EWAN Simpson, chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), is encouraging entertainment industry players to have more input in nominating their colleagues for awards.
“Part of the challenge in entertainment is the fact that those who know the history and how these things are done do not make themselves available for service, or do not seek to influence some of these things. We look on and say, 'How wi nah get none?' So people who are interested in seeing their friends, colleagues, or mentors get awarded have to do something about it,” Simpson told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
“That is something that members of the entertainment industry will be able to affect if more of us participate in what are considered mainstream organisations,” he continued.
Simpson said, while entertainment has put Jamaica on the map globally, oftentimes awards do not properly reflect this reality.
In the last two years, several respected musicians died without getting any national recognition. They include guitarist Hux Brown, drummer Mikey “Boo” Richards, and multi-instrumentalist Mikey Chung.
Simpson addressed the inconsistency when it comes to national recognition for the music industry.
“This is because the impact of the cultural and creative industries to Jamaica's history and future is not appreciated. It is also a function of the persons who form the nomination and selection cohorts to know where their values lie. In addition, there needs to be lobbying behind the scenes... to bring awareness to different fora,” he noted.
Simpson, who is an attorney-at-law and artiste manager, said JaRIA is preparing for Reggae Month in February.
“We at JaRIA have been working on Reggae Month as a team since September last year. We have been trying to flesh out ideas... I believe Jamaica should be designated the music festival central,” he said.
Simpson, who assumed chairmanship of the organisation in 2019, said among the activities to be undertaken by JaRIA during Reggae Month are Reggae Open University confabs; Reggae Wednesdays concerts and, its flagship event, the JaRIA Honour Awards.
“Our awards committee has been busy as well, identifying, voting on, and nominating awardees for this year. Whatever we do is aimed at standard-setting, education, celebration, and organisation in the entertainment industry, so every event we have is meant to bring awareness,” he said.
“We intend to ramp up our social media engagement and in doing so we'll reach the youngsters more easily. We intend to be able to present as much information as we can to members of the Jamaican entertainment industry, to lovers of Jamaican entertainment, possible investors and consumers in whatever way we can,” he added.
Formed in 2009, JaRIA is an independent, non-governmental organisation which is involved in various areas of the entertainment industry.