Diana Ross is lucky this isn't the era of the Shandy bottle and that she was not before an audience that had 'Sting-like' tendencies. It would not have been pretty. But then neither is Ross, who took US$300,000 to 'perform' at the Jazz and Blues Festival in a manner that prevented most of the patrons from seeing her.
From what I could glean from media reports, Turn-Key Promotions allege that it was only informed that they would not be able to record her performance at the very last minute, a decision that prevented thousands of patrons who paid about US$80 each per ticket to see her perform on the giant screens mounted at the venue. Questions have also been raised about whether or not some of her performance was lip-synched.
And while Turn-Key is unable to do a damn thing about it because what I'm hearing is that contractually she did nothing illegal, from a moral standpoint, if what Turn-Key is saying is true, then Ms. Ross would have robbed the promotions company and the thousands of fans - some of whom no doubt saved for a long time just to be able to see her - of a performance that was value for money.
Turn-Key must take some of the blame too because I would not be paying Ross US$300,000. Sure, she has been in the industry for more than 45 years, which is longer than I've been alive, and had some songs on the charts in recent times, songs that I have never heard of, but still, $300,000 an hour is a bit much if you ask me.
My question is if they paid her that much, how much did they pay Alicia Keys a few years back for what was an amasing performance? That was a performance that will be remembered for its quality for as long as the festival exists.
And I am sure we all remember Kenny Rogers for his amasing performance that year. He had the crowd singing along and everything. In his heyday he was as big an act as Ross ever was, but you see, perhaps the difference is whereas Rogers, and Keys, don't get caught up too much in their own hype, Ross is completely different.
Keys and Rogers and past performers like the great Michael McDonald, all seem to be about enjoying the music and pleasing the fans that made them famous.
So as I said before, it's a good thing that we have moved past the Shandy bottle phase. Remember those days? They were times when an artiste knew that when he/she stepped on stage it was not time to be fooling around because the people came to be entertained, not trifled with. Many an artiste experienced the horror of seeing the wave of bottles hurtling towards them and must have felt like it was the end of the world.
But it's a good thing Ross didn't experience that because Jamaica deserves better. The headlines would probably have read 'Ross inundated by bottles at Jazz Festival' and that probably would have meant an end to the annual festival. We should simply respond by not inviting her back and we should encourage other promoters to do the same.
P.S. Congratulations to Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown for being named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year 2007, respectively. However, my sportsman of the year would have been Maurice Smith, who won the Pan Am Games gold medal and was only a few points shy of the gold in Osaka. A world record is fine and 9.74 is nothing to sneeze at but for my money, a gold and a silver, to me is bigger than a world record. Besides, in terms of expectations Powell underachieved, whereas it could be argued that Smith exceeded expectations. But hey, that's just me.
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