Ishawna in, Jada Kingdom out of Reggae Sumfest
Dancehall singer Ishawna has been added to the Reggae Sumfest line-up, a move which festival producer Joe Bogdanovich is describing as "very exciting".
The artiste has been a hot topic in recent weeks for her trailblazing collaboration with Ed Sheeran on the song Brace It.
News of her addition follows Jada Kingdom's Instagram announcement on Monday that she will no longer be performing at the show on July 23.
"Ishawna has been a long-time Downsound artiste and I just think it's so great that she's getting all these good breaks in her career, and I think the thing with Ed Sheeran could be a number one record," Bogdanovich told THE STAR. "It's looking pretty good, and I think it's very exciting that she's been added to the line-up. She replaces Jada Kingdom, so I think that's a good look for the festival."
Ishawna, no stranger to the Sumfest stage, is slated to perform on July 22. Many will remember her well-arranged set at the show's 2020 two-day virtual edition, where the pink-haired flirt became a viral meme for sticking her tongue out while demonstrating the puppy-licking style of fellatio. She sealed the moment with her 2017 banger, Equal Rights, the song which paved the way for her work with Sheeran.
"She was awesome and she's stable; that's helpful," said Bogdanovich.
He reserved explanation for Kingdom's backing out, only commenting, "What's more important is who's been added to the show." Efforts to get comments from Kingdom's team proved futile.
Meanwhile, Downsound Entertainment has been publicising its long-time readiness for the event, employing strategies that consider the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Last week's announcement of the first confirmed case of monkeypox in Jamaica hasn't rattled their plans.
"I hope it doesn't catch a fire here," he said. "I'm not even thinking about it. I think there's a lot of sensationalism about it when you see some of those pictures that look fake. It's part of the new normal and we just have to get through it."
With the festival days away, Bogdanovich shared that preparations are going well, and he is confident that it will be a "great, great festival".
"It'll be a lot safer. We're working on great service, getting people to really enjoy themselves, not being overpacked. We're abiding by the 70 per cent protocol and having a reduction in the number of people there. We've expanded the venue by probably another 4,000 to 5,000 people, so it's more room, and the production is gonna be just absolutely mad."
Also slated to perform are acts like Alkaline, Spice, Aidonia, Shenseea and Masicka, all on July 22; and Beres Hammond, Sizzla Kalonji, Koffee and Dexta Daps on July 23.