All of the favourite elements of the traditional Rebel Salute festivities were presented, as expected: the Herb Curb will return, for example, for the education and enjoyment of sacramental marijuana use and awareness. Representatives from the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF), Courts furniture, Enterprise car rentals, and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport were in attendance to share well wishes, outline festival protocol, and share words of inspiration to attendees and virtual supporters watching online.
I had the pleasure of attending Rebel Salute earlier this year, and my physical presence in Jamaica and within arm's reach of the most powerful forces in reggae music made an extreme impact on my year's lens and my musical appetite. As a Jamaican descendant, it spoke to my soul and history on spiritual levels that are almost indescribable.
Now that another year has passed by and it's time for the festival again, I instantly felt that familiar sense of pride and anticipation knowing that this amazing event was just weeks away, and that reggae lovers and music lovers around the world would soon be in the midst of that positive energy and beautiful composition of sounds.
The live media launch experience online is appreciated, because supporters like me all the way up in Toronto still get to feel a part of the production process. We get to hear the news, the guest speakers, and the lineup unveiled in real time. We get to witness the excitement on the faces of Tony Rebel and Queen Ifrica, and invest in the festival as if it was our own.
Tony Rebel was a fitting, comfortable, and authentic host for the evening, controlling the night's pace and visibly excited at the sounds of the Riddim 2000 band and the accompanying vocalists for the night. His love for reggae music is evident and it makes the festival feel like a true presentation of passion. He is the perfect host, and the perfect ambassador for this movement, now entering its 27th year under his expert leadership. He proudly stated: "We participate in the preservation of this music."
It was awesome to hear performances from Queen Omega, from Imeru Tafari, Mortimer, Miss Chee, Heavyweight Rockaz, Stevie Pace, George Nooks, Mikey Spice and Singing Melody, and of course Tony and Ifrica blessed the microphone as well.
the 20% discount that would be applied to car rentals leading up to Rebel Salute, and continuing through Reggae Month 2020.
The Minister of Tourism Donovan White quoted from a study of music festivals, and the impact they have on host destinations. In respect to Brand Jamaica, he noted the effect of Rebel Salute's presence on tourism, and contributing overall to generating a positive image of Jamaica as a destination, along with the loyalty to the festival itself.
At the festival, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport will be hosting a booth for Reparations (based on the upcoming docu-film that will celebrate the International Decade for People of African Descent) as well as to energize young people to action. She credited the festival as being "the world's most outstanding roots and culture festival" that specifically spoke to the music conscious folks, globally.
Drummond & Squillace law firm, was passionate in his address to musicians and supporters of Rebel Salute, expressing his gratitude for Jamaica and admiration of the billion dollar worldwide reggae music industry. He urged individuals to take careful heed to the performance, protection, and preservation of reggae music. Notably so, his firm has recently been involved in the defence of reggae artist Flourgon in his copyright infringement case against pop artist Miley Cyrus for use of his lyrics.
With words of advice for those in the music industry, Drummond urged artists to ensure that they were legally protected, and surrounded themselves with the right team including managers, accountant, business folk, public relations experts, and legal assistance. He counselled that artists should seek mentorship from leaders like Tony Rebel, and learn the backstory and from their experiences in addition to tradition guidance.
Significantly, he spoke with love about Jamaica, the teachings of his grandmother, the discipline of his community members, and the soul of the island that formed and nurtured and moulded his values from a young age before moving to the United States. He asked listeners and attendees to value Jamaica, Jamaican culture, and to harness the special power and influence contained in the island.
The much anticipated lineup of artists announced included: Lady G, I-Wayne, Singing Melody, Beenie Man, Leroy Sibbles, Sugar Roy, a special hour of comedy from Johnny, Carl Malcolm, Lone Rangers, Michigan, a dance performance from Chi Ching Ching, Queen Ifrica, Flourgon, Sanchez, and returning Ugandan artist Bobi Wine. Many were anticipating the announcement of Buju Banton, but I imagine that will be a treat saved for later release, if it is going to be a feature of the show...and at this point, it only makes sense!
Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.