'She got it!'

Ministry dismisses music insider's claim about Etana

Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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THE entertainment and culture ministry is dismissing a statement made by artiste manager/promoter Junior “Heavy D” Fraser that Etana is yet to receive the US$5,000 promised her earlier this year.

Fraser was a guest presenter at last Friday's launch of the Dancehall Archives and Research Initiative at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus in St Andrew. His comments came as he chastised the authorities for their lack of support for dancehall music.

“Etana nah go talk, but me will say it! All now she nuh get the money yet,” Fraser told the audience inside the Neville Hall Lecture Theatre at the UWI.

The money was allocated from the Artist Ambassador and Tour Support programme out of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange, who was in parliament yesterday, pointed the Jamaica Observer to her director of communications Oliver Watt, who said the funds were disbursed shortly after the announcement in February.

“I am confirming that she received the money,” Watt told the Observer.

When the announcement was made in February that Etana would have been granted US$5,000 to assist with promotion on 32-city North American tour it evoked a firestorm of public discussion. Many criticised the move and advocated that such funds should have been used for artiste development.

Tanya Stephens was one of the dissenting voices.

“ I love Etana but she mus lick her head fi accept that position! Investment should show a clear path to profit. Public investment should have public profit. In the same way I don't think the tourism minister should buy computers for the craft market vendors in Ocho Rios who demanded them I can not be hypocritical about my own industry. I would be happy to see public funding spent on a craft school or programs in schools. I'd be ecstatic if funding was given to public school to create and enhance music programs/education,” she posted on social media.

In its defence, senior director in the Entertainment Division of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Gillian Wilkinson-McDaniel said Etana topped a field of four applicants for the grant. She said there was a clear process for potential recipients, which begins with applicants submitting their bids to the Entertainment Division where they are vetted and sent to the entertainment advisory board for consideration, then to the permanent secretary for ratification and approval.

Etana is the first female recipient of the grant, which was developed in 2013. Protoje (US$8,000), Kabaka Pyramid and the Bebble Rockers (US$1,000) and Grammy nominees Raging Fyah (US$3,500) have benefited from the fund. Freddie McGregor is also listed as having benefited.

Etana is known for songs including Wrong Address, I Rise, I'm Not Afraid, and People Talk.

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