Two-time Soca Monarch competition winner Jevaughn ‘JJ’ Parsons has called on organisers of the Emancipation Festival to stop sidelining local artistes, adding that photographs of local participants should be prominently displayed on posters used to advertise the event each year.
The festival is put on each year by the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee, which falls under the Ministry of Education and Culture.
“I want to call on them to treat locals a little bit better,” Parsons said.
He said internationally-acclaimed artistes are usually made prominent on the posters while local artistes are placed in a less prominent position – if placed at all.
“When you advertise, glorify your locals. I see a lot of posters out – a lot of them. You know who is on the forefront? The international acts. Of course people want to see that, yes. But I think Sistah Joyce face should be big on one of them too. I think Mac Daddy should be big on one of them too. I think Jugo should be big on one of them too. I think JJ should be big on one of them too… all the local bands,” Parsons reasoned.
He made the call early this morning after he copped his second straight Soca Monarch title at the festival village in Road Town.
Parsons noted that local participation is important to the festivities. “If we don’t come out and participate in this festival, what kind of festival it going to be? So, as a festival committee, glorify us. Put us on that stage too. Make it easier for us to help people gravitate to us. Let’s sell our brother because we have a lot to offer, and that’s what I want to see,” he continued.
“What I want for them to do is surround us with the bigger acts because, when people see you in that light, it’s easier for them to transition to you, adjust to you, accept you. [They should] say: ‘hey the big artiste here, but this guy locally could do it there with the big artiste too,” the reigning Soca Monarch said.
Posters advertising the festivities each year usually have a mix of local and international artistes prominently displayed.
However, Tortola resident Kareem Nelson-Hull and four-time Calypso champion Sistah Joyce this year raised concern that more of the local participants were not added to the festival poster.
Sistah Joyce, whose real name is Joycelyn Searles, called for her photograph to be added.
“Imagine I am the Calypso Monarch for four years straight but, because am not y’all friend or let’s say y’all have no respect for me and the Calypso art form, y’all had never put my picture on y’all poster,” she lamented recently in a social media post. Her photograph was later added prominently to an edited version of the Emancipation Festival poster.
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