Prominent Jamaican songwriter, Mikey Bennett harbors no ill will despite having his composition in honor of the island’s 50th year of Independence bumped as Jamaica’s signature song for this celebratory period.
The streets have been buzzing ever since it was announced last Friday that On A Mission, a collaborative effort spearheaded by Grammy-winning Jamaican entertainer, Shaggy was chosen as the official theme song for Jamaica 50. The song was selected over Bennett’s effort, Find The Flag which features several legendary Dancehall/Reggae acts including Marcia Griffiths, Ken Boothe, Freddie McGregor, Capleton, Mr. Vegas amongst a host of others.
Many music fans and industry observers have voiced their displeasure with On A Mission which features internationally acclaimed superstars like Damian Marley, Romain Virgo, Beres Hammond, Tifa, Agent Sasco, Alaine and many others, as they feel that the pop/contemporary Dancehall flavored track does not offer an authentic representation of the island as it celebrates its golden anniversary.
Others suggest that Find The Flag should be the Jamaica 50 theme song given its pure Reggae vibe, which the island has been universally regarded for since gaining Independence.
Bennett insists that he holds no grudge regarding Find The Flag being bumped as the Jamaica 50 theme song despite what he initially believed was a political decision.
“The problem is that while I know that this decision is a political one, I don’t want to divide the nation, especially at this time,” Bennett told the Jamaica Observer.
“My only concern is that the controversy is becoming bigger than the songs. All I want is for the songs to be played so people can dance to dem.”
Find You Flag was initially commissioned by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) while On Your Mission was commissioned by the People’s National Party (PNP), who formed the island’s new Government in January after winning last December’s general elections. Since the PNP was voted into power, both parties have accused each other of politicizing the country’s Golden Jubilee, causing Find The Flag and On A Mission to be caught in the crossfire.
Nevertheless, Bennett remains proud of his effort, revealing that the theme ‘Find The Flag in your heart and wave it’, was coined after an admonition that a friend gave to his son who had recently graduated from high school, seeking a clear path for future.
According to Bennett, Find The Flag brought out the patriotism and passion out of all 20 artistes who collaborated on the effort.
“My greatest joy was seeing the reaction of the artistes and musicians to the chorus line: The song just grew on us,” he said.
In the meantime, Bennett intimated that he will be reviewing proposals going forward from private interests who wish to use the track.
Mikey Bennett is famous for penning Rise Up, the original theme song for Jamaica’s World Cup campaign at France ’98. In repeating the buzz leading up to that tournament, Bennett is reportedly working on a theme for Jamaica’s current World Cup campaign as the Reggae Boyz aim to qualify for the 2014 edition of the tournament in Brazil.
Marc Parc: @MarcParc1
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