom Boom told The Sunday Gleaner.