Dancehall / Feature / News

Jamaica’s Entertainment Sector Eyes Full Reopening On COVID-19 Vaccine Arrival

Jamaica got its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines on Monday, and entertainment industry stakeholders are paying close attention. Artistes and entertainment industry bigwigs are already hopeful about the positive effects we could all see over the next couple of months.

The entertainment industry has been pegged back since March 2020, when Jamaica recorded its first case of Covid-19. Daily counts have now begun to strike fear into the hearts of citizens, as the country records 800 and more persons per day being infected with the virus. A cumulative total of 27,465 cases with 460 fatalities was documented on Tuesday of this week.

There have been numerous questions surrounding the recent spike in cases, with many people pointing fingers at several illegal social gatherings and events taking place across the island despite tighter curfews. While speaking to Jamaican Observer, popular Kingston-based selector Boom Boom explained that he doesn’t believe the events being held significantly contribute to the rise in numbers.

“It has nothing to do with the parties. The spike is because people are travelling. I don’t think the illegal parties have affected the Government’s decision to reopen the industry. They were just waiting on proper vaccination,” he said.

He added that he has already started to feel the positive effects of the vaccine, even before its arrival to the island earlier this week.

“It’s going to be a big turnaround. Some of the most popular shows in England will be held starting June 21st and the promoters have reached out to me for bookings. The clubs and theatres in New York open up back and promoters here in Jamaica reach out to me to book me for this summer. The vaccine reach and I think the Government was waiting on that to start free up back the place,” he told The Observer.

Other Jamaican entertainers have also voiced their support for the vaccine in hopes of getting their livelihood and careers back on track.

Bounty Killer supports fans getting COVID-19 vaccine

One of the more shocking supporters is Bounty Killer, who shared a post to his Instagram account urging fans to take the vaccine to attend his joint performance with Beenie Man in Spain later this year.

“October 1st-4th Ibiza!! Gwaan tek unuh vaccine keep the date lock een and stay up like caffeine,” Bounty wrote in the caption of his post.

Grammy award-winning Jamaican entertainer Shaggy also previously expressed that he would be taking the vaccine once it becomes available.

Two of the genre’s biggest female acts, Macka Diamond and Ce’Cile, both explained that while some were hesitant due to how quickly the vaccine had been made, it has become the only logical way forward.

“I don’t want anybody to keep telling me it is wrong but cannot explain why. If them come out with a vaccine and the world can come back, and I can get back to doing my show dem, I am good with that. Right now mi hot, and the people dem a call me,” Macka said.

“I am aware of all the concerns and I am hesitant [just] like everyone else. However, I do not have the luxury of sitting in Jamaica and sleeping while I earn. It’s been a year of sitting…If anything, this pandemic has shown me is that I need to move more aggressive than I have ever been in my life and that means a lot of travelling. Even if I didn’t have to travel, I need to make sure I’m protected. Life needs to get back to normal,” Ce’Cile told The Observer.

She added, “I simply do not have a choice, for me it makes sense. So yes, I will be taking the vaccine.”

Numerous other reggae and dancehall representatives have lashed out against their fellow entertainers who support the vaccine.

In a post seemingly aimed at Bounty Killer, fellow veteran deejay Spragga Benz wrote, “Mi see some BIG BAD Jamaican artist promoting di vaxi agenda already… either dem get a promise or dem really dunce to the program.”

The likes of Sizzla, Chronixx, Buju Banton, and Kabaka Pyramid have also spoken out against the “pandemic” and the subsequent vaccine developed to combat it.

Jamaica’s ministry of health has already begun its vaccination procedures, with former leaders of the country, Bruce Golding and PJ Patterson, stopping by their respective health centers to be vaccinated.