Sponsors urged to 'rally round dancehall like carnival'
The controversial MC Nuffy and record producer/artiste Hitmaker are encouraging corporate Jamaica to lend dancehall the same support it extends to carnival.
"Di majority of Jamaicans are poor people, so literally, they are the ones who are supporting your products. When Shaggy keep him show, look at the few people in the VIP, but look in the bleachers how much poor people turn out and support," Nuffy told THE STAR.
The MC also believes dancehall should be allowed to grow in its purest form without losing sponsorship.
He said he found it hypocrital when sponsors complain about artistes cursing.
"You sell cigarettes and alcohol, which are dangerous to people's health. So which one is more serious? Profanity, or alcohol and cigarette? Mi nah bash unno, but do better," he said.
Hitmaker said the uptown-versus-downtown saga has affected dancehall's growth. He thinks corporate Jamaica needs to see dancehall and reggae as brands.
"Get out of the mentality that dancehall is ghetto people music ... dancehall and reggae were born in the inner city, so it is raw and represents the struggle that people of the inner city face," he said. "Corporate [Jamaica] supports carnival and we are not the birthplace for carnival, but it's a mentality of our people to be foreign-minded and quicker to accept other cultures than ours."
However, at least two corporate companies feel they are on the right path.
Gary Dixon, marketing director, J. Wray and Nephew Limited, told THE STAR that the company is "proud of our historical and ongoing support of a wide array of cultural and entertainment initiatives.
"As a policy, we do not discuss our marketing strategy, but suffice to say, we continue to be supportive of dancehall, and indeed, all genres of music according to our brands' portfolio positioning," he said.
Digicel's senior sponsorship manager, Kamal Powell, said, "Our sponsorship strategy is based on support for activities that help to move people and communities forward".
Jamaica will play host to four different carnivals this year for the first time.