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No 'Stripes' For Sumfest - The Music Has Become Too Violent and Negative

By Secret Agent Writer

redstripe_reggaesumfest.jpgThe local entertainment scene was jolted again yesterday, with news that local alcohol giant Red Stripe has pulled its sponsorship from all live music events.

The company feels that the music at these events has become too negative and too violent for its brand to become associated with.

The company broke the news in a statement yesterday. It said it has pulled sponsorship because of a worrying and negative trend of glorifying violence which has crept into some of the music in recent years.

The two most immediate and large concerts that will feel this blow are annual staples on the Reggae and Dancehall calendar; Reggae Sumfest, which has enjoyed title sponsorship from Red Stripe for years, and Sting, which also benefits from one of the company’s brands.

The company noted that the move was also in response to concerns that have been expressed about this trend by Jamaicans at home and abroad.

According to Red Stripe, the violence described in the music has far-reaching and damaging implications for the industry and for the country as a whole. The company said that it will not be party to this, and as a result has made a difficult decision to withdraw sponsorship from live music events.

It hopes that this would cause those in the business to stop and take stock of the negative impact of their actions on the society and seek to make a change.

This is not the first attempt by the beer company to curb the content and direction of local music. A few years ago it was aligned with another group of companies called the Coalition of Corporate Sponsors. This group decided to blacklist certain artistes they considered inappropriate to sponsor, and any event they were scheduled to perform.

But this coalition fell apart shortly after being formed, as other sponsors not aligned to them, quickly grabbed the opportunity to associate themselves with the stars of the music, and with the huge concerts where these artistes performed.

Dancehall and Reggae have become known and described as resistance music, which grows even stronger under oppression. Will more sponsors join this list?

Or will others simply come on board and fill that space that has now been created?


Comments (25)


So Damn True:
Posted by So Damn True | April 5, 2008 2:37 PM

i was watching ER on tvj last night and Ian Boyne made a good point the program, as he said nothing is wrong with the artistes singing about violence that are happening in their communities but the he personally has a problem with the music when the artistes them get up every day and glorify violence, Ian I am with a 100%

Posted by davie | April 5, 2008 2:52 PM

I agreed that the music is getting out of hand but red stripe should not let the good suffer for the bad, allthey had to do is ban the ones who sing violent songs

Posted by tricha | April 5, 2008 3:51 PM

music gone to the dawgs as them buss them turn bad man, it's such a pitty to see that the good of to suffer for them slack artiste and violent prone

Michi Boo:
Posted by Michi Boo | April 5, 2008 4:26 PM

that's so true tricha all they had to do is just sey look yah man the artistes them that sing those kind of songs we don't want them on the show

A Dis Mi A Seh:
Posted by A Dis Mi A Seh | April 5, 2008 5:27 PM

Alrite so you seh Red Stripe shouldn't mek the good suffer fi di bad. That cyan work because you can't predict when an when ah artiste seh dem nah go do x from when dem a go do x. Dem seh before hand dem nah go do x and dem either [a] when dem a perform an nutten nah gwan fi dem dem start tell di audience all who seh '#2%$*man and @#$bian' fi get g*nsh*t hand inna the air and/or [b] when dem nah get nuh proper response dem start pure violent thing [not metaphorical ting, real explicit ting]. Mek wi see how di rest a corporate Jamaica respond. You can seh u a go ban consumption of Red Stripe Prod but is nuff brand under dem Diageo headed company and artiste love encourage people fi bun weed and drink alcohol inna dem song too. Is full time the artiste deal wid other topics and get creative with their lyrics. Most ah dem jus damn boring and frankly there is too much violence inna the dancehall lyrics nowadays, you cyan even dance to dem it jus mek u tense inna di dance.

Posted by emeral | April 6, 2008 3:16 AM

stop selling red stripe in Jamaica the country have too much violence

feel good:
Posted by feel good | April 6, 2008 11:44 AM

Congratulations to Red Stripe, you are showing leadership. Now won't the rest of corporate Jamaica join the fight and take this further by boycotting radio shows that have heavy rotation of these degenerate garbage music and reward only those who play "good music." Enough with criminality and rude yute, ole dawg, gallis and don man. It's time to restore good vibrations, with a proliferation of new tunes done in the vein of "Nah Lef Yah" by Josey Wales, "You Can Get It If You Really Want" by Jimmy Cliff and "Kingston Town" by Lord Creator (covered by UB40). Time to feel good again.

Posted by E.A.Wright | April 6, 2008 4:14 PM

Red Stripe has an ulterior motives it is not the violence in music per say it is the gay bashing, i can guarantee that. Violence in reggae music has been around for years and they never do anything about it. They continue to sponsor their events, but because they are trying to get Red Stripe into the world especially America where the fagot community (b*tty boys) are more powerful they are trying to appease them. These white boys who are running D&G don't care sh*t about the violence in Jamaica or Violence the care about their profit line and pleasing the affluent fagot community. The all believe that we black people are stupid, but only time will tell. Wake up black people. They don't care sh*t about the violence in Jamaica. Fagots are their focal point. It is all about the money.

Posted by T | April 6, 2008 5:24 PM

I just drank my last Red Stripe. I say boycott Red Stripe.

Refuse to buy it or sell it at stage shows.

DID YOU HEAR WHAT THEY SAID? They said they will make their products available wherever fans want them. That means they will continue to MAKE MONEY from dances where people get shot and sing about shooting, but they dont want to SPEND MONEY on these people.

They want to profit but they dont want to sponsor? HYPOCRITS. Bun Dem.

Posted by Stunner | April 6, 2008 8:55 PM

I agree with Red Stripe on this move in an attempt to cleanup the industry. Quite frankly these DJ artistes need to cleanup their act, whether they want to or not, they are role models. Therefore, they need to be mindful that their lyrics do influence the behaviour of some listeners. We need to see more sponsors follow suit!

Posted by MrsYFA | April 6, 2008 9:30 PM

I find it funny that they will stop sponsoring the shows but yet they'll keep taking profits from the shows by selling alcohol violence the real motive here or pressure to maintain a certain image by corporate leadership??? Just a question.

Posted by desroy | April 7, 2008 12:51 AM

most of red stripe products are consumed at stage shows & dances. Promoters & artistes need to UNITE BOYCOTT RED STRIPE. They need you more than you need them.

Posted by T | April 7, 2008 1:59 AM

You cannot STOP violence in this country by withdrawing economic support. Hungry people KILL PEOPLE. Thats a fact.

You cannot DESTROY people food and call that positive. Positive people ADD to life...Only ignorant, bad-mind and arrogant people pretend that you can have success by attacking ghetto people music and culture. That is who red stripe tek sides with... some badmind people who never like dancehall in the first place.

HYPOCRITS. If is so dem a gwan, Red Stripe NOT WORTH MY PISS.

Posted by BEEF SOUP | April 7, 2008 3:49 AM


Posted by emeral | April 7, 2008 4:42 AM

double standard if they can't sponsor why sell in the same violent country.

kk from philly:
Posted by kk from philly | April 7, 2008 12:30 PM

I say BOYCOT REDSTRIPE, trust me it is not so much the violence that they are against it is the homophobic music, because every country have its laws but yet still is as if every one wants to tell Jamaicans what to accept or not, violence has always been around, Sting was known as a clash show, ghetto people show. Jamaican promoters need to stop buying redstripe to sell at there events and lets see what they will do, sell only liquor from companies that support you, no sell no redstripe a dance no more since them against dance and make the b**y man dem support dem. BOYCOT REDSTRIPE, everybody want dictate dancehall music, one time uptown people no go dance, now them want lick out on the music BOYCOT REDSTRIPE

Posted by G_girl | April 7, 2008 12:56 PM

I agree with the fact that the music now has the tendency to glorify the violence rather than to paint a portrait of what's happening in society.

I commend Red Stripe on taking a stance against such acts but in the same breath question their motives.

This may just be a means of conserving money while still milking the Jamaican market. I mean they will still be collecting profit from the sale of their products at these same events serviced by Artists spewing the violent music but not spending anything to be apart of the event as in previous years.

vansan from grenada:
Posted by vansan from grenada | April 7, 2008 1:01 PM

no sponsor no red stripe i cant understand how u cannot sponsor a violent music event but u can sent ALCOHOl which when over consumed make people violent and u want to sell it at the same stage shows...i love dancehall music i listen to the rhythum and dance i dont hear the lyrics i hate alcohol it make people violent so what does it says redstipe u need to stop sell alcoholic drinks ; but u would say u have an age limit its for adult well give adult a chance to decide which music to listen to.
and if u listen carefully 90% of movies are violent and other music too

Posted by Pookie | April 7, 2008 1:26 PM

We all know dancehall music has become very violent,and yes it might have a little to do with crime.But you people are acting as if the crime rate in the country was not high before the music.Its music and should not be taken literally.People drink a lot and get drunk then do stupid things like drive and start fights so i would say both the music and redstripe have a hand in violents.

Posted by jenny | April 7, 2008 3:56 PM


Posted by kippo | April 7, 2008 4:33 PM

f%ck red stripe wi fi stop f%ck buy it and den dem affi nyam dem words str8888888888888 a wi run this nu dem it says free speech ok so let wi talk y we should shur up cause the c.e.o a batt-boy and him friends dem ? so cause wi a say the rear end kings dem fi dead a boy nu want wi talk we not going down str8888888

Posted by boma | April 7, 2008 6:52 PM

well i think some body else will sponsor it guenness Appleton or somebody. ano di violence dem a fight a true nuff a dem a fish!!!

Posted by cross | April 8, 2008 12:57 AM

There was a time when dancehall didn't have sponsors, and as the industry grow these company became interested, the way out for these artist is to know the history of dancehall and pin point where it is coming from, if these companies are to withdraw there sponsor, then what will they get out of it if the these shows still go on. If artist work together they will come out with more than what is right now, violent music is all over the world not just here in Jamaica, never surrender.

Posted by Educated! | April 8, 2008 2:26 PM

Great move for red-stripe!!! The music is really getting out of hand....there is a difference between music that talks about violence in a community and music telling you that "we murder people inna broad day light" We need to get this type of music back underground...this is quickly becoming the face of Jamaica's music. Bob Marleys legacy us dimming compared to a fresh new Movado or Vybz Kartel who influence the culture to a great extent. Does anyone notice that they are running a competition for who can DJ the most graphic It is because of them why it is inevitable for an upcoming artiste to resort to "badness" in their music. THERE IS SOMETHING FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG WITH SONGS THAT SAY THINGS "TENTH STAGE A EVIL A NUH NUTTTIN FI WI MURDER PPL" Come on people..without being religious you have to realize when wrong is wrong! For those who say well why don't they stop selling red-stripe at the show? Why should they? Everyone has choices in life! They have put it out there that "hey we are boycotting this bullsh*t" so if you are so offended don't buy it then! They are business people! come the f*ck on man get real. Those who oppose me i guarantee that you all are slaves to the music! Ignorant to the fact that Jamaica is slowly creeping back way! We have a lot to be proud of! BADNESS shouldn't be on that list! BUN BADNESS!!! FREE UP!

The ille$t.:
Posted by The ille$t. | April 10, 2008 3:40 PM

I say if they don't want to sponsor then they should reframe from selling their products at the events... "Thye music has becaome too violent and negative"? The music has just evolved... The same things the DJ sing about, is the same things that they show growing up or still see now... It is happening all around Jamaica, so if they don't like it... STOP SELLING REDSTRIPE in Jamaica, one of the biggest consumers they have... They're just worrying about their money... B*tty boys dem. ah gunshot fi dem.

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