Ewan Simpson returns as JaRIA chairman

The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) has appointed its board of directors for the 2021-2023 term, with Ewan Simpson, attorney-at-law and musician, being returned for a second term as chairman.

JaRIA has as its mandate to unite and further the common interests of all individuals, institutions, organisations, and firms directly and indirectly involved in music and the music industry in Jamaica.

It also pledges to promote and provide opportunities for the continued development of members by facilitating access to networking, education, training, and capacity building.

With the world still in the midst of a pandemic and the entertainment sector on lockdown, JaRIA’s mandate to facilitate access to information about all possible financial support and opportunities available within the public and private sectors locally and overseas for members is now top of the table.

Simpson told The Gleaner that the organisation is wasting no time to give members the tools they need.

“We are moving quickly to engage more entertainment industry players with training and educational opportunities to allow them to be able to be more creative and efficient in their earning capabilities in the global environment. The organisation is also becoming more agile in its ability to communicate with the sector and on behalf of our members,” Simpson said.

He also says that somewhere at the top of the list is a membership drive.

“We are about to roll out a membership drive including a membership card which will allow members to access critical services as well as discounts,” he added.

Quizzed if JaRIA should be held responsible in any way for the lack of collective lobbying for the reopening of entertainment and if the organisation could have done more, Simpson did not prevaricate. “We cannot divorce ourselves from some of the blame in this regard, and we are doing our best to change this immediately. The nature of the industry is a bit fragmented, and we are trying to organise to pull it together for more effective lobbying,” the JaRIA chairman pledged.

With regard to what seems to be JaRIA’s pet project, the annual Reggae Month celebration, Simpson stated that everything is on track.

“We also intend to deliver on the promised installation of Reggae Wednesdays and Reggae Open University series as well as our meetings and updates to the membership as per our amended by-laws,” he said

Amendments to the by-laws of JaRIA were also taken and voted on by the membership present during the association’s annual general meeting while updates on the organisation’s completed activities and future plans were unveiled.

The new JaRIA Board, the association said in a release, is “a perfect mix of youth and experience” as it features several returning directors as well as veteran industry players and emerging industry professionals joining the board for the first time.

Everol ‘StingWray’ Wray, veteran brass man, will serve as deputy chairman, and Phillip Clarke, artiste manager and businessman, is now director of finance. June Isaacs, event producer and businesswoman, who formerly held the position of director of finance, is the new director of marketing. Shaejahnae Osbourne, a young creative industry professional, will serve as youth representative, while violinist and music instructor Kamoy Gordon will serve as musician’s representative.

Internationally renowned music producer and saxophonist Dean Fraser has been appointed producer’s representative, while emerging recording artiste Jo Benee ‘Joby Jay’ Morris is the artiste’s representative.

Long-standing members Mary Isaacs, businesswoman and performing artiste, as well as Junior Lincoln, a founding member and businessman, has been returned as directors from the floor. The new board also appointed Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper, another established member and past chairman, as a legacy member.

“With the new board in effect, the association has commenced preparation for the annual JaRIA Honour Awards, which was delayed due to measures implemented to protect the production team and participants from the COVID-19 virus,” the release stated.

The association says it is now focused on increasing its presence throughout the year and will be executing several entertainment and educational initiatives through its revitalised committees, which boast a diverse, but complementary blend of music-entertainment practitioners based locally and overseas.


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