STAR of the Month: Etana admires Kenyan project
In 2015, the Kenyan government officially launched its National Music Policy, after the industry operated without any guidelines for many years. The move was partly geared towards the improved distribution of music and development of programmes for the youth. During the various initiatives reggae singer Etana was invited to the African country through the Kenyan government as a representative of reggae music and its place of origin - Jamaica.
"When they decided to advance upcoming artistes and I went as a representative for Jamaica, I was told the love for reggae music was so strong that they needed to have an artiste from our country for the events," Etana said. As philanthropy plays an integral part in Etana's life, the songstress took part in a youth initiative through a project called Studio Mashinani, organised by the Kenyan government. It included a youth empowerment workshop with various mentors.
Music has been listed as the most highly consumed commodity and the Kenyan government managed to employ techniques to use music to enhance the country's identity, including opening studios, broadcasting entities and centres for development for its recording artistes. Etana says if she were part of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport she would replicate what was done in Kenya to advance upcoming Jamaican artistes.
"They not only opened about three studios across Kenya, but created avenues for the music and film to be aired. There was a TV station specifically related to that studio," she said. "I would also create an album every year that goes out to the world that says these are our new artistes."
While the Star of the Month for May understands that the ideas would receive criticism, especially as it relates to the financing, she said: "It's not just about taxpayers money; if people feel the Government should not invest in music, then they shouldn't have a ministry attending to culture."
She continued: "Part of the reason you will find the ministry advertise through artistes is because it costs way more to run a multimedia ad for one month. People are drawn to music and drawn to reggae music. By creating avenues and platforms for it to grow it is equally benefiting, so they can advertise through the artiste."