“Reggae is undeniably … a pivotal tool to promote Jamaica … globally.” This sentiment generally felt is the main reason for anticipating a major crowd at the 19th staging of Pepsi Rebel Salute 2012 planned for Port Kaiser Sports Club, St Elizabeth for Saturday January 14. At the recent event’s launch on January 3, at the Wyndham, New Kingston, it was voiced by Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA’s ) Charles Campbell , who gave the first address to the gathering.
Linking the nation’s 50th anniversary celebration of Independence, Tony Rebel at the end engaged the audience in a mind game of figures – a choice addition or subtraction as he boasted “Me and Jamaica a dih same year and me love it.” Anxious to have the audience indulge in his planned surprise, he said, “I will be two score plus 10 or 60 minus 50” promising a special package for nation’s 50th anniversary of Independence.
Although Jamaica turns 50 officially on August 6, the launch’s speakers leading up to Tony Rebel’s playful address endorsed the upcoming event as an ideal package to start the official Jubilee celebrations.
Pepsi Rebel Salute 2012 is being promoted to be an event of style.
Vibes Queen Lady Renee, emcee for the night reiterated that the event is “all about healthy, clean, living”. At his turn, the Ministry of Tourism’s Sydney Bartlett added that the event was dubbed one with the least security issues as confirmed by Mandeville Police Station Representative Senior Superintendent James Forbes later on in the evening. Bartlett spoke for the Jamaica 50 secretariat in endorsing the event as one to reflect on Jamaica’s culture and contribute to the building of the nation. On the other hand Forbes gave high commendation to the discipline upheld yearly at the event requiring little input from the police force.
Representatives of sponsoring companies were well appreciated, especially during the address by JaRIA’s Charles Campbell. “I would like to see projects like Rebel Salute being treated more even-handedly,” he however said. He further did not hold back criticism of companies who used reggae in international advertising campaigns, but gave little financial backing to such wholesome family events promoting Jamaica’s culture through it’s music.
The existing sponsors had their turn to detail and reiterate reasons for their commitment to the annual event. Well spoken endorsements came from Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), Grizzly’s Entertainment, the Jamaica 50 Secretariat, JAMPRO, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Grace Foods and Services.
After 18 years, Rebel Salute, according to Robert Bryan of Grizzly’s Entertainment Limited, qualifies to receive the utmost support from the public-sector agencies. “Outside of Reggae Sunsplash, there is no other event that packages the music of Jamaica, the culture of Jamaica, in a way that results in a net return to Jamaica,” he said. He upheld Rebel Salute as one best expression of a ‘Brand Jamaica’ product.”
Carlo Redwood of main sponsoring company Pepsi said “There is no better time to celebrate unity”
A 300 per cent increase in sponsorship by The Jamaica Tourist Board was pointed out by Jason Hall for the “truly iconic Jamaican festival… a model for community tourism, and powerful showcase of Jamaica’s music”
University Director, Institute for Gender Studies Professor Verene Shepherd was a fitting guest speaker. Her address was the historical context of Jamaica’s music forms especially reggae and calypso as repositories of history. She then named a few artistes and songs usually used in her classroom to discuss particular topics/experiences in teaching through Jamaica’s musical history.
Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Etana are representatives for classism and justice; Tarrus Riley and Queen Ifrica for gender; Anthony B for reparation, Shadow and Burning Spear for colonialism and Tony Rebel for responsibility to youth education.
Shepherd said, is “you remind us that tribal politics has no place in our country and we should bun it down before it bun us down”.
Pepsi Rebel Salute 2012, is labeled as the “single, largest one-night paid event on the Jamaican calendar, contrary to the boasts of others”. However, there is need to improve sponsorship from both the private and public sectors.
At the end, Tony Rebel, although playful was well focused in cluing about the anticipated and well planned package as much as he warned against committing wrongs of commission or omission when it comes to leading the youth. “A Jamaica wih she, and is one Jamaica”
“Jamaica is the mecca of the thing [Reggae music]” he said and also “If we mek it, nobody should do it better. “The time has come for us to defend our music”, he promoted as he spoke of his observations on the impact of reggae worldwide.
Referring to recent general elections he said “On the 14th we want to see the green and the orange come together and we have a wonderful celebration, and know is Jamaica we say and is one Jamaica.”
He gave quick introduction on each performer slated. For the first time since 1996, Johnny Osbourne will be in Jamaica explained Barrett amidst snippets and teasers on the artistes.
Identifying Maxi Priest as a son of St Elizabeth, he also promised The Marley experience by Stephen Marley. Capleton he said would bring musical fire and in the remaining line up he listed Salute stalwarts his son Tarrus Riley and Queen Ifrica. Others included Luciano, Yami Bolo, Johnny Clarke, General Trees, Errol Dunkley, Gramps Morgan, Romain Virgo, Louie Culture, Cali P and Stream.
“When last you see him, apart from being a coach?” Rebel asked about Admiral Bailey as one of the ones he poked fun at. He gave a brief report on European performances by Max Romeo his witness of Duane Stephenson in the Eastern Caribbean.
Bands who had opportunity to showcase their talent were Raging Fyah who according to Rebel “ is a force to reckon with… doing things that reggae world is looking for” and C-Sharp who was powerful with their version of Book of Rules. Artistes for the evening who laced the speeches with previews of energetic performances included Jah9, Jah Cutta, Edi Fitzroy, Iba Mahr and the trumpetblower and vocalist Pessoa.
The launch was hosted by Lady Renee, one of the MCs for the festival, along with Jenny Jenny.
The festival will be streamed on www.rebelsaluteprod.com.