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July 25, 2014
Star Entertainment


International Dancehall Queen Contest to help boost tourism
Adrian Frater, News Editor

From left, Kingsley Cooper, chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Brian 'Big Head' Martin, the promoter of the International Dancehall Queen Contest, and Robert Russell, chairman of Summerfest Productions, the promoters of Reggae Sumfest, in discussion during Tuesday night's launch of Dancehall Queen 2014. - Adrian Frater

Western Bureau:

Kingsley Cooper, chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, says the International Dancehall Queen Contest, staged in Montego Bay annually, is tailor-made for the government's new Jamrock Summer - 90 Days, 90 Ways initiative, which is designed to boost both tourism and entertainment.

Cooper, the guest speaker at Tuesday night's launch of the 18th renewal of the Big Head Promotions event, to be held at Pier One on August 2, says grassroots events like 'Dancehall Queen' are integral to the preservation of Jamaica's culture.

"90 days of summer is designed to showcase a range of entertainment activities over the 90 days of summer," said Cooper. "It has the capacity to boost tourism and other business-related spin-offs associated with entertainment, so 'Dancehall Queen' would fit perfectly into the concept."

Commending the organiser for keeping the contest alive over so many years, Cooper spoke to the global appeal of Jamaica's music as girls travel from all over the world annually to vie for the title.

Promoter Brian Martin, who started the contest to help expose talented inner-city dancers and has since taken it to over 40 countries, said he is not convinced that dancehall and its various spin-off activities are getting enough respect locally.

This year's event, which will be streamed all over the world via the Internet, will see the winner walking away with a whopping J$1 million in cash and prizes. The second- and third-place finishers, as well as the winners of sectional awards, will also be handsomely rewarded.

"So far, we have had confirmation from more than 40 countries, to include newcomers Slovakia and South Africa and, as usual, we will be expecting the usual strong representation from Japan, Poland, the United States, and across the Caribbean," said Martin.

In last year's contest, Keja 'Tall Up' Christie, a student of the G.C Foster School of Physical Education, copped the coveted title. Brandi Watts, of the United States, was second; while Lillian Wamini, of Canada/Uganda, was third.

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