Fay Ann Lyons is defending comments she made to a Jamaican newspaper in which she outlined reasons Jamaica Carnival is becoming popular.
Speaking to the Jamaica Gleaner about her new band Rebellion, which will be launched on December 8 in Jamaica, Lyons said:
“People will ask, 'Are you going to Jamaica for Carnival too?' and I will be like, 'Yeah, I am going to be there' and the next thing you hear is 'OK, that means I don't need to go to Trinidad'. That should never happen. Any consideration for a toss-up should be for persons to go to Trinidad and if possible hit up Jamaica after.”
"Carnival enthusiasts are weighing the options against Trinidad because of, one, the accessibility, and two, a cost factor. Also, persons don't need to take two weeks of their lives to go to Jamaica for carnival because there are constant flights to and out of Jamaica. They can land Friday, party in the night then again on Saturday, and play mas on Sunday then go back home. The flights are affordable and run in a way that is convenient. You can, ultimately, stretch your money in Jamaica from transportation to hotel accommodations to food,” she told the newspaper.
Her comments resulted in some calling for a boycott of Jamaica’s Carnival while others labelled the two-time Soca Monarch and three-time Road March champion as disloyal.
When contacted, Lyons told Loop that at no time did she say Jamaica’s Carnival was better than T&T and she was merely stating facts.
“If I am disloyal then everybody who is doing mas and events in Jamaica is just as disloyal. I am now going into Jamaica with a band,” she said.
Jamaica’s Carnival has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last three years with the emergence of multiple bands that collaborate with bands from Trinidad such as Tribe and YUMA.
Fete brands such as Caesar’ Army, Scorch, DJ Private Ryan and several others also stage events during that island’s Carnival festivities.
“If Jamaica wasn’t viable why are so many promoters taking events and doing them there? Why are so many bands there? Why are so many of our artists in Jamaica?. I didn’t’ say Trinidad Carnival not good but if you telling me I am disloyal because I big up Jamaica that is stupid, We want to talk Caribbean unity and as soon as another artist steps out and big up another country there is a problem,” she said.
Stating that people are being hypocritical, Lyons said in every island there is an influx of T&T artists but artists from other islands are not given the same platform in T&T.
“If we boycott Jamaica Carnival is your stance and all the other carnivals decide we not supporting the Trinidad artists then it means your artists who live here can’t go anywhere after Carnival. As 12 o’ clock reach Ash Wednesday soca decrease and is dancehall,” she said noting that soca events aren’t well patronised outside of Carnival.
Lyons, who did a section in Fantasy for two years, said it is easier to bring a band in Jamaica as the Trinidad market already has many bands.
“We have been going to Jamaica for years, we have Jamaican family and friends so why not do Jamaica,” she said.
The band, Rebellion, is a collaboration with M7, the group behind the popular Jamaican SPF 7 fete. It will be Jamaica's fifth mas band.
Lyons said the band will introduce to Jamaica traditional elements of T&T’s Carnival such as a live band on the parade route. The band will also include a T-shirt section for Jamaicans who want to play mas but cannot afford a costume.
In addition to the band, Lyons will also launch her Azafit movement in Jamaica. The soca artist said she since launching the exercise movement in Trinidad this year, she has since done it in Japan and has requests from other islands for it to be included in their carnival activities.