Protoje has labeled the Government of Jamaica, organizers of Reggae Month, as “dinosaurs” who ignore working trending conscious artists to the detriment of developing the music economy.
The Reggae artist also blasted the Government for not sponsoring his upcoming event, which he believes will become the biggest event in February.
“People don’t show up and you wonder why? You have to involve the youths dem or you become a dinosaur,” he told students and moderator, Dr Isis Semaj-Hall, at The University of West Indies, Mona, during Reggae Talks, an event hosted by the Department of Literatures in English last Thursday.
“Go to the people who have the culture on tap.”
Protoje indicated that neither himself nor other artistes, including Chronixx, Lila Ike or Koffee, were contacted to perform or give feedback at events during Reggae Month, which was established in 2008 by the Government as a means of honouring the contribution of music to the development of the country.
“How come nobody from Reggae Month come to a Protoje or Chronixx. We have the culture on tap. You cannot go around we, and the moment you do that and go around the youths them, like Lila Ike and Koffee, then you put yourself out of relevance,” Protoje expressed.
Protoje also disclosed his discontent with Government for its obvious failure to sponsor or support his upcoming concert “Matter of Time,” which is scheduled for later this month. Protoje explained that “over the years, his various events have garnered increased fan support with an ability to now pull more than 5,000 patrons.”
“The biggest event for Reggae Month will unquestionably be a Matter of Time Live,” said Proteje about the concert.
“It is like the money just circulating around. But don’t worry, we will do our own thing,” he continued.
According to database information analysed by The Gleaner from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG), over J$8.7 million in contracts was awarded through the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) for spending on companies involved in public relations, stage event management and Internet marketing for search engine optimisation for Reggae Month, in 2018. The details for this year’s Reggae Month are not yet uploaded to the OCG. Contrastingly, in 2011, Government was reportedly criticised for spending just $1.5 million on Reggae Month.
“They fund certain set of people. I don’t know who funds Reggae Month. I assume the Government has a role to do with it. But which event of relevance have they kept around here. A some joke thing,” Protoje said.
Since 2017, the JCDC, an agency of the Ministry of Culture and Entertainment, has taken the lead in organising most of the Reggae Month events from the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, an umbrella group for artists, according to media reports.