A new cultural initiative called Writer’s Block was officially launched today at Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St Michael.
The initiative, the brainchild of Bakari Murray, seeks to provide song writing and music development scholarships and recording contracts for talented artists.
Murray said he got the idea while he was recording songs in his community. He said he realized that persons in the community had talent but needed help to put across the song to the audience.
“When I first started recording, the obvious thoughts were young people in the community and the issue I had, well I wouldn’t really call it an issue . . . I think they just needed direction because the talent was there, the quality was there, everything was there, but they just didn’t know how to put across the song that it would be listener-friendly,” he said.
Thus, Writer’s Block was born as he felt the need to harness the energy and nurture the raw talent of the youth.
“Writer’s Block meets them on their own fertile unfiltered ground while providing guidance to promote refinement, reinterpretation and expression of their stories. Its emphasis is on writing, it is the telling of our own unique stories that will give their work global distinction,” Murray said.
He made clear to the members of the audience that his intension is not to censure the youth.
“The aim is not to act as a censor. Neither is it to blunt their force. Rather, it is intended to sharpen their lyrical skills. These songs will represent the dreams, aspirations, anxieties, disappointments, desires, passions and concerns of our youth,” he said.
Writer’s Block will utilize music as a vehicle to drive artists’ journey into identity building, social responsibility and lyrical excellence.
The initiative has started with its first two-month cycle in which persons were mentored by some of the veterans in the writing and entertainment industry such as Smokey Burke, Adonijah and Ronnie Davis.
Not only did the artists get a chance to sharpen their skills, they also were taught their intellectual property rights by Gail Callendar who represented Caribbean Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (COSCAP) at the workshops.
Katrina Beckles said Writer’s Block helped her to overcome her shyness and further develop her skills as a singer and songwriter.
“I learnt about marketing, marketing your brand which would be like yourself, how you describe yourself, if you are rugged, sophisticated [and so on].”
Murray also highlighted that his initiative has been sponsored by The Ministry of Culture Sports and Youth along with Sky Mall and Burger King who all saw promise in his vision to develop creativity via music in Barbados.
He noted that in the future he would like to partner with the National Cultural Foundation, the Barbados Youth Service and several other private sector entities in order to be able to give the youth of Barbados a creative platform where they can express themselves as well as make a meaningful career. (LG)