A Genuine Interest
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GUYANESE artistes, from time immemorial, have taken a back seat to regional and international entertainers who have headlined almost every local show, while the local boys and girls are relegated to opening acts that arguably have minimal impacts on their careers and motivation.

There is no doubt that the performances of international and regional artistes are appreciated, enjoyed and anticipated, but it becomes a fundamental problem when local artistes don’t enjoy the same comfort of having a platform upon which they could grow and advance to new levels of their careers.

Very few Guyanese artistes have the privilege of saying that they were able to make it to the peak of their careers, where their music is on every radio station, their schedules are booked for shows at home and abroad, and their talent brings in incomes that could sustain a comfortable lifestyle.

The successes of persons like Saint Jhn, Eddy Grant, Natural Black, Sol Raye, Terry Gajraj, and a few others, for instance, are due to the resources of foreign countries on which they were able to capitalise.

So, for Jackie Jaxx, Poonam Singh, Drew Thoven, cKush, Vicadi Singh, Tony Cuttz, and the many other existing and upcoming artistes to benefit adequately from their talents, there needs to be a solid foundation which encompasses investments, legislative adjustments and a greater appreciation for culture.

Thankfully for those persons, President, Dr Irfaan Ali and his People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration have demonstrated a keen and genuine interest in taking the entertainment industry to new heights.

Through targeted and innovative initiatives such as the use of its hosting of the play-off matches and final of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to introduce Cricket Carnival, the government has been creating a platform for artistes and entertainers to market themselves, gain exposure, earn more and be encouraged to consistently produce quality content.

One of the many aspects of the Cricket Carnival activities, the One Guyana Concert, particularly served as a springboard for local artistes who had the opportunity to perform in front of a massive crowd of locals and foreigners at the National Stadium.

In a move to supplement the motivation those entertainers drew from those ecstatic activities, President Ali announced, on Monday, that the government will double the earnings the artistes made from participating in the One Guyana Concert.

“We had 89 local artistes on the One Guyana stage; 89 local artistes. The cost of the production was borne completely by the government; we brought in the corporate sponsors to get them to sponsor tickets. Every single cent in revenue — $6.9 million — went to those 89 artistes, ranging from between $100,000 to $300,000, as promised,” Dr Ali said, noting that the government will provide the equivalent of $6.9 million.

This follows an announcement in June this year that the government would be expending $9 million on studio time for Guyanese artistes to record their music. The plan was to cover studio time costs for the 12 months at three local studios, in order to allow musicians to record their music at no charge to themselves.

There are also plans to construct state-owned studios to afford local musicians the space to explore their craft in a more magnified way.

At State House on Monday, President Ali said: “I want to say to you that we continue to be your partner in your own development; in the development of our culture, the development of your talents, and the promotion of “One Guyana” as a destination that is not only diverse, by people and culture, but is rich in talent, and ready to explode on the international stage.

“I wanted to tell you today how very proud I am of Guyanese talent; our talent might still be raw and fresh in many ways, but we never, and will never lack the capacity and capability to make it on any stage. And I intend to invest in the talent that we have, to make it regional and global.”

There is no doubt that the country’s entertainment industry has a far way to go, but what is evident though is that there is a genuine interest in advancing development across all areas of entertainment.


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