Jamaican artist Blvk H3ro has shared his concerns about Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ announcement of his administration’s plans to construct a STEAM school for Reggae and Dancehall deejays, musicians, and other visual and creative artists.
“The mixed feelings come from governments in general, using the music as a scapegoat when it’s time to dodge the real burning issues of crime and violence,” Blvk H3ro told DancehallMag. “But in the same breath turn around and use music again in a way to make themselves look good.”
“That’s a beautiful speech to say ‘we’re finally going to build a school that’s gonna teach musicians and everything,’ but is it gonna be another Edna, is it gonna be just another failed attempt, is it just another bag of words to make them look good, and then tomorrow them ban and blame who dem fi blame,” the singer continued.
Holness had made the announcement while speaking at a ground-breaking for Jamaica’s first Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Academy in Bernard Lodge St Catherine, on Tuesday, October 25.
The Prime Minister told the gathering that the institution for the arts would be constructed with the aim of empowering young people. “Yes, there will be a school dedicated to train our upcoming entertainers and deejays and musicians — our visual and creative artists — in the technical and softer points of the entertainment industry, because we believe that that is a space that we own and we can exploit for our economic and social development,” Holness said.
The It Nuh Easy deejay, whose real name is Hervin Augustus Bailey Jr., voiced his concerns about the management and operations of the proposed institution.
“Who is gonna be the head of the music school, will they be the ones now handing out the permit, who will be the teachers, who will be the head of the board, who will be the chairman, where is this money coming from? It’s just so much things,” he asked.
The Waterford native also offered his take on how the Prime Minister’s plans for the school should materialize and spoke of politics within the Jamaican music industry.
“Being a musician in the industry, I can tell you about the politics within Jamaican music. There is so much politics within the culture of Jamaica, whereas, everyone knows how it goes in the music already, people get preferential treatment, links, and these types of things. Will this affect the schooling too, will some people get better treatment because they are this, that, and so on,” Blvk H3ro continued.
“They have to put together a step-by-step plan and make this really cohesive, it has to align with the stalwarts that we trust in the business to lead it and it has to make sense. It also has to now bring about a different energy from the government, with this they have to fully include music, arts and entertainment, and culture as the main driving force of our thing,” he asserted.
Blvk H3ro, 28, is known for his songs It Nuh Easy, Thankful, The Greatest, and Cool Runnings. He is currently on tour in California and has shared the stage with Stephen Marley during a summer tour in August 2022.