- Dubbed, ‘LIVE UP I Like Muhself Caribbean Radio Song Contest’, the project sought to contribute to the improvement of sexual and reproductive health in general.
- In particular, the project promoted the reduction in the transmission rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the Caribbean region.
- The competition, which was launched on June 18 and ended August 28, was open to non-professionals, aged 18 to 24.
Jamaica has emerged the winner of a regional radio song contest from among 14 countries, highlighting messages of combating HIV/AIDs infection and stigma across the Caribbean.
Dubbed, ‘LIVE UP I Like Muhself Caribbean Radio Song Contest’, the project sought to contribute to the improvement of sexual and reproductive health in general, and in particular, to reduction in the transmission rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the Caribbean region.
Jamaica not only copped the first prize, but also placed second and fourth in the competition. The top five recipients were presented with their prizes at an awards ceremony, held at Cari-Med Distributors headquarters in Kingston on Wednesday, October 23.
A team from the Jamaica Youth Theatre, comprising Danar Royal, Akeem Mignott, Samantha-Rae McLean and Shola Collins placed first with their song, ‘Wi Love Wiself’. The group walked away with the top prize of US$2,500.
In second place, copping the prize of US$ 2,000, was Sanjay Thompson’s song, ‘SanJ: Love, Protect, Respect Myself’; and in the third spot was Haiti’s Asanim with her song, ‘ABA’. She won US$1,000.
Expressing his concern for the youth, aged 15 to 24, who are most at risk, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said he is pleased the competition engaged this cohort, which is very important in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The Minister said that while considerable efforts have been made in reversing the spread of HIV in the Caribbean, much more has to be done, as according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS(UNAIDS), the disease is now the leading cause of death among adults in the Caribbean region, aged 15 to 44 years.
He noted further that stigma and discrimination, especially homophobia, have been identified as major contributors to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region.
“Clearly there is significant work to be accomplished in eliminating stigma and discrimination, in particular. Overturning deeply entrenched biases and strongly held views is a major challenge which we must overcome with a sense of urgency. We have to provide consistent leadership and a voice for those who cannot do so themselves,” he said.
The winning song has been professionally re-recorded and a music video will be produced for broadcast on all Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CBMP) 112 member stations in 24 Caribbean countries, free of cost. The winning video will be officially released on World AIDS Day, December 1.
Vincenzo Crawford of Jamaica with his song, ‘HIV and AIDS Policy’, followed by St. Lucia’s Nicole Jeanelle Bowers’ with her song ‘Reality’ rounded out the top five placements.
The competition, which was launched on June 18 and ended August 28, was open to non-professionals, aged 18 to 24. Entrants were required to produce and submit songs using social media platform, Youtube.
It was organised by the CBMP and Population Services International Caribbean (PSI/C), supported by Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) and the German Government.
Participating countries were Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.