Entertainment events contributed $71b to economy over four years – UWI lecturer

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Entertainment events contributed some $71 billion to the Jamaican economy between 2012 and 2016, with 1.9 million people employed in various positions.

Senior Lecturer of the University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah, made the revelation while commenting on the value and culture of dancehall, at the Jamaica Music Museum 'Grounation' series held on Sunday at the Institute of Jamaica Lecture Hall, 10-16 East Street in downtown Kingston.

She was part of a panel involving Michael Dawson, Heavy D and Professor Donna Hope that discussed a sub-theme, 'Dancehall Stardom Version 1: Crime, Justice and Punishment'.

Discussions on the sub-theme will continue on Sunday, February 24 at the same venue, beginning at 2:00 pm. It will be moderated by Coleen Douglas and will feature panellists, Cordel Green, Carlene Smith, Robin Clarke and Chris Charles.

Dr Stanley Niaah said the value of the entertainment industry came out of a United Nations study, published in March 2018, which examined the creative industries as a source of income.

The senior lecturer said an “infrastructure” is needed to promote the industry and to support young artistes.

“Entertainment provides an income for many persons; it provides jobs, but there is no infrastructure that we have put in place and that matches the kind of output that entertainment gives us,” she said.

Comparing entertainment to sport, she said there is an apparatus in place for sports, and noted that when students enter the school system “they immediately go into a house (for sports competition purposes) and are oriented to sports”.

She noted, too, that although trained music teachers are hired to teach music at primary and high schools, they are sometimes asked to teach other subjects.

'As free as we want to be: Dancehall – a Liberating Ethic', is the theme for this year's Grounation held each Sunday in the month of February. Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican popular music that began in the late 1970s.

—JIS


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