I’m often slapped with the phrase “Don’t judge!” when I criticize Jamaica. Then the fast to follow “Don’t bad mind!” – Both blanket expressions which also mean, let’s brush this ugly business under the rug.
For example, I am swift to criticize the praise/non-accountability bestowed on; Yet another entertainer in jail; Jamaican media over hyping the Marley’s when their record sales are pitiful. Film makers, whose films don’t reap a dime but their egos stomp victoriously bigger than Spielberg. And endless ‘award/competitions’ events in Yaad that seem to only offer opportunity and revenue for the folks that run them.
Is Jamaica in a floss-bubble? Where is the measure stick to garner praise? And how has the ability to critic what is real merit be so juxtaposition with the rest of the business world?
The fear to question what is success is bombarded by flames of distain -How dare you have the audacity to say the King has no clothes! It is not that I don’t applaud the entertainers/the Marley’s/the film directors and those trying to make opportunities in creative business, I do. Very much so. But I don’t feel Jamaica holds them to any of the same standards as we do internationally. This is important now more than ever, since now we are on a virtual business platform.
Take for example film makers. I’ve yet to see a recent Jamaican film that has rolled out theatrically (outside of JA).Nor been screened at a non-diaspora event. The P&L (profit and loss) statements seem to be lost. Yet the first thing any DVD, VOD, theatrical or TV distributor would judge/applaud success on would be by a P&L period. So, what is this glorification/success lauded onto these people/this market for? For effort? Surly then we are applauding vanity projects not business ventures?
Or what about the endless ‘awards’ that happen in Jamaica – From blog awards to poster competitions. Lovely positive initiatives but what is the real purpose, the revenue and traction that anyone who enters would seriously get. They seem to line the pockets and the egos of those that instigate them but borderline exploit the people/content they cull from to ride that crest of the wave. These are the questions would be asked in the States or UK about credible business opportunities why then are they not asked in Jamaica? Again are these business ventures or vanity entertainments?
Opportunity is seriously lacking in Jamaica and everyone wants to champion ‘one of their own’. So there is the feeding frenzy when someone stands up with an initiative to be giddy and fawn before real business questions are asked and before the merit is judged on standard that are widely accepted. Currently the standard in Jamaican media/business/creative industries seems to be quite different than USA and Europe. Why is this acceptable that Jamaicans not raise bar but are so swift to applaud. Surly as the workplace becomes virtual Jamaica could potentially reap fiscal rewards. Countries like Czech Rep or India have, poor nations who have forgotten their ego but set their standards in line with international business.
As a parent we cheer on our children and shower them with praise but woe betide the precocious child who is loaded with attention and rewards who can ‘do no wrong’. It turns into the ugly child debilitated and alienated only a mother can love.
I don’t ‘bad mind’ but I do think it’s time to judge if Jamaica is to be seen as credible presence in the international business market. Otherwise, I’m afraid it might end up being standards that only mother-Jamaica will love.
Jane Nina Buchanan, Owner stooshpr.com. Originally from Liverpool, England she started her career as producer and presenter of the SONY award winning show “Streetlife” on the BBC. From radio she moved on to television with seasons as Entertainment Producer for the network Granada TV show,”This Morning” and later “Jameson Tonight” on Sky TV. Headhunted from Sky TV by Sir Bob Geldof and Lord Waheed Alli company at 25yrs old, she was appointed the position of US Producer for Planet 24 Productions. Based out of NYC she coordinated and produced all US strands for the controversial show “The Word” and later, Channel 4’s “The Big Breakfast”. When Planet 24 relocated to LA to produce the successful “Survivor” reality show, Jane decided to make NYC her home and continues to live and work in the media. She has held staff positions at New Video Group/Docurama (Home Video arm of A&E/The History Channel), Disney Theatrical (Lion King,, Mary Poppins and Phil Collins’ Tarzan) Maxim Magazine/Dennis Publishing, and Bad Boy Entertainment with Sean P.Diddy Combs.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jamaicans.com