Beenie Man says both himself and Bounty Killer are ready to perform for their fans in the United States.
Beenie Man and Bounty Killer thrilled over a half a million Instagram fans last Saturday when they performed together for the first-ever Verzuz battle to take place in Jamaica. Not only did it showcase the significant entertainment value of dancehall and reggae music, but it also showed just how much the world is craving what the veterans have to offer. While speaking to The Jamaican Star, Beenie Man confessed that he would very much appreciate venturing onto US soil to mesmerize audiences as he once did.
“We coulda go all 50 states and represent dancehall again. Me wah sold-out Madison Square Garden again, me wah go LA go lock it dung again, and me sure Bounty wah do the same,” he mentioned.
Sadly, a handful of Jamaican acts such as Tommy Lee Sparta, Popcaan, Sizzla, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer are barred from entering the US. The three veterans, Sizzla, Bounty, and Beenie, had their visas revoked nearly 10 years ago and have been unable to regain travel documents even after numerous attempts. Last Saturday’s scintillating show as now reignited public outcry for the grounding of the island’s legends, with fellow dancehall artiste Shaggy leading the charge. Shaggy has since called on the US Embassy in Jamaica, the officer of The Prime Minister and the Minister of Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, The Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange MP, CD, to lend a helping hand in restoring their access to the North American territory.
While the government has not formally responded to the Shaggy, The Jamaica Federation of Musicians and Affiliated Unions (JFMAU) and the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) expressed to The Star that they are unable to effect any positive change in the case of Visas. “Consular services are totally controlled by the foreign embassy’s rules/protocols,” mentioned Rory Frankson of the JFMAU.
Ewan Simpson of the JaRIA mentioned that ” it is usually difficult to intervene especially because the reason for the revocation is not normally given.”
Nonetheless, both Bounty Killer and Beenie Man have expressed just how fulfilling it would be to be able to travel again.
“That would be great. I shouldn’t have lost the visa in the first place. I don’t know what the reason was but America is America … If dem decide say yuh cannot go, there’s nothing much you can do about it. If dem (US Embassy) feel it in mind that we deserve to get it back, me woulda appreciate it,” Beenie Man said.
“When an artiste cannot go to and fro to spread the word, earn a money, and greet his fans, it naturally a guh slow up his career. A star cannot shine in his house, and Jamaica is like my house, and I need to go outside in the world,” mentioned The Warlord during a 2018 interview.
Many critics have categorized the 90s and early 2000s as one of the greatest periods in Jamaica’s musical history. Beenie Man sees the love for the period as a reflection of the effort entertainers put into their craft back then.
“Our era in music, a it foreign still a sing enuh, a it dem still a listen to,” Beenie Man said. “People cover Zim Zimma thousands of time so yuh mus understand say foreign nuh really move from we yet. Dem still deh a di ’90s music and I think that is because of our love for the music and the work ethic. People see and feel our passion for the music from dem time deh till now.”
The “Romie” deejay stated how easier it is for artistes in this day and age, mentioning that “yuh never have nuh Instagram and so yuh did affi do the hard groundwork to make who you are today.”
“Nowadays a man can inna him bathroom, make a album and him a di biggest thing inna di world, and so the music a nuh the same. The work did have more love and more feeling and more meaning, and that’s why the music lasts,” – said Beenie.
“When a man do the music wid love and put in all him effort, it different from when a man dweet because him want a car or him wah build a house,” he concluded.
The tremendous support for last Saturday’s Verzuz battle has led organizers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz to cook up what could be another high energy battle between Ding Dong and Elephant Man.