By Secret Agent
The local entertainment scene was jolted again yesterday, with news that local alcohol giant Red Stripe has pulled its sponsorship from all live music events.
The company feels that the music at these events has become too negative and too violent for its brand to become associated with.
The company broke the news in a statement yesterday. It said it has pulled sponsorship because of a worrying and negative trend of glorifying violence which has crept into some of the music in recent years.
The two most immediate and large concerts that will feel this blow are annual staples on the Reggae and Dancehall calendar; Reggae Sumfest, which has enjoyed title sponsorship from Red Stripe for years, and Sting, which also benefits from one of the company’s brands.
The company noted that the move was also in response to concerns that have been expressed about this trend by Jamaicans at home and abroad.
According to Red Stripe, the violence described in the music has far-reaching and damaging implications for the industry and for the country as a whole. The company said that it will not be party to this, and as a result has made a difficult decision to withdraw sponsorship from live music events.
It hopes that this would cause those in the business to stop and take stock of the negative impact of their actions on the society and seek to make a change.
This is not the first attempt by the beer company to curb the content and direction of local music. A few years ago it was aligned with another group of companies called the Coalition of Corporate Sponsors. This group decided to blacklist certain artistes they considered inappropriate to sponsor, and any event they were scheduled to perform.
But this coalition fell apart shortly after being formed, as other sponsors not aligned to them, quickly grabbed the opportunity to associate themselves with the stars of the music, and with the huge concerts where these artistes performed.
Dancehall and Reggae have become known and described as resistance music, which grows even stronger under oppression. Will more sponsors join this list?
Or will others simply come on board and fill that space that has now been created?