As concerns mounted throughout yesterday over US rapper Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir’s misuse of Jamaica’s national symbols and emblems on clothing sold on his website, Culture Minister Olivia Grange said said last night she had demanded the items be removed.
Grange addressed the issue in a late-night statement, but subsequent checks of the Sunday Service’s website found that while items bearing the national flag had been removed, some showing the coat of arms remained.
“I noticed that Kanye West and the members of his choir were wearing items with the same crest during their special performance in Kingston last night, but I had no idea at the time that the costumes were sold online,” Grange said.
“We have neither received any request nor authorized the use of our national symbols and emblems for commercial or other purposes. I have since requested that the items be removed, and the seller has agreed to do so.
The minister noted that a committee set up, when she was previously Minister of Culture, to devise strategies to deal with the appropriate use of national symbols and emblems would be re-established to continue the work.
But earlier today, opposition culture critic Damion Crawford played down concerns over the use of national symbols.
Jamaicans took to social media to voice concerns after t-shirts bearing the Jamaican flag or coat of arms became available for purchase online for up to US $ 200, or $ 27,200. J.
The caps bearing the images were reportedly sold for US $ 60, or just over J $ 8,000.
“I don’t think about it. I just think the branding just means this is the Jamaican part of the gig, ”Crawford said yesterday afternoon.
“Some people would like to make noise about cultural appropriation and call on the government to act, but personally I see nothing wrong,” he added, arguing that Jamaica would benefit from the concert.
“I think Jamaica is benefiting from coming here in terms of public relations. We’re going to get prime time mentions and keep in mind that winter and tourist season starts in about 20 days. So people make vacation decisions and he (West) has influence, ”he added, noting that the t-shirts only emphasize the concert’s“ Jamaican leg ”.
“Based on how the brand was used, I don’t think the intention was to make a sale using the Jamaican image,” Crawford continued.
Yesterday, several Instagram users continued to question West’s motive for the impromptu concert, which is said to have cost the artist $ 1 million.
“SMH, operation at its best,” Instagram user simply_247 said in response to an article on the items for sale.
“MDR. I was just expecting him. A million is nothing for these people. He’s going to get some of that back,” wrote Mar_rio_mar.
“Jamaican people, wake up about the money, stop feeding their shirts,” queenserenityandbeilzesshop suggested.
“Hmmm, so that’s the only reason he came,” said brownnhuntley.