JaRIA Continues Reggae Month 2022 Activities
02/10/2022 by Press Release
JaRIA Continues February’s Reggae Month Activities
Under the theme The Diamond Edition Honoring Jamaica’s 60th Anniversary of Independence
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) is presenting a full schedule of virtual and physical activities for Reggae Month 2022. All virtual events will be streamed in their entirety on JaRIA’s YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages as well as other platforms.
Reggae Month was ushered in on Sunday January 30th [watch it here] with a service streamed live from Kingston’s Go For God Family Church featuring performances by Alicia Taylor and John Mark Wiggan. February 1 commenced the Reggae Open University series, established to inform members of the reggae fraternity, and all viewers, about current issues pertinent to the music industry. Six Reggae Open University music business focused panels, comprised of the top practitioners in their fields, presented in association with the Bob Marley Group of Companies. The topics explored throughout Reggae Open University’s initial week were (February 1) To Structure or Not to Structure…Recipes For Success [watch it here]; (February 2) Reggae in the Digital Era-Monetizing Social Platforms [watch it here] and (February 3) How Are Musicians Earning Money in a Pandemic? [watch it here] hosted, respectively, by IRIE FM personalities Khabu Ma’at Kheru, DJ Sunshine and Mutabaruka. The Reggae Open University sessions can be viewed on IRIE FM’s YouTube channel and on Tuff Gong TV.
The popular Reggae Wednesdays live concert series, created as a means of entertaining as well as educating audiences about the development of Jamaica’s music by featuring performances from artists across all of Jamaica’s indigenous genres, from ska to dancehall, also returns in a virtual format. This year’s staging, called The Diamond Edition, honors Jamaica’s Diamond Jubilee, that is, the island’s 60th anniversary of independence. Reggae Wednesdays commenced with ‘Dancehall Diamonds, Dancehall in the Streets’ on February 2 [watch it here], featuring performances by Mr. Lexx, General B., Harry Toddler, Kerry Lopez, Tracy Mowatt, and Leopard and Dance Xpressionz. ‘Diamonds on the Rocks’ took place on February 9 [watch it here] with sets by Jahlil, Tahirah Elizabeth, Althea Hewitt, Benjy Myaz, Chezidek and Lutan Fyah. On February 16, ‘An Evening with the Queens of Reggae’ will star an all female cast.
The series concludes with ‘More Precious Than Diamonds, Reggae in the Sanctuary,’ which celebrates the rich gospel tradition in reggae and will showcase several of the top gospel acts to emerge from Jamaica in the past 15 years.
JaRIA has partnered with Kingston’s Sky Gallery for Vib(e)ration, Reggae In Art Exhibition, which will be on display at the gallery February 11–26. The exhibition features work by several noted Jamaican artists including Sean Henry, Marina Burnel, Romain McNeil, Don Dadda, Jordan Mars, Kaela Sudeall, and Troydel Wallace. On February 26 the Embassy of Jamaica in Tokyo and JaRIA, in conjunction with the Jamaican Association of Australia and the Jamaicans in Japan Association present Diamond Selectionz, Celebrating 60 years of Jamaican Music Inna DJ Stylee. The time for this online event is 8pm (Japan), 10pm (Sydney, Australia) and 6am Jamaica. The renowned cast of selectors will include Arif Cooper, Delano Renaissance, DJ More Judgement, DJ Wade, Mix Magic Master, Sami T (of Japan’s Mighty Crown) and Australia based Jamaicans Stick Mareebo and Zare Demus. On February 27, JaRIA will launch their annual, much anticipated Honor Awards, which recognize the best in Jamaican music for the past year. The cocktail reception event will reveal the names of several awardees as well as nominees for Song of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year. The JaRIA Honor Awards ceremony will broadcast in April.
The Jamaican government officially declared February, observed as Black History Month in the United States, as Reggae Month on the island in 2008. Reggae icons Dennis Brown and Bob Marley are born in February. Reggae Month events are primarily organized by JaRIA and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
Formed in 2009, JaRIA is an independent, non-governmental organization involved in various areas of the entertainment industry. JaRIA’s chairman Ewan Simpson, who took the reins of the organization in 2019, says “pandemic or not, we insist on celebrating ourselves as Jamaicans and all things Jamaican entertainment. The restrictions on physical gatherings have, of course, impacted our presentations but we as the industry association are seeking to lead by example and pivot to deliver high quality programs, even on a very restrictive budget. We believe that there is an opportunity for us to package our cultural products for a larger global audience and this should continue to affect the way we stage live events when we return to that modality.”