Spice adds voice to debate

By Aaliyah Cunningham, Jamaica Observer

Dancehall entertainer Spice says the current enforcement of the Noise Abatement Act is a negative blow against dancehall culture and its economic spin-offs.

“The Noise Abatement Act is a fight against its own culture. It is definitely a fight against dancehall. I believe that dancehall definitely needs more time,” she said.

Spice was speaking to the Jamaica Observer following her performance at Campari Pop Style grand finale held at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew, last Saturday night. Scheduled to end at 2:00 am, lawmen gave the show a 15-minute allowance for its completion.

“The 9-to-5 people of Jamaica, they get the entire time from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and there are pharmacies that open at 10:00 am and other businesses that people go to from morning to afternoon. As such, you can’t expect them to go to work and come back, and have a little night life within two hours. That’s impossible,” she reasoned.

The Noise Abatement Act stipulates that outdoor entertainment events must conclude by 12:00 am on weekdays and by 2:00 am on the weekends. Several high-profile dances were affected this year by the Act.

Arguing that those times cut into their business, dance promoters launched the ‘No Music, No Vote’ initiative during the summer and went public with their grouse.

They got the attention of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who stated that promoters must respect the law and citizens whose rest is being disturbed by high decibel levels of sound systems.

The police high command, as well as Security Minister Horace Chang and Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia Grange, held separate meetings with sound system operators and selectors.

In September, while attending the weekly Boasy Tuesdays dance in Kingston, Chang promised that government would make some concessions. He has made no follow-up statement.

“If I was a working citizen of Jamaica, it would be difficult for me to go to work at 10:00 am and then go home and get ready and party in two hours. It really is unfair to the dancehall artistes and those who love the dancehall culture,” Spice explained.

She believes that the economy also suffers from the lock-off time as it directly affects the tourism industry.

“Dancehall music attracts tourist to the island so the country can get support from the sector and it’s the dancehall entertainment that really formulates their night life and really push them to come to the island,” she said. “It’s really hard to know that they are fighting their own culture and I just hope that the government of Jamaica re-examine it. ”

Spice, who is a cast member of VH1’s Love And Hip Hop: Atlanta, has been blazing a trail for years. She recently inked a deal with Magnum Energy Drink to host a talk show called Spice It Up.

Her catalogue includes Cool It Down, So Mi Like It, Back Way, Indicator, and Conjugal Visit featuring Vybz Kartel.