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Sierra Leone News: Ministry of Youth Affairs engage musicians

The Ministry of Youth Affairs on Tuesday 30 October 2018, engaged musicians, producers, DJs, and other stakeholders across the country in a consultative meeting to revive the entertainment industry and performing arts. The meeting attracted musicians like Jimmy B, Emerson Bockarie, Wahid and many other celebrities from different parts of the country. Shedding light on the importance of music, the Minister of Youth Affairs, Mohamed O Bangura related how a Sierra Leonean Music titled “One day me time go kam” inspired him to continue striving when he was a poor student in college. That song he said, gave him so much courage to keep fighting the good fight. He said it is possible to rebrand the entertainment industry and that president Bio’s New Direction is very determined to revive the entertainment industry. “Music derives economic value whilst performing arts is a very important contributor to social cohesion and nation-building,” said Deputy Minister of Youths Affairs. He said music and performing art is a very important sector, and if managed well, can generate revenue for the government, provide jobs for the youths and market the country’s tourism to investors. Music is a powerful means of connecting people. It bridges language and cultural divides and it is a vehicle for national identity. “In Sierra Leone, those who were in front of the entertainment industry contributed to destroy it to satisfy their political god fathers,” the deputy minister maintained. He said those who are politicians should be allowed to play politics and those who are actors to act educative movies and those who are musicians to sing for the growth of the industry. He called on DJs to be playing Sierra Leonean music in clubs, bars and wedding ceremonies and as well as hotels to be displaying Sierra Leonean artefact and cultural dress instead of things made in China or Ghana. A committee was set up during the meeting to help re-organise the industry. The committee is composed of key players in the Sierra Leone Entertainment Industry among which are: Lydia Samai, known as Star Zee, Aruna Wahid Dumbuya (T man Wahid), AbuBakrr Kamara, pastor Aiah Momoh, Emmanuel Rogers (Foryoh), Abu Bakarr Turay (Kabakah). The committee is to help the government resolve the challenges faced by the entertainment industry. Julius Spencer, a seasoned figure in Sierra Leone’s entertainment industry, advised the entertainers to be creative and see themselves more of a creative people rather than just entertainers. Spencer said the right thing should be done in order to develop the industry. “Artiste should be paid for their music and the entertainers should learn about their work. There should be a Commission for arts and culture,” he said. Some of the challenges faced by the industry are piracy, no enforcement of Copyright law, lack of policies for the protection of entertainers in the industry, disunity among the entertainers themselves and poor support from the country. Emmerson Bockarie, of Sugar entertainment, noted that the country is aware of most of the challenges the industry is facing and that they should hugely participate in amending the challenges instead of discussing the challenges over and over again. Jimmy B, the god father for Sierra Leone Music, admonished the artistes to leave politics out of the entertainment industry. He said the industry had once tried to revive during the APC regime but nothing good came out of it. He said artiste should see music as business and use it to develop themselves. He added that artistes should respect those who promote their work.

By Mohamed Cedric Kamara (Intern)

Wednesday October 31, 2018.

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