It’s a uniting moment for the Caribbean.
A forthcoming benefit concert featuring some of the biggest names in reggae, dancehall, and soca is slated for Nov. 22 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Caribbean Love Now Jamathon is hoping to raise money and awareness for countries in the Caribbean hardest hit by last month’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The concert will be an opportunity for artists to show solidarity, but most importantly bring the dwindling attention back to the region for much needed aid, said the concert organizer.
“In the face of global warming, what happened in Barbuda and particularly Dominica, is indeed something to think about and the consequences,” said Joe Bogdanovich, a Jamaica-based investor.
“I feel fortunate to be in Jamaica where the storm didn’t hit us, but at the same time we have to lookout for our brothers and sisters and vice versa — you have to do something.”
In turn, Bogdanovich decided to reach out to various companies and corporations to mobilize the country to get behind a benefit concert, aimed at raising money and goods for hurricane. Some of them include Hardware & Lumber, H&L Rapid True Value, Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records, RJR Communications Group, Jamaica Tourism Board, and many more.
After seeing destruction in Dominica first-hand, he says the island is facing a lot of challenges that will make rebuilding a huge struggle.
“Their recovery might take a decade. Tourism will come back, but they don’t have a big superpower to help them,” said Bogdanovich. “People’s lives have been turned upside down, especially in Dominica and Anguilla. They need us now — they have no water, electricity is scattered, and housing, schools, and hospitals are gone and disease will be next, so we need to get busy.”
The Jamathon is one of those ways to give back. It will be shown on television channels across the Caribbean, and is going to be streamed online to millions. With Caribbean music being one of the biggest cultural exports in the region, organizing the concert is one example for notable names to display and draw support, added Bogdanovich.
“We got a good response for music fraternity — music is stepping up as a force and I really hope tourists see just how good folks can be,” he said. “These are major artists that have sympathy for their neighbors, and they’re giving their appreciation.”
The concert’s lineup includes Assassin, Beenie Man, Bunji Garlin, Bunny Wailer, Christopher Martin, D-major, Devin Di Dakta, Etana, Fay-ann Lyons, Freddie Mcgregor, Jah Cure, Jesse Royal, Raging Fyah, Richie Spice, Romain Virgo, Sizzla, Stephen Mcgregor, Third World, Mr. Vegas, Dean Fraser, and will be hosted by Tommy Cowan. More artists are expected to join the concert as additions are made, according to Bogdanovich.
Bogdanovich is hoping to raise $100,000 locally from sales, and more from digital subscribers who stream the show. He adds that this concert will be a chance to use music to unite and show camaraderie in the region.
“This is a good look for Jamaica and a big look at what we can do as a Caribbean people,” he said. “We are turning a negative situation into a positive one and we are able to show who we are as a Caribbean people, as Jamaicans, and how to spread Caribbean love now.”