More than 40 women from all corners of the earth will converge on the tourism capital, Montego Bay, for the 18th staging of International Dancehall Queen 2014.
The event, slated for Saturday, August 2, was launched at Mosino Casino, in Catherine Hall by Big Head Promotions, organisers of what is now considered one of the longest running dance events in the country.
According to Brian Martin of Big Head Promotions, dancers from Caribbean countries and as far as South Africa, Slovakia, Spain, Japan, Poland, Sweden, and multiple states in the United States of America are billed to contest the one million dollars worth of prizes and the title.
“Whether the dancers win or not, it doesn’t matter to them, they are able to place it on their profiles – the fact that they represented their country on the international scene,” said Martin, who added that the concept had been adopted worldwide.
“International Dancehall Queen has been one of the vessels used to transport and showcase Jamaica’s rich culture,” Martin told the gathering, which included chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board, Kingsley Cooper.
Kingsley Cooper, chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, says the International Dancehall Queen Contest, staged in Montego Bay annually, is tailor-made for the government’s new Jamrock Summer – 90 Days, 90 Ways initiative, which is designed to boost both tourism and entertainment.
Cooper, the guest speaker at Tuesday night’s launch of the 18th renewal of the Big Head Promotions event, to be held at Pier One on August 2, says grassroots events like ‘Dancehall Queen’ are integral to the preservation of Jamaica’s culture.
“90 days of summer is designed to showcase a range of entertainment activities over the 90 days of summer,” said Cooper. “It has the capacity to boost tourism and other business-related spin-offs associated with entertainment, so ‘Dancehall Queen’ would fit perfectly into the concept.”
Commending the organiser for keeping the contest alive over so many years, Cooper spoke to the global appeal of Jamaica’s music as girls travel from all over the world annually to vie for the title.
Promoter Brian Martin, who started the contest to help expose talented inner-city dancers and has since taken it to over 40 countries, said he is not convinced that dancehall and its various spin-off activities are getting enough respect locally.
This year’s event, which will be streamed all over the world via the Internet, will see the winner walking away with a whopping J$1 million in cash and prizes. The second- and third-place finishers, as well as the winners of sectional awards, will also be handsomely rewarded.
Watch a brief coverage preview of International Dancehall Queen 2013 competition in the clip below.