October 31, 2023
ROXELLE “Glamm” McKenzie, co-director of Dancehall Lifestyle, said the implementation of an official Dancehall Week in February 2024 is aimed at rebutting the negative stereotypes associated with the genre.
“Our organising team recognised that there are a lot of negative stereotypes surrounding dancehall, and we have persons on board who are a part of the dancehall industry, so we decided to come forward to see how we can put it together. We always hear about reggae and dancehall but reggae is the more positive side of it. We want dancehall to be highlighted as a positive. We said: ‘Hey, let’s have a week-long [period] of activities [and] see if we can get the endorsement of the respective ministries to have this as part of reggae month,” she told the Jamaica Observer at the media launch held at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston in Thursday.
The week which kicks off on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 and will culminate on February 19, 2024, following a week filled with activities that are being endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports and the Ministry of Tourism.
“On Tuesday we’ll have Fashion Roadblock where you dress up in your boujee dancehall wear and you come out…we’ll be on the road having some fun. On the Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday, we start it with Morning Bliss, which is a red and white Valentine’s Day event. On the 15th, which is the Thursday, we leave that slot open for promoters — we’re still inviting promoters to come on board,” McKenzie said.
She added, “On Friday we’ll have our Old School Graduation — uniform style — and then on the Saturday we cool things down a bit before our street parade [on Sunday] with our Dancehall Sound Clash. Sunday is our major event with our street parade where[in] our costumes from local designers will be on the road…On the Monday we fully cool things down with our Yacht Chill, and we go all the way out to Maiden Cay.”
The co-director further explained that there is a clear blueprint for the week of celebrations, with support from the different stakeholders.
“The first thing you need is support from the respective ministries, agencies, the police, the entertainment body, and the dancehall fraternity. Remember, too, the persons from the dancehall industry, the negative stigma follows them and we don’t want that anymore,” she said.
Meanwhile, executive director for Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Lenford Salmon highlighted that the entertainment industry should be given more credit.
“People come [to] Sting, people come [to] Reggae Sumfest and it’s branded as tourism…but it’s entertainment tourism. People come to Test cricket and CPL at Sabina Park and what it gets branded as? Tourism! But it’s sports tourism. The contribution, though not captured in statistics all the time, is right there and is indisputable,” he told journalists at Thursday’s launch.
“We believe that this is another good addition — Dancehall Week, which will start in 2024. So, from the JCDC, from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, it has our full endorsement.”
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