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Sep 12, 2013

Local artists complain that they were not featured in a new B.T.B. release: Be Belize

Belizean artists across all genres of music are tonight up in arms over a promotional video commissioned by the Belize Tourism Board, which premiered on national television on Wednesday evening.  While the video does an excellent job of showcasing Belize’s cultural diversity, it’s accompanying soundtrack, a Garifuna ballad performed by acclaimed parandero, Aurelio Martinez, has raised the ire of the artists.  Martinez, despite his popularity in the Jewel, doesn’t have Belizean birthright, and, since the idea of the production is to promote Belize as a tourist destination, the artist, it is claimed, is not befitting of the objective.  This morning, the talk show circuit was alive with reactions from a number of musicians who have taken offense to the selection.  News Five spoke with Leroy Green, a leading cultural enthusiast, who shared his objection to the choice of artist.

 

Leroy Green, Cultural Enthusiast

Leroy Green

“To be honest I am not one who usually joins in an uproar but when I heard the ad the first thing that crossed my mind when I heard the music choice was, “something is wrong here” because the ad is Be Belize.  We are promoting tourism in Belize and this is our month of national pride and national celebrations when this ad was launched and the music is not Belizean.  Something is definitely wrong there.  So I felt, to my mind the way I saw it was kind of a disrespect to our notable Belizean artists because there are quite a number of Belizean artists out there who have the quality and the stature to have been selected for an ad like that.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Do you believe that this may have been a case where there was oversight on the part of those behind the production or was this deliberate to go with the music of an established artist as opposed to someone Belizean who may be up and coming or an established Belizean artist for that matter?”

 

Leroy Green

“I wouldn’t want to guess but when you say established Belizean artist we do have established Belizean artists also.  We have Andy Palacio, we have Paul Nabor, we have two entire productions by Francis Reneau and those productions have on selections which encompass not only one ethnic group but the entire Belize.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What seems to be rather ironic is the fact that this particular production comes out of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture etc… No one seemed to have either raised an alarm and said let’s step back a bit and reconsider this song choice.  What are your opinions?”

 

Leroy Green

“My opinion is that my good friends here at NICH, they are definitely promoters of Belizean artists and all things Belizean so to my mind it’s kinda like a slap in the face for them, especially since they are part of the very same ministry.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Have you gotten any feedback or response from other artists, Belizean artists for that matter who feel slighted that they were not given an opportunity to at least be a part of this production?”

 

Leroy Green

“Yes, but I won’t call any names. I must add that not only Belizean artists, people who are not artists have talked to me about it.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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5 Responses for “Local artists complain that they were not featured in a new B.T.B. release: Be Belize”

  1. Drew says:

    What does it matter. The whole point of the ad is to entice ‘tourists’ (local and abroad). There is not a doubt in my mind that neither foreigner nor local would be able to tell who the artist is. Its only now that the Belizean artists are making a lot of noise about it, that people are offended. I am a Belizean and I had no idea who the artist in the song was and i didnt care. I was more captured by the stunning quality of the video.

  2. junito says:

    Maybe the local artist should stop complaining and start making better music.

  3. sheree says:

    I BELIEVE IT WAS A VERY NICE VIDEO AND THE MUSIC WE CAN RELATE TO

  4. Linda Martin says:

    I believe that Belizean artists and others simply want to promote Belize through Belizean made creative products and have a valid point. Perhaps NICH could open a conversation with the Ministry of Tourism so that in the future, there is a more inclusive process. Perhaps nationality or residence could be one criteria, for selection, as well as quality of sound and popularity around the world. I think Beltraide was also working on a catalog of crafts by Belizean artists, but I don’t know if it is available online – perhaps it could include music in the future. The main thing is to congratulate the Ministry and anyone promoting the arts in Belize. There is incredible talent here, just an infrastructure, particularly in the schools, that needs to grow to support the talent.

  5. Shelly Leit says:

    I know exactly how they feel… my city does this type of thing too. Pressure them to do it over with local musicians. It would make the ad better if they did and then advertised that fact too.

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