Hits and Jams Entertainment CEO Rawle Ferguson has dismissed statements made by the Guyanese Opposition Leader about Spice and Skillibeng being the “worst of the Dancehall music.”
According to Ferguson, the performances by the two at the recently held State-funded Cricket Carnival Super Concerts were not damaging to the moral fiber of Guyana. He added that both Spice and Skillibeng had performed in Guyana prior to the Cricket Carnival activities, so he could not fathom why “only now these statements are coming to the fore.”
Ferguson’s statements came on the heels of Opposition leader Aubrey Norton’s rubbishing of Spice and Skillibeng’s performances while suggesting Beenie Man and Buju Banton ought to have been booked instead.
Ferguson, whose Hits and Jams entity was in charge of staging the event, in partnership with CPL, the government of Guyana and the Carnival committee, stated in a release that “the Dancehall culture is widely followed and loved by many, including Guyanese.”
He also asserted that patrons at the concerts were well aware of the style of entertainment provided by Spice and Skilli, while noting that it was unfair to “blame the artistes for the overall immoral behaviour in society”.
The CEO said further that social media and the Internet were probably the biggest influencers of behaviour in society, and that is accessed by all and that the two Jamaicans have a combined Instagram following of almost five million, which “is a clear indication that their music is liked and accepted by many”.
During the Cricket Carnival, Spice and her dancers had gone full raunchy with their usual “sheet” choreography, as she performed a slew of raunchy songs such as Romantic Mood, Sheet, Ramping Shop, Tape Measure and others.
Skillibeng had performed Whap Whap, Hot, Coke, Bad Man Ting, Brik Pan Brik, Crocodile Teeth and other gun songs, as well as 2Gyal and a few other explicit tracks.
But at a weekly press conference following the event, the Opposition Leader had doubled down on his initial statements he had made days prior at a youth rally, pointing out that while his party was not against music nor concerts, it would continue to oppose the promotion of entertainment and entertainers who “promote disrespect of women, lawlessness and violence.”
Norton had said that most of the Dancehall music, was not even popular in Jamaica to begin with, while adding that the Guyanese government’s sole intention was to “reduce young people to just entertainment” with a steady diet of chaos, by way of the types of concerts it sponsors. He also said the Irfaan Ali administration had used the concerts as a means of corruption to enrichen their friends.
Norton had described Culture Minister, Charles Ramson as “visionless”, with no plans for the development of Guyanese culture and making no attempts to inject resources into developing the country’s indigenous music.
However, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Kwame McCoy had responded on Facebook, describing Norton’s statements as a “campaign of racism” aimed at undermining the president’s One Guyana Initiative.
Norton he said, was hypocritically condemning entertainment, while he could be seen “being entertained regularly, gyrating to the same kinds of music, at his favourite ‘bam-bam spot’ on Orange Walk” and had even “used the same types of music by some of the very same artistes he is now condemning” in the 2020 presidential election campaign.
In responding to Ferguson’s statements on the Guyana Chronicle’s Facebook page, many Guyanese nationals disagreed with him and sided with the Opposition Leader.
“Say what! How is it Norton degraded something. I did not see that man on stage. They did it themselves. Outright lawlessness is what it was and will always be. Besides it’s not the people it’s the performance. But we have so normalized lawlessness and vulgarity that we have a problem when people speak out against it,” Petra Ming said.
“When did Norton degraded Spice and Skillibeng????? Go and revisit Norton’s comments; and if he did not come back and admit that t you just followed someone else’s comments without proper research,” Egerton David added.
Others accused the Hits and Jams CEO of chasing the almighty dollar at all costs.
“The problem wit ppl like those in H&J is they knows not that they know not, the temptation of money is too great for them to see and think straight. They are being used to damage the African Guyanese youth’s with the culture of lawlessness something that will comeback to haunt them, their children will have to live in the same society they help to destroy. I rest my case,” Albert Morgan said.
“Vulgarity is not Guyanese culture, it is promoting violence and lawlessness,” Angela Jaskaran said, while in expressing agreement Onil Oj stated: “Yes it’s affecting young people in guyana every body want to be a gun man popping molly and the girls them going on wit a nasty behaviour”.
Others like Brian Collison said the expenditure on the concert was a poor investment.
“It’s better to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless with government money. This was a bad investment!” he declared, wjile Sharmaybne Bailey ripped into the two Jamaicans: “Spice a total disgrace to the music industry the other one fully dunce to the young generation his music bare sh*i”.
Others said Ferguson was being selective on what he commented on, as he had issued no press release when Skeng was banned by the ruling Government’s Minister of Home Affairs in June.
“Y wasn’t there a statement when skeng get ban. It was the same words spoken oh I guess because it’s coming out from a different mouth,” Delroy Gordon said.
However, there was one woman Christian Marks, who took issue with the flurry of comments castigating Ferguson.
“I’m reading these comments and each and every one of them amazes me. It clearly shows that y’all don’t know what dancehall is about. Everyone knows what was expected, this is not anything new to society,” she wrote.
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