Spotlight to be shone on UK women in reggae
Donald Harper, a PhD student in the School of Management and music industry veteran, will be shining a light on a group of unsung heroes from the UK music industry by producing a film documentary as part of his PhD.
The documentary will cover reggae artists such as Carroll Thompson, Janet Kay and Lorna Gee - artists who created unforgettable sounds between the 1950s and 1980s but never received the universal recognition they deserved.
Up to a dozen artists have agreed to be part of the documentary, which has the theme of: ‘Whither Jamaica’s Music Industry? Learning from strategic failures to harness and organise a cultural resource for economic development.’
He said: “I hope to use the documentary to help develop some kind of policy for reggae music both in Jamaica and the UK, where the lover’s rock genre began. The Jamaican government recognises that reggae is something they need to support, but much of this is nothing more than rhetoric."
Harper's roots lie in the reggae music industry. The founder of Jamstar Productions, an entertainment marketing firm that has worked with some of Jamaica’s premier artists, Harper has worked across the world supporting names such as the Skatalites, Chakademus & Pliers, Diana King, Nadine Sutherland, Patra and Lady Saw.
The documentary will have a Birmingham dimension as the city’s own reggae star Yaz Alexander is helping him with research material. Damien ‘Lil D’ Morgan, the city’s well-known rapper, will produce the documentary through his video company Dynamexx Enterprise.
Harper has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for help in making the documentary and a crowd funding initiative is being planned through Buzzbnk.org. He is also hopeful that sponsors will come forward.
The first round of filming will be taking place between 18 and 19 April.