With years of experience touring across the world, Morgan Heritage, is set to embark upon its first secondary and tertiary school tour.
The Grammy Award-winning reggae band which comprises Mojo, Gramps and Peetah Morgan, sons of the late reggae icon, Denroy Morgan, explained that the tour will be hinged on their new single titled, Just a Number, which serves as an awareness anthem, “sparking conversation around the topic of cancel culture and the short-lived nature of fame”.
“Our song is bringing attention to an age-old saying that ‘for every action there is a reaction’. If someone is offended by things that you say, it can be costly to you and you don’t want to become just a number because of the way society is today,” Mojo Morgan told The Gleaner, noting that, “while cancel culture is not the subject of the song, it shows how it is one of the results”.
Cancel culture primarily involves people joining in to take a public stand against an individual, usually public figures, or groups, for actions considered offensive, for bad behaviour and in most cases, without a chance for redemption, as a means to deter similar actions in the future. However, it has been described as counterproductive, in fuelling hostile behaviour and in jeopardising professional careers.
“On the other hand, cancel culture has been called a negative, even toxic way of simplifying complex issues and encouraging snap judgments that can easily result in overly harsh consequences in less-offensive situations,” the members of the reggae band shared in reference to an explanation provided by American mental health counsellor Steven A. Hassan, PhD. Whether a person is of the view that cancel culture is destructive or empowering, the practice is a representation of the current cultural climate which is influenced heavily by the digital world people have become accustomed to so much that there is no distinction between public and private.
Just A Number, which was produced by Kareem ‘Reemus’ Burrell, was released a month ago, but the video, with scenes captured in the National Stadium, has already garnered approximately 1.2 million views on YouTube. Mojo revealed that the track speaks directly to the up-and-coming recording artistes and entertainment mavens, athletes, film creatives and anyone pursuing a professional career.
“We want to make them aware that they should not work hard and sacrifice all their lives to build a career, just to potentially lose everything overnight because of their personal views or opinion,” Mojo said.
While he avoids name-calling, Peetah Morgan jumped in to explain that many people have been “destroyed and side-lined as a result of cancel culture”.
“It’s not that we are focused on that particular topic, but we want to make Jamaica’s youth today, who are tomorrow’s leaders and role models, aware [so] they will not make the same mistakes as people before them did. Cancel culture is a serious reality in today’s world that we should not take lightly,” Peetah offered.
One of the aims of the tour, which is slated to take place from Monday, May 15 to Friday, May 26, across multiple high schools and colleges in Jamaica, he said, is to start a discussion on the phenomenon of cancel culture and also bring to the fore issues like cyber-bullying, a direct effect, and to show participants how to build up theirs and others’ self-esteem.
Presentations will come from guest speakers from within the entertainment and music recording industry, such as I-Octane, Rytikal, and Jahshii, alongside the band.
“What we hope to achieve from the school tour is to help the youths in school see life through different eyes, making the school students aware that their actions online and otherwise have consequences. We want to help make them aware of many realities, even those they maybe not even aware of and share some knowledge with them that may impact their preparation for life in a positive way,” he continued.