Members of Just For Peace International, Keron Rowe (seated), and from left: Rutino, Logical and Dan Kabal. – Contributed
By Curtis Campbell—
Spanish Town-based peace initiative outfit Just For Peace International, has been making progress in parish capital’s inner-city communities through the idea of using entertainment.
According to Keron Rowe, the entertainment manager of Just For Peace International, talent from the inner city is joining the movement. The members, he says, have been positively impacting others through clean and uplifting music.
“For the past six years we have been promoting peace, love, unity, reconciliation and discipline in schools,” said Rowe.
The 45 members of Just For Peace International were drawn from communities like De la Vega City, March Pen Road, Rivoli and St John’s Road.
According to Rowe, the majority of the members are between ages 16 and 25 and have an interest in music and facilitating positive change through cultural expression.
There are other elements to the entertainment members of Just For Peace International can provide, as the organisation also has dancers like Dancy Dancy Squad, Revolution Dancers, Colour Code Dancers, Clock Work Dancers, and Most Wanted Dancers among its numbers.
There are also deejays like Deegan, Rutino, Logical and K. Sling, as well as singers O-Frass and gospel artist CMJ.
The crop of young entertainers has performed at more than a dozen high schools including St Jago, Dinthill Technical, Glengoffe, Charlemont, Anchovy, Cambridge and Porus high schools.
The performances at each institution are geared toward promoting discipline via clean dancehall and reggae content. Talented students from the high schools visited are also given the opportunity to showcase their talent, provided that their lyrics are clean and uplifting.
“This helps with the development of the entertainers and some of them have begun to record professionally already. We also have History Man who performs as a guest artist on our school tours,” Rowe told The Sunday Gleaner.
Several corporate entities have also joined forces with the peace initiative in order to make their goals more accessible.
Some of those companies are Tastee Ltd, Maxfield Bakery, Caribbean Broilers, National Bakery, Creamy Ice Cream, Wisynco, and Woolworth, Spanish Town.
Just For Peace International also received a commendation from Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and congratulations from Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington.
The manager believes it is obvious to others that the initiative tackles a serious problem which affects Jamaica’s development and, therefore, wants to play a role in eliminating crime from the island’s communities.
“Sponsors are ready to come onboard because it’s a non-profit organisation and many youths are being transformed into positive role models. Music is very influential in Jamaica, every child in Jamaica can sing a Kartel song, even the slack ones, and some of the youth we work with did perform gun lyrics in the past. But we have successfully shown them that they can still get exposure through doing positive music and consciousness. This is why our number has grown to 45 because they are realising that positive music can lead to successful careers,” he said.
The entertainment manager is also asking the Government to contribute to the development and socialisation of Jamaica’s youth.
Rowe is also asking that men in the communities pay more attention to the upbringing of their children. He says the youth are lacking positive influences from the men in the society.
“There are not a lot of organisations like us and I would like to see the Government doing more because the crime rate is going high because the youth are being misguided. We need more male role models, the youth mostly speak highly of their mothers, but never of the fathers,” said Rowe.
Ian Boyne’s article
Talk show host Ian Boyne also lauded Just For Peace International in an article commenting on the disabling values and attitudes of popular culture due to the influence of music.
“The Just For Peace initiative in Spanish Town should be replicated in all the hotspots in Jamaica. Those of us who want to see a dancehall baptism must do everything to support these initiatives,” Boyne’s article read.