This is not a win for me personally… it is a win for all Jamaica.” That is how Grammy-winning reggae artiste Buju Banton is viewing his latest accolade, having walked away the winner of the 2020 Jamaica Festival Song Competition on Sunday for his entry I am a Jamaican.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, he noted that what pleases him more than winning is the renewed interest that has been placed on the festival song competition.
“Yes, it’s a great feeling to win. However, the feeling is greater when I observe the attention and the vibe surrounding this whole competition. It’s like something I experienced when I was much younger, so that is what brings me so much more joy,” he said.
Long before the winner was announced, Buju Banton went on record to say that should he be named winner, he would be donating his portion of the winning purse to the Sunbeam Boys’ Home in Old Harbour, St Catherine. The singer is standing by his word and plans to give his portion of the $3- million prize package to the State-run facility.
“I have done my part for a number of charitable organisations, and the Sunbeam Boys’ Home is my chosen charity at this time. I have chosen them because they are right around the corner but they are neglected. It is my form of giving back. I am just doing something to show these youths that someone cares. I want them to be part of their future and make an impact. The truth is, Sunbeam is not one of the popular charities and is not as well known as some of the others which are always being spoken about, so some people don’t want to associate with it because they realise that they won’t be in the limelight. For me, helping goes across the board, not just the ones that sound good and are prestigious. I also work with the Mount Olivett Boys’ Home in Manchester so this is just part of my efforts to give these youngsters some hope,” he said during the interview.
In his brief acceptance speech during Sunday’s final, which was broadcast live on local television and online, Buju Banton thanked the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), which has organised the competition since 1966, for their contribution to honing the musical talent of Jamaicans. He also used the opportunity to encourage other established musicians and entertainers to “donate one song to your country”.
The Jamaicia Festival Song Competition had to be revised this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This saw virtual and televised performances, and the winner was determined by a public poll.