Steve James to showcase women of reggae-dancehall at Miami exhibit
For all the progress they have made in a genre known for bravado and machismo, women continue to play second fiddle to males in dancehall-reggae. Steve James, a photographer who has covered that scene for over 25 years, gives them their due during the December 7-8 Art Basel Miami Beach event.
It will be the South Florida-based Jamaican’s second exhibit at the annual show, his debut coming in 2019. That first run saw him showing 30 snapshots of live performances, Rastafarian culture and funeral services of famous artistes.
This time, he decided to put the ladies in the forefront.
“I will be focusing on young women in reggae, sound system selectors and other artistes. For example, we will be showcasing Lila Ike, Shenseea, Spice, Koffee and several others,” James told Observer Online.
On opening day, the Montego Bay native will share exhibit space with David Muir, Roy Sweetland, Ranking Levy and Ellen G, and Jik Reuben during the Let There Be Reggae segment. That slot has been a popular draw at Art Basel Miami Beach for several years.
James mainly covers the reggae beat for German website, reggaeville.com, one of the music’s leading platforms. Selecting assignments and dealing with reluctant artistes can be challenging, but those are not the most difficult aspects of his job.
“Taking the pics is in some way the easy part but storing, archiving, editing, and adding metadata is really important to me. You will find that some people rush to get their photos out there on social media during the event or right after. For me, nothing can be published until everything is in place, that way if I have any image out in the public domain that is in question or improperly used, the correct measures can be taken to address it,” James explained.