Why not support our own?

There is something awfully sad about the entertainment industry in Guyana. Some people even argue that this industry is non-existent but we do have one; though skewed, it is very present in society.

Sure we have an industry. Look at all of the productions by the Theatre Company, Gems, Hits and Jams, Pulse Entertainment and a few others that promote the year-round parties, clubs, concerts, plays and so on. All of these make money and money drives the industry. But what makes this industry depressing is the lack of support it sometimes receives from those for whom it provides a service.

For the purposes of this column, let’s leave out Jamzone (which is a huge deal) and the clubs that we go to religiously. Let us turn our eyes to pageantry, drama, dance and music, which make up this entertainment industry.

20130720cultureThe recent Miss Guyana Universe Pageant had such a depressing conclusion. The reaction of the audience was uncalled for. Sure disappointment can be expressed, but why should we slander someone’s name? And how could we turn our backs on the person who is out there representing all of us?

One must also pay heed to the Guyana National School of Theatre Arts and Drama. Congratulations to the graduating class: Teneka Caldeira, Mark Luke-Edwards, Lisa Adams, Natasha Azeez, Nirmala Narine, Melinda Primo-Solomon, Mikel Andrews, Keron Bruce, Latoya Kellman, Nikose Layne, Marissa Primo and Rae Wiltshire. But it seems almost sad that from the 18 who first signed up in January only 12 made it to the end.

It has me sitting here thinking what is next for the graduates of the National Drama School. Where does their future lie?

Our National Dance Company and the National School of Dance, which trains children and youth free of cost to such a high standard that they are always in demand and lauded wherever they go, do not receive the requisite support. They have long outgrown the tiny benabs in the National Park they operate from, but the authorities seem not to care. Their annual shows are not well attended, not even by the parents and relatives of the beneficiaries.

Then what about local music concerts? We don’t have those at the stadium – always some featured international artiste. I was taken aback last year when Damien Marley was featured at the independence concert. Sure he is a great artiste but is he Guyanese? No. Our Guyanese brothers and sisters should be supported on stage just as how Trinidadians, Jamaicans and Barbadians go crazy over their very own.

We desperately need an industry where Guyanese will support our own at international pageants, competitions and games. We need an industry where the graduates of the drama school and our excellent young dancers will be sought after for their autographs and will be given lucrative advertisement contracts, rather than advertisers using generic photographs culled from the internet for free.

In such an industry, we will go head over heels for Eddy Grant, Timeka Marshall, Lisa Punch, Tennecia DeFreitas, Charmaine Blackman, Collage, Mystic, Eddie Neblett, Jumo Primo and others because they are all our very own!

Come on Guyana! Where does your allegiance lie? It is time we stop this foreign mindedness we are notorious for. We need to find our Guyanese identity. We

need to support and broadcast our own. We need to regard the fate of our brothers and sisters, build each other and pull each other up.

If we can do this, if we can build and nurture this pride in what is our own, it will surely spread to other sectors of society. Can’t you see it? If we love and support each other so much we will also love our environment. We will stop the littering and start cleaning up after ourselves. And maybe, just maybe, the love will also spread to politicians who will come to see that by not following through on their promises they are disappointing the people who look up to them. (Jairo Rodrigues)

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