After Etana episode... ARTISTES URGED TO SPEAK UP

September 27, 2016
File Steppa
State Minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment Damion Crawford.

Cultural analyst Dr Donna Hope has advised artistes to "stick to the music, leave the political analysis to the pundits, and let your PR team manage your image".

Hope made the comment in the wake of Etana's public endorsement of United States presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has been branded a racist.

"Sometimes, it's best for artistes to stay with the music and keep their anti-intellectual views to themselves," Hope said.

However, some entertainment industry watchers are encouraging artistes to continue engaging in social and political commentary as it influence decision-making in the country.

One such person is Damion Crawford, former minister of state with responsibility for entertainment.

"If you don't influence government then government will never do anything for you. So, when artistes and entertainers don't get policies that reflect the betterment of the industry, it's because they have chosen not to participate," Crawford advised.

He also said that everyone is entitled to his opinion, regardless of whether it is unpopular.

"Only in Jamaica do we see artistes seek to take themselves away from an important part of governance, and then the same government do nothing for them."

"When I look in the United States, the artistes are very involved in the political process. Beyonce and Jay-Z, they endorse [Barack] Obama. Within the other developed countries, the political arena is not outside of the realm of entertainment practitioners," Crawford reasoned.


Commentary part of musical sphere


Sharing a similar view is cultural advocate Miguel 'Steppa' Williams, who said social commentary is a part of the musical sphere.

"Artistes are generally social commentators and I wouldn't caution them against doing this because it is a part of our music," Williams said.

He opined that Etana was unaware of the facts surrounding the presidential election in the United States when she made comments endorsing Trump on the popular television programme which was aired on Friday.

"Yes, I am a Trump supporter," Etana said.

"And I know a lot of people are going to be like 'but Trump prejudice.' He is not prejudice, if you look into what this is for me even in a conversation straight to the point black and white, it is what it is and say what it is. Don't beat around the bush because if you don't like certain things, then you don't like it end of story. That is the reason I support Trump," the Roots singer said.


Don't crucify Etana


Etana has come in for significant criticisms since her endorsement of Trump, and her position on some of the campaign issues.

"I believe that Etana made an error and we should not crucify her for it. She has done 20 good, so I won't kill her for the one error that she has made. I would want to sit down with her though to really hear her view," Williams said.

Etana has since issued a Tweet indicating that she intends to be a more informed person.

On Saturday, she took to Twitter and said "[I am] taking the time out to do what I never did before, and that's extensive research on both US candidates so I can be more clear on everything".

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