Virtual entertainment rocking the west COVID-19 style
With a slew of new artistes, including the phenomenal ‘6ixes’, bursting on to the local entertainment scene in recent years, 2020 was expected to provide a ‘clear vision’ that western Jamaica is the new epicentre for musical talent. However, with the likes of Teejay, Daddy One, and Tommy Lee all bubbling and ready to run the road, along came COVID-19, and suddenly, the ‘clear vision’ has become blurred, putting many flourishing careers on pause.
However, thanks to some of the region’s exceptional creative talent, including the cadre of deejays from YM Family Entertainment, led by top-shelf selector Crazy Neil, the lenses have been cleaned up, unveiling rich, virtual, creative juices, which have transformed the region into party central.
This novel mode of entertainment, which sees the dazzling deejays going crazy online with their pulsating musical selections, has been attracting thousands of patrons, who tune in daily to dance around the COVID-19 threat from the safety of their homes.
Guided by time schedules that are recited just like the curfew times dictated by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the rapidly expanding number of patrons have become willing victims of the virtual entertainment pandemic, which has been infecting dining rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens, driving up viewership daily.
When The Gleaner spoke to Shevon Green, the managing director of the YM Family, who has four DJs operating out of his stable, he noted that while business is down in the ‘real world’, the online parties are proving to be a fantastic platform to keep the fire burning.
“Online parties have allowed us to still be relevant in the entertainment world while keeping our followers happy,” said Green, noting that staying relevant is critical in determining how long or successful a career a DJ will have. “With increased viewership and participation online, it will make the transition easy when the pandemic ends.”
Neil ‘Crazy Neil’ Barnes, arguably one of the more popular faces in western Jamaica’s entertainment, said that COVID-19 has dealt a major blow to traditional entertainment, but thanks to the virtual platform, he is able to stay afloat.
“The business is basically non-existent at the moment; however, I am grateful I am still making some money from events like birthday parties online and money pull-ups for followers,” said Crazy Neil, who admitted that he has accumulated a massive increase in viewership and participants since going the online route. “I also do mixtapes and upload them online.”
Although music lovers have access to the online parties, a few of them have been breaching the Ministry of Health and Wellness protocol and throwing parties in their communities, much to the chagrin of Green and his team.
“Persons should comply and follow the simple protocols put in place by the Government to keep us safe. The more we disobey, the more devastating it will be for all of us, which will result in a longer lockdown period,” said Green.
Crazy Neil said those persons who fear that staying indoors for too long may cause panic and anxiety attacks, should remember that the entire world is going through the pandemic.
“They ought not to feel alone. We all have to make the sacrifice if we want this to end sooner, so comply with the Government so that it won’t make it harder and longer for them to control the virus,” urged Crazy Neil.
YM Family Entertainment can be heard online on Fridays on their Instagram page, @flarcoyment, between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., and Crazy Neil plays live @djcrazyneil on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.