Frankie Campbell, Fab 5’s bass player and chairman of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artists and Affiliates (JAVAA), is batting for Jamaican music to have its own Walk of Fame at the Emancipation Park in New Kingston.
According to the musician, JAVAA has already tabled a proposal to the government requesting that the Emancipation Park in New Kingston be used as the location. However, the veteran believes the process is tiring as the powers that be are doing a lot of talking, but very little action.
“Want our own Walk of Fame, and we are trying to get it in the park so that young people can come from primary school and say, who is this? And they can go home and research and find out. It’s important to us, and JAVAA has been working on it for awhile, waiting for the permission to use the outside of the Emancipation Park. We are supposed to have meeting with the minister sometime soon and see how it goes,” he said.
Campbell said the Walk of Fame is way overdue, and was on the table under the previous government.
Former Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment Damion Crawford, who was in power at the time the suggestion was made, confirmed that the matter was brought to his attention. He, however, implored independent entities like JAVAA and the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) to act as independent entities and stop crying to government.
“We had spoken about it. However, there were persons who felt it should be in Heroes Park, while others felt it should be downtown. Some people feel that it cannot be left up to JAVAA and has to be the Government. But I just wish more independent entities would act independently, and if Government don’t do it, then do it on your own,” he said.
He also said JAVAA was asked to present a design of the Walk of Fame tile to his then administration and that request was not answered up until his exit from power.
However, in response to Crawford’s comments, an upset Campbell said JAVAA subscribed to the ministry’s request.
“Damion is a f…… liar! We had a design of the tile, and we gave everything to the ministry. We never asked the government for any funding. All we wanted was the permission, and we would seek our own funding,” he said.
He also revealed that Bob Marley would be the first inductee, followed by The Wailers, Lord Flea, Louise Bennett, and other legends. He noted that there would also be contemporary inductees like Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Shabba Ranks, and others.
Meanwhile, Campbell insists that the Walk of Fame could do wonders for Jamaica in the area of tourism.
“We spoke to the government at the time and they say everything is all right, then we come to realize that everything is not all right,” he said.
“The first time I went to LA, I went to see Bob Marley on the Walk of Fame and that will have the same effect on visitors who come here. We launched this thing around eight years ago, and all now we can’t get permission to use the park. Imagine that. And it’s outside of the park you know, the sidewalk,” he said, seemingly frustrated.
When asked if he believes certain outstanding names in reggae would be engraved inside the park itself, Campbell said that based on negotiations, that position seemed highly unlikely.
“Believe wah yuh wah believe, but that nah happen. This is our baby and we are working on it because the preservation of the music is important. We also want other artists to lobby and speak out because we want this. This is the only sidewalk in Jamaica that is sacred and safe, so it’s perfect for visitors,” he said.