'Stop killing the artistes!'

'Stop killing the artistes!'

Frankie Campbell issues social media warning

Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

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Frankie Campbell, head of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA), has lashed out at the spreading of false information on social media regarding the deaths of members of the entertainment fraternity, which is now becoming common place.

“These people who are spreading rumours don't realise how much of a problem they are posing for the friends and family of these persons who they are 'killing off'. When you look at it, these persons have family, many of who would be hearing these rumours and may believe it is true, and they too might have medical issues, and this news could become additional problems. But this practice is growing and with social media it is getting even worse. They have killed Beres [Hammond] at least two times and a few years ago radio stations in New York were playing his music non-stop because they had received word that he died,” Campbell told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

His comments came following Monday's incident in which social media was ablaze with inaccurate information that veteran artiste Derrick Harriott had passed.

Campbell said he was thrown into a tailspin when he received the notice.

“I was in a state. My first reaction was to call Derrick, and hundreds of persons had the same impulse and so he was being flooded with calls and so when I tried I could not get through. I didn't get to speak to him for another hour and by this time he was completely disgusted with the constant phone calls. And they went to great lengths and prepared a notice with his bio and a photograph, so when I saw it looked official,” said Campbell.

“I tell members of the fraternity all the time, once you get anything like this verify before you start sharing. It prevents the spreading of inaccurate information and unnecessary distress for the persons and their friends and family,” Campbell continued.

In an interview with the Observer on Monday, Harriott said he was surprised at the rumour.

“Bwoy, mi phone jus' a ring off the hook...My God! I don't know how that came about but it come about. What am I going to do but laugh,” questioned the 81-year-old with a chuckle.

“If I had 100 phones they would all be ringing off the hook; people care and that's one thing that made mi feel good... I want people to know I'm still kicking and have no plans of leaving here soon,” he continued.

In recent times, other artistes including Dean Fraser and popular radio disc jock Barry G were victims of this rumour mill. Both persons had to take to social media to advise that they had not passed.

“This whole social media thing is making this situation worse. It can be used for good, but in this case people must realise that one inaccurate post can go viral, so they should think of the consequences should it be a rumour before deciding to share... and as a rule just verify and confirm before your share,” Campbell added.

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