May 6, 2013
Selectors unite to fight for sound-system culture
Curtis Campbell, STAR Writer
Award-winning selector Ricky Trooper, last evening, hosted a meeting with fellow selectors and other music industry players in keeping with his promise to unite the industry.
The unification, Trooper had previously explained, is necessary to fight what he sees as the Government's attempts to put an end to street dances.
The meeting was hosted at Skateland, in Half-Way Tree, and was well attended.
In an informal speech, an outspoken Trooper encouraged his fellow selectors to join forces to save Jamaica's sound system culture.
According to the veteran, sound systems have helped to develop Jamaica's proud musical heritage, and if it were to be brought to an end, the effects would be equivalent to erasing the hard work of Bob Marley, Studio One and other icons who helped to create a globally appreciated music.
The selector is aiming to create a representative body comprised of music industry players. This body is expected to have a director, president, treasurer, publicist, lawyer and other positions that can be found in a formal structure.
"Currently, we have nobody to represent us, so when the Government seh party must dismiss at midnight or 2 a.m. or whenever, we have nobody to stand up for our cause. So, we are going to establish a body of people that will be able to bring our concerns to the leaders of Government," Trooper told THE STAR.
The selector also warned fellow selectors to adhere to the current rules stipulated by the law. "Stop tief light, get yu permit and sort out contracts between yourself and promoters. When you do this and a police comes to turn off dances you have your papers in order, so you can stand up for yourself. But if you break the rules, you don't have feet to stand on," he warned.
He also charged selectors to play their sound systems moderately, instead of blasting music loud enough to disturb fellow Jamaicans.
"The profanity and the vulgarity must also tone down, I am including myself in this and it will be hard but I am making that step to clean up my act, so I am asking you to do the same and clean up the music so that we can come to a favourable agreement with the authorities," he said.
ZJ Rush agreed with much of Trooper's comments, however, he believes the Government is only applying pressure to the music because it is not an income generator.
Rush, therefore, encouraged his peers to present a tax package to the Government which they would in turn adhere to, in order to facilitate mutual benefits.
Amid the positives, there were some low points in the meeting such as a disagreement among dancers Keiva and Latonya Style with the stance of Trooper to classify the meeting as an all-selectors meeting.
According to the dancers, all music industry players should have been on the podium. Trooper was quick to address their grouses, saying he targeted mostly selectors in the first meeting because the sound system culture and its preservation was the main matter at hand.
He also said upcoming meetings would see him inviting more industry players such as promoters, artistes, dancers and brand managers, however, this meeting was to create the platform and establish common ground among the sound system selectors.
"We have to unite and approach the Government as a body, because it's out of the police hand now. It's a law so it's something that has to be argued in Parliament, so we have to get our facts right and let them see our problems," Trooper said.