What role Jamaican music plays in the viability of Red Stripe Beer?


Lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr Clinton Hutton, has challenged economists and researchers to discover the extent to which modern Jamaican music has been responsible for the viability of local brews such as Red Stripe Beer.

Dr Hutton, who was speaking at the launch for Tribute to the Greats, called for a thorough examination to be done on the role of the music in relation to the Jamaican economy.

(At left) recipients of the 2009 Tribute to the Greats Awards displaying their plaques as awards promoter Kingsley ‘King Omar’ Goodison (fourth from left, looks on. From left: Winston Riley, Keith Lyn, Charles ‘Charlie Organaire’ Cameron, Winston ‘Wee Pow’ Powell, Victor Chin, Paul Higgs (receiving the award on behalf of his late father Joe Higgs) and the Observer’s entertainment writer Basil ‘Ras Bas’ Walters. (Photo: Jermaine Barnaby)

“Have we ever asked what this music has done for the viability of Red Stripe Beer?” Dr Clinton questioned.

“These are some of the things that our economists and other researchers need to look for. Would Red Stripe Beer make it to where it is today were it not for the dancehall that developed all over Jamaica fuelled by the sound system,” he further asked before adding, “one of the things that we certainly need to look at, is how this music help in the viability of individual products in this country. And if we look at the nights we have danced in the 1950s and 1960s until now, how many bottles of Red Stripe Beers were sold. Red Stripe Beer is our iconic beer, but we cannot say for sure that it is just because it was good. Without the people in the first place loving it, then it would not be where it is today.”

The music awards show and dance, staged annually by King Omar Promotions and dubbed Tribute to the Greats 12, was held recently at Curphey Place, Swallowfield Road, Kingston.
For the past 12 years, the Kingsley Goodison outfit has sought to recognise unsung heroes in the music industry who are involved in a wide range of endeavours – from stage performers to show and dance promoters, sound system operators among other contributors to the development of the music.

“The format of Tribute to the Greats is different from other awards organisations in the music industry in two important ways,” Dr Hutton observed. “One, it focuses on the formative years and the creative development of Jamaican popular music. Two, it focuses on all the job discriptions on which the industry rest. Tribute to the Greats reflects the different component parts of the agencies of the music industry. The different sets of people with different skills, different inspirations who came together to make the music industry.”
Placing Tribute to the Greats in a historical context, the well-known musicologist and author stressed how the birth of the music industry gave rise to many types of jobs.

“The music industry could not have been made by one set of people alone or one skill alone. There are different skills doing different things. And in essence the birth of the music industry gave rise to many types of jobs, many types of professions. We really must understand this, because this music came out of the bowels of ordinary Jamaicans. Out of people who emerged after slavery, many of those persons used to work on their own account . persons who in fact during that time named themselves ‘Own Account’. People who were self-made in their education, in their economic pursuits and who were quite successful,” Dr Hutton declared.

Jamaica Observer


One Response

  1. the music industry would always be a thriving industry specially these days where we listen to a lot of music “,*

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