Where are the women? - Call for more females on Rebel Salute, other shows

January 23, 2023
Patrons couldn’t get enough of the show even in the morning hours.
Patrons couldn’t get enough of the show even in the morning hours.
Queen Ifrica delivering a royal performance at Rebel Salute.
Queen Ifrica delivering a royal performance at Rebel Salute.

Reggae-dancehall recording artiste Queen Ifrica, who had the Rebel Salute crowd eating out of the palms of her hands inside Plantation Cove in St Ann on Saturday night, believes that there is a demand for females within the music industry especially on a platform like the popular show.

"We want to see the females, especially if them doing and saying the right things. But where are they? Them deh bout? If them deh bout, then them fi deh pon it but it's about accessibility and maybe them [the organisers] check, and them just nuh available. We always want to see females balance out the thing because the man them have the ground too long," she told THE STAR.

The Lioness on the Rise singer-songwriter said she did not capture all the females who performed over the two nights but was particularly proud to see Tanzania 'Tanzie' Barrett, who she has with Tony Rebel, make her debut on the Rebel Salute stage. Tanzie performed original tracks, Toxicology, Set in Stone and Bun A Fire.

"I was channelling me; the goal was to show the audience me, and they got the intro to Tanzie. I was originally to perform five songs and the time was cut short, [so] there was a moment in the middle of everything where I stopped for a second to tell myself I could and needed to do it," Tanzie said.

"It hard for a woman in this industry and we have so many more female artistes who need recognition that a major show like Rebel Salute can provide. As a woman, an artiste may feel she has to do more than a man and that is what we have to do, put in double the work and get more bookings to be noticed, me included," she continued.

In addition to Queen Ifrica and Tanzie, there were only four other female artistes on the Rebel Salute line-up. Aza Lineage and another of Tony Rebel's daughters, Davianah, performed on night two. Davianah chose to deliver a message of female empowerment for her performance. She implored female peers to start "showcasing something different".

"A lot of the females are kind of the same; it is all sexed up and looking at a Rebel Salute that wants to show a different side of the artistes, you have to be willing to show you have that," Davianah said.

"Now, me nah say we fi stop di sexiness, never. But once we balance it out, a platform like this will take more notice of us. I don't want it to mean that having a balance, I cyaa show I can be sexy and make the right impact," said Davianah, who was previously banned from the platform for inappropriate attire.

Rising star Yeza, veteran Lady G and UK female reggae band Akabu infused their empress energies into night one. Members of the 13-member strong Akabu expressed a desire to have performed during prime time.

"We feel good to come to the home of reggae, but I'd like for us to be invited back to play again and get the peak spots, because females rarely do get that opportunity," said Akabu guitarist, Valerie Skeete.

"Rebel Salute is a great show but we travelled all the way from London and yet we were put on early. The last time we were here was in 2005 and we wanted more of Jamaica to see us," chimed in Diane White, bass player and co-founder of Akabu.

DJ Naz, though defeated by male African selector Dynamq in the sound clash segment on night two, also represented with her Gurl Power sound.

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