Remembering Michael “Ibo” Cooper: His Thoughts On Jamaican Artists Who Refuse IP And Business Advice

Michael “Ibo” Cooper once rued the fact that entertainers within the Reggae/Dancehall music industry, who have refused to listen to persons with the music business acumen and requisite legal expertise, have gone on to make blunders that gravely affected their earning capacity.   

The late music lecturer and former member of Third World had said that it was not just young artists, but elders as well, who have brought problems onto themselves by ignoring the advice of persons like himself.

“Some of the youths are also ignorant so they will get popular and figure this is the first time this is happening…. So yes, you get a young act now who is promoted and is playing a fifty thousand stadium.  But that young act, will never believe that I did that.   They now believe dem invent light bulb,” he told Majesty Media in 2014.

“So some of the expertise – and I’ll go back to what Lloyd (Stanbury) has done, myself and Clyde… and these people have done over the years: the expertise that we brought to the table from our experience wasn’t properly utilized because as far as they were concerned we were just some old guys, who didn’t know what we were talking about and it was their time.  So they created this divide… They created a divide because they didn’t figure that they needed to stand on a platform to get to the next level. They were it, and that’s it,” he stated.

“So they made a lot of business mistakes.  They make a lot of intellectual property mistakes; they get older and don’t have anything to show for it, because they did not set up their business properly, all of that.  Because when we had the seminars and the forums and so on, they (believed) they were popular already; they don’t need that,” he had stated.    

Cooper had also said that what was astonishing and disappointing to him, were the statements made by one of Jamaica’s biggest Reggae acts, discrediting the purpose of voice training.

“And unfortunately, unfortunately –  I am not gonna call any name.  But one of our biggest Reggae singers who is an older person who a lot of the youths respect, actually got public and said ‘music education is foolishness’. I was shocked.  That person said voice training is not necessary, because quote: ‘man nuh have him talent already?” he recounted.

“So, we slug on because we know what we are up against,” he had added.

Cooper died on October 13 at age 71, after battling cancer for several years. 

His son, disc jockey and music producer Arif Cooper, had died of a suspected heart attack in March this year. 

Born in Clarendon, Jamaica on January 14, 1952, he was a member of the iconic Bad Boys Reggae band Inner Circle, before forming Third World in 1973.  

In his lifetime, Cooper served as head of the Caribbean, Latin American and jazz department, now called Popular Music Studies, at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston where he taught for more than two decades.

He was also chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA) and a member of the Entertainment Advisory Board, and at national events, served as organiser, musical director, orchestra conductor, composer, arranger and lyricist.

Cooper received the Order of Distinction, in the rank of Officer (OD), for their contribution to the development of Jamaican music in 2005.

His funeral was held at the University Chapel at the  University of the West Indies, Mona Campus last Thursday.

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