High grades, not high grade - Ikaya, Devin Di Dakta join anti-smoking campaign

October 30, 2017
Devin Di Dakta
Devin Di Dakta

Reggae recording artiste Ikaya is supporting the National Council on Drug Abuse's (NCDA) Talk Di Truth: Youth and Ganja Public Education no-smoking campaign and educational tour. It is a partnership with the Ministries of Health, Education, Justice and National Security.

"We want to get up close and personal when we educate these young, impressionable minds and anything that is threatening your education is threatening your future. Your future come first. Try get high grades not high grade," Ikaya said.

The Hard Way singjay signed on along with Devin Di Dakta in September and quickly collaborated on the campaign's Future Come First jingle. The track is recorded on the Talk Di Truth rhythm, produced by NotNice Records.

"I definitely believe that music is arguably the best vehicle to reach the youth of our nation. Where words fail sometimes, music often speaks. Entertainers have a powerful grasp on the youth and can influence them. It's a role that we should take seriously as the voice of the voiceless," Ikaya told The STAR.

"Similarly, if we're their voices, then we have to also be in their ears, too, and share what we know to be best for them. Preachy don't always work, but melodies soak."

Ikaya says she has participated to teach healthy habits and choices to young people, as well as raise awareness about smoking and preservation of the environment.

"I witnessed firsthand the harmful effects of smoking through my grandfather, so I feel obligated to educate Jamaica about the health dangers of smoking not only to help save lives, but to also honour my grandfather's life."

Her grandfather developed lung cancer, which led to his death from respiratory failure.




In the 2013 Jamaica Secondary School Survey, 43 per cent of respondents said marijuana was easily accessible. With the decriminalisation of up to two ounces of marijuana in 2015, and based on surveys over the past 10 years, the NCDA has zeroed in on the misuse of the herb.

The message will be directed not only to tobacco and marijuana users, but also aspiring musicians, singers and producers.

"As young people, your brains are still being developed and at that stage, studies are showing that the damage from smoking has dangerous effects on the brain, including memory loss, which we all know prevents us from retaining information being taught in school," Ikaya said.

The NCDA, through its YouTube channel, has launched a series of webisodes in which Ikaya frankly expresses her opposition to smoking.

She states: "It is a bad habit to take up, whether cigarette or marijuana. I have been around persons that seh it give them a different medz or a different feel, but I don't think it makes you more creative. It all starts in the mind."

Ikays and Devin, along with the NCDA team, have been going from parish to parish to garner public opinion on marijuana, which is a part of the webisodes.

Ikaya admitted to The STAR she has tried smoking marijuana.

"I am not afraid to say that I have tried it; it was not a taste or feeling I enjoyed. The after effects, the giggles and paranoia weren't very enjoyable. Plus, the risks and the potential damage to my voice, which is my life and livelihood, makes it not even worth the gamble," Ikaya said.

A music video for the Talk Di Truth: Future Come First single, released on September 26, has received over 500,000 views via social media.

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