By: Abby Belongy
While Jamaica is known for its Reggae music, the industry does not reap the economic benefits from its popularity. Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, warns that Jamaican musicians need to start taking the business more seriously. Citing research by Dr. Carolyn Cooper, Ndombet-Assamba insists that the artists focus too much on the music and neglect the financial aspect. As another researcher, Sharma Taylor, points out, Jamaicans can capitalize more on copyright laws, but they currently either do not care enough or are not well informed. This leads to mostly foreign companies owning Reggae music rights, which hurts the industry and deprives the Jamaican economy of benefitting from one of its most popular attributes.
While the government stresses the importance of the Reggae industry, it seems to ignore the film industry all together. Workers in the film industry, as in Reggae, care greatly about their art, but they also recognize its economic importance. Over 60 major members of the industry took to the camera to vocalize their disproval of the Jamaican government in denying foreign and domestic film opportunities (see video above). The video ends with a shocking statistic: over $801 million dollars has been lost due to missed opportunities. This impedes Jamaica’s chances to strengthen connections and working relationships with other countries throughout the world.
For the Jamaican economy to truly strive, Reggae musicians need to protect their rights and the government needs to protect its film industry.