Inaugural Dancehall Road March Underway Today

The inaugural staging of Whirlwind International’s Dancehall Road March unfolds in Kingston today, with the Police Officer’s Club as the starting point before revellers trek down to the MECA nightclub.

A myriad of foreign dancers could be seen dancing to the sounds of Stone Love as event producer Dancehall Queen Carlene Smith went live on Instagram this morning to promote the march.

Local dance pioneers like Latonya Styles were also in attendance, as they got ready to transform the corporate area into a big street dance filled with costumes mirroring Smith’s most iconic looks. 

The event’s lead ambassador has been heavily promoting Dancehall Road March across new and traditional media for several months, since its 2020 COVID-induced postponement. Beyond the daring and vibrant costumes, Smith’s legacy is visible throughout the branding of the event with its tagline supporting the fight against cancer. Smith lost her sister Doreen ‘Pinky’ Prendergast to the disease in July

There will be four bands on the road today: March for Peace, Dancehall Defenders, Dancehall Road March and Represent 4 Dancehall. Motorists can expect traffic diversions during the event which goes until 2 p.m. Waterloo Avenue and South Avenue will remain closed until the parade passes. 

Though artists like D’Angel, Pamputtae, Macka Diamond and Razor B promoted the event on social media, news of the march didn’t reach the ears of some folks. Popular disc jock ZJ Sparks expressed disappointment in the marketing of the event, having only realised this morning that the march was taking place. 

“I never knew that there was a dancehall road march today,” she said in an Instagram post. “Honestly, if Razor B’s post did not pop up across my IG feed today, I would not have known that there is a dancehall road march. And when I say a dancehall road march, I’m not talking about a protest for dancehall. I mean that Stone Love is going to be on trucks playing music and there are going to be revellers in dancehall costumes on the road marching from Police Officer’s Club to Waterloo Road, to West King’s House Road to MECA.”

She continued, “Me never know. Feel like this did need more publicity. But anyway. It’s here people. Unno always compare soca versus dancehall; mi want unno go out and support.”

Singjay Ce’Cile was among those in the comments who were also unaware of the march unfolding today. Similar comments appeared in Smith’s live video.

“Dis neva promote good at all,” one user wrote. “I love the idea and want to see this get the strength of a soca road March.”

“A mostly farina,” someone else added. “Next year I hope you go further and have more support.”

Such sentiments were balanced by those commending the initiative and wishing the organisers a successful first staging.

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