The popular Montego Bay event which is considered the official springboard for queens like Queen Latesha, Aneika Headtop, Tall Up, Danger and Mad Michelle is not going to be held this year. The “International Dhq Contest” that started to be an important competition in 1992, when Carlen Smith won the first queen title, became “official” in 1996, thanks to its promoter, Brian “Big Head” Martin; since that moment, the dancehall queen movement grown that much that a theme movie (based on the story of a single mother who signs to participate to the competition to hopefully win the money prize and help her family) even came out after a few. In 2002 the winner was for the first time a foreign woman: the Japanese “Junko”. Nowadays there are several dancehall queen contests all over the world and some of their prizes are the opportunity to directly participate to the final challenge in Jamaica.
Unfortunately this year it this is not going to happen, let’s see why with Trinny Cee:
Which are the reasons why this edition of the contest has been canceled and which were the reactions of the dancehall queens all around the world?
The 2016 19th Annual International Dancehall Queen was cancelled for a couple reasons. One the promoter Brian ‘Big Head’ Martin felt the crime situation in Montego Bay, Jamaica was a huge risk in regards to the turn out for the event. Who wants to put on a concert or event and have low attendance which has been the scenario over the last few years? Too many issues in the Garrison (Ghetto). Also another note, the title sponsorship has been null and void, lacking or minimal for the last 4 years. There has been no major sponsorship of International Dancehall Queen and or very many annual events in and around Jamaica. The financial risk is great! We could not afford to bear again this year. The Jamaica government needs to recognize the incredible amount of resources Dancehall brings to Jamaica and for Jamaica and start supporting these efforts especially for promoters that have been hosting events in Jamaica for nearly 2 decades.
Do you think that the IDC can be considered as an important professional step for the dancer who participated in the previous editions?
Yes I believe and well organized contest can be extremely valuable to a dancer's career. Key word is well organized. There are several contests/competitions out here that are not official, this in turn they end up being a JOKE TING and horrible experience for the fans and of course dancers. Dancers need to do their research on what they are participating in and ensure it’s reputable. Then they need to prepare! They need to ensure they have a great music selection, outfits and a fabulous smile! Don’t give up if you participated in a JANKY Promoters event! I am always here to support and give advice on whom or what is credible event or opportunity! If a dancer is serious in furthering their career, I would also suggest they travel and participate in recognized events and competition across their state, province, country and the world! There are so many opportunities out there! I would also say add attending if not participating in the International Dancehall Queen to your “MUST TO DO LIST”!
Do you think it could have changed their lives somehow?
Any contest or competition can be a game changer unless the individual is a poor sport! Many of the contests we endorse are game changers meaning the contestants make new friends and grow their networks. They increase their knowledge of dance and their skills. Hopefully their reputations have a gain and they receive a new passion for the craft, new fans, supporters and social media followers. It's a lifetime goal for many dancers to reach Jamaica and participate in the Annual International Dancehall Queen competition. I know every year I work and support this event there are life changing movements as a promoter and event manager. I have made some many connects and Friends for life I am forever grateful!
Which are the skills that a dancer is supposed to have to win?
- This Genre of music allows the contestant to perform the various styles of dance known and appreciated in different countries globally. They should use various mixes of music and be culturally diverse.
- Be intentional with your dance moves
- Apply interpretive dance techniques
- Practice, practice, practice!
- Create a choreography
- Don’t just freestyle
- Ensure your outfits are outstanding
- Be creative
- Be daring
- Be bold
- Be honest with yourself
- BE safe! don't do dance moves that can injure yourself and or others!
- Be humble and gracious
- Listen to the critique and feedback from the judges!
- Be strong
- Be royal! Remember you were born a Queen!
How is this contest structured and what has changed comparing it to the old editions?
If you are participating in an Officially Endorsed Dancehall Queen, we suggest the promoter follow specific rules and regulations in sync with International Dancehall Queen. It is not a must, but it sets a standard. We encourage the promoter to be intentional with their marketing. Be strategic with graphics. Seek out sponsorships! We have several guidelines we suggest they follow so their reputation stays credible. What has changed in regards to the International Dancehall Queen Standards and rules are not a whole lot! For the most part we have kept the freedom of expression the same! Of course the Dancehall music has become more internationally known and there can be a pressure to ensure you perform the correct dance moves, but I think that’s with any genre of music. One thing Big Head has continued to do is being intentional with his messaging. He wants both the promoter and the dancer to succeed! If it wasn’t for him I would not have stayed a current resource in this Dancehall community! He educates all with his knowledge and experiences! What has truly evolved is we have grown as an organization. We have become very strategic in our messaging and our brand. We have become aware of the fans wants and needs as well as the dancers. We could not have done that without the dancer’s involvement and of course our fans!!! Thank you.
What is your opinion about the global diffusion of the dhq contests?
Dancehall is Global! FACT! I will never discredit a dancer for using moves from another culture or using music from a different genre of music. If we start discrediting dancers, we lose self! Dancehall Queens are the life of the party! Dancehall Queens are Global! FACT! We MUST allow all disciplines of dance theories to be displayed otherwise we take away opportunity! Dancehall is a fusion of several different beats and styles of moves that come from Africa, Brazil, Japan, Europe, Canada and even as far as Australia.
Do you think it is something good thing or a bad thing for the Jamaican dancehall scene?
I believe culturally diverse people, dance moves, travelers, music, trends; artists are all great for the Jamaican Dancehall Scene. The Jamaica government agencies need to recognize how valuable dancehall has become and cherish that! Dancehall has exploded all over the world! If they take a more intentional look at what is occurring and start investing in the small businesses based in
Jamaica that teach dancehall to all and invest in our culture, things will be amazing for all! In my ten years involvement with International Dancehall Queen and being a Dancehall Reggae Promoter I have encountered so many fusions of people, it’s indescribable! It has been such an honor to collaborate with many all over the globe! I value those relationships The main focus of my work is to bring attention to Jamaica and the Caribbean! We want to continue to support the craft markets, the mom and pop shops, the people who have nothing but music and dance to live for!
Is the 2016 edition going to be done within the year or we are supposed to wait for 2017? Which is the message that you would like to spread through the IDC?