Bounty Killer’s inclusion of a free concert being held in recognition of International Women’s Day 2017, has sparked an outcry from a civil group as well as members of the public.
They believe that the Dancehall artiste’s inclusion for such event is in bad taste.
The concert, which is dubbed under the theme ‘Unite to End Gender Based Violence,’ is being held by the Bureau of Gender of Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, in partnership with the Aids Healthcare Foundation,
The public outcry is based on an incident that occurred seven years ago. In September 2010, Bounty Killer, whose real name is Rodney Pryce, was arrested after a female companion of his turned up at a police station bleeding and reported that he had assaulted her. The incident reportedly took place at his Oakland Apartments residence in St Andrew.
Earlier that year, Bounty Killer reportedly spent two weeks behind bars after being arrested by the Constant Spring police for beating up his girlfriend. While in the presence of police, the veteran deejay reportedly called the woman and threatened her life. However, the complainant, eventually dropped the charges against Killer.
Now, Executive Director at WE-Change and Director of Tambourine Army, Latoya Nugent believes that for Bounty Killer to perform at such event, it is a slap in the face of women especially in light of everything that has been happening since December 2016.
“Almost every day (since December) we wake up to a story about a woman being murdered, rape etcetera and I think what is perhaps the most heart-breaking part of it for me is that it is a concert that is planned by the ministry with responsibility for gender affairs,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
“So when the ministry with responsibility for gender affairs is engaging somebody who is a known perpetrator of gender-based violence (GBV) or violence against women, then I think that’s very problematic and I am still in shock about the processes that would have been involved in organizing this concert,” Nugent lamented.
Nugent indicated that since people have begun voicing their opinions about the poster and the line-up for the concert, suggestions are being made that some of the other artistes on the poster are also perpetrators of GBV. However, they have not been publicly named.
“I recall reading a post for example where someone said that she hopes that the reason they are on the poster/line-up is that they plan to acknowledge that they have been perpetrators of GBV,” Nugent said.
“She was hoping that they would publicly apologize and was awaiting her own apology, which was suggesting that there was somebody else on the line-up she knew of personally who is a perpetrator of GBV,” she added.
“I am very disappointed with the minister because the story about Bounty Killa was all over the news several years ago. I honestly don’t know what she (Olivia “Babsy” Grange) was thinking or what the ministry was thinking when they decided that it would have been a grand idea to have Bounty Killa on the show,” Nugent further added.
Nugent told the publication that as the ministry with responsibility for gender more care has to be taken when the decision is made to undertake initiatives in addressing and eliminating (GBV).
“In my own opinion, I think it was an act of carelessness, negligence as well as a total disregard for the number of survivors out there and even a disregard for some of the work that the ministry would have done in the past to address and eliminate violence against women,” Nugent said.
“I am confused about the ministry’s intention because on the one hand a couple weeks ago they announced that they would be constructing two shelters for survivors of domestic violence and then a couple weeks later they are booking perpetrators of GBV for a concert that is supposed to unite brothers, and unite people around the elimination of GBV, so it’s very problematic on all fronts”, she contends.
Nugent recommended that the ministry either cancels the concert or adjust the line-up to ensure that there are no abusers or perpetrators on the show.
“I think if they are not willing to select one of those options I believe that civil society and people, in general, need to wake up and respond to the ministry’s action because it is very disrespectful and I think they need to respond to GBV in a more compassionate manner,” Nugent voiced.
The free concert is slated for March 8 at the Emancipation Park in New Kingston and will see acts such as Marcia Griffiths, Etana, Queen Ifrica, Judy Mowatt, Taurus Riley, Toney Rebel, and Ruff Kutt among many others.