On a night when Dancehall’s leading diva earned her rightful crown, a pair of prominent female artistes claims that they were treated like peasants by organizers of the recently concluded Reggae Sumfest stage show.
Internationally acclaimed deejays, Tifa and Stacious gave rousing sets during their appearances on Reggae Sumfest’s Dancehall Night last week Thursday. Despite the positive receptions they garnered from fans, both artistes insist that negative vibrations could be felt backstage as the highly regarded Dancehall divas have come forward with allegations of gender discrimination and prejudice following the treatment they received at Reggae Sumfest.
Tifa and Stacious recently gave interviews to TVJ’s Entertainment Report; voicing their grievances regarding Sumfest while implying that promoters of the stage show exercised bias throughout the night. Despite her high profile status and strong catalogue of hits including Matie Wine, Dash Out, Tifa was one of the first artistes on stage during Sumfest and according to the deejay, she’s done enough in her career to warrant better treatment.
Video: TVJ Entertainment Report (July 27, 2012) – featuring Tifa and Stacious
“10 o’clock I go on the stage and I feel like I’ve earned my place in Reggae/Dancehall, I’ve earned my time and my spotlight and my shine. I just feel like it was very disrespectful how dem deal wid it, like yuh haffi go pon stage now.”
Tifa pointed to Reggae Sumfest’s stage manager as the main source of these issues; insisting that he was ‘very disrespectful’ while intimating that fellow Dancehall diva, Spice also got a raw deal during Sumfest as she had been called out to perform long before her set was scheduled to begin. According to Tifa, the original running order was not followed, causing friction backstage between artistes and the aforementioned stage manager.
For Stacious, who also performed during the early stages of Dancehall Night and boasts a strong catalogue of her own, this controversy points to an even greater problem that’s long plagued the Jamaican music industry; the issue of gender and the variations in benefits that male and female artistes receive when doing stage shows.
“I think as females, we work 3,4,5 times as hard to enhance our performance: The dancing, the costumes, the backup…We don’t get the same amount of respect, we don’t get the same passes, we don’t get the same pay, not even the tent weh wi get put inna, not even water in deh,” she said.
“I think promoters in Jamaica need to realize that the females work harder than the men when it come on to stage performance. It takes more for us to be ready cah we cyaah jus’ wear a pair a jeans and a t-shirt and a hot and she ‘yeah we a floss.’ No, we haffi propa unless a bare problem di next day when di comments come out. They need to respect us just as much as the males.”
Tifa echoes this sentiment, implying that politics has hindered Dancehall’s progress in recent times while intimating that women have to exert lots more energy on stage so that music lovers can enjoy their performances.
“Give us our due shine, if we work fi it, work fi it. Doh put us on the stage like mi still a sing ‘Crawny Gyal’ and ‘Bottom of the Barrel’ like me nuh have songs., like nobody no know mi. Give us our due time,” she said.
“If a woman haffi jump and split and flip pon that stage, she a go jump and split and flip jus’ fi mek sure she you enjoy yuhself, so treat us with more respect.”
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