The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says Reggae Month 2023 will have live events across the country for the entire month of February.
“It will be one month of entertainment, constantly, every day,” said Minister Grange.
Among the activities are tributes to Dennis Brown (on February 1); Bob Marley (on February 6); the weekly JARIA Wednesdays; the Children of the Icons and Emerging Artistes series; as well as the Reggae University Series.
“And it’s not just entertainment, but it’s also educational because we’re going to be having symposia. We’re going to be doing several interviews so that the public will have a better understanding of our personalities and their lives. We will have documentaries… and we will have an exhibition of dance hall posters over the years. We will also host tributes to some of our greats who have passed on, and we will have the Reggae Golden Awards. We will be awarding a number of our artistes who have contributed to Brand Jamaica and made the music what it is.” stated the Honourable Olivia Grange
For Reggae Month 2023, JaRIA is investing more effort into its collaborations and seeks to feature reggae in art, fashion, food, with the gastronomy element being associated with the ‘livity’ of reggae and its practitioners, and through continued corporate and social partnerships.
The activities will kick-start on February 1 on Dennis Brown’s birthday with its first Reggae Wednesdays ‘Revolution: Celebrating the Crown Prince’ and the following week it heads to Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay and returns to Kingston to the final two events.
Simpson said that there is a visible transformation in the activities on the Reggae Month calendar and it continues evolve for future productions.
“We’re going to be featuring a reggae fashion show with pieces from local designers. Last year we partnered with Sky Gallery for the Reggae Month Exhibition, to show reggae in the visual arts, we want to make it a broad-based Reggae Month. It is that coalescing around entertainment and the creative industries that provides a good cultural presentation to continue being observed as the mecca of reggae music.” stated JaRIA Chairman, Ewan Simpson.
Making reference to the past month of events, Simpson stated that Jamaica should have persons coming every month to experience the culture in one form or another.
“We have demonstrated, we can have a festival around music every weekend with the three or four major events back-to-back in December with the Burna Boy concert kick-starting it, then Sting the following week. It might not be something we can maintain every week for the next 52 weeks but let’s start with having more events across the island, including Reggae Month, that attract persons globally,” Simpson said.
He added, “One of the things Jamaicans need to understand is that reggae is ours, and if we do not celebrate it with activities such as Reggae Month, or within our schools, churches, government and private sector entities, if we do not embrace it and celebrate it and make it ours then Jamaica will not realise its potential to be the mecca of reggae music. People should come to Jamaica every February as a pilgrimage just as the Muslims go to Israel or the Jews go to Jordan, and Kingston, being the creative city of music, should have live events happening that show why it is branded that way.”
As per usual, JaRIA is endorsing several other events, including Remembering Alton and Hortense Ellis on February 18; Yaksta’s album launch at the Mandela Park in Half-Way Tree on February 21; and the Reggae Wednesdays South Florida edition produced by Inner Circle.
“More events will be added to the calendar as we near February and we’re inviting corporate Jamaica to collaborate with us at JaRIA, because there are lots of positive messages we can send. Reggae has always been a liberating force and celebration of all things good, and I’m expecting that persons will celebrate with us, coming out of the stress of the pandemic, because we have once again been given the opportunity and space to do that out in the open,” Simpson said.
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