Ms. Olivia “Babsy’ Grange has had a long, productive and inspiring career as a cultural activist, working at the grassroots level in developing and managing talent.
She is an artist, director, event planner and an ardent supporter and promoter of Jamaica’s creative and cultural industries. She is also a pioneer contributor to the development of the Reggae and Dancehall Music Industry in Jamaica, Canada and the United States.
As a founding member and Director of the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP), Ms. Grange has been instrumental in introducing policy initiatives in Jamaica to support the development of the cultural industries and advance “Brand Jamaica” in the international market.
She has been a member of the Jamaican Parliament since 1997 and was appointed Minister of Information, Youth, Sports & Culture, with responsibility for Women and Gender Affairs, Entertainment, Community Development and Special Projects in 2007. In June 2009, she had the distinction of being appointed as the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) first Champion for Culture, with responsibility for advocating, among other things, capacity building for cultural industries, cultural institutions and individual artists.
Ms. Grange co-founded Contrast, Canada's first black community newspaper and has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Specs Limited and Spec-Shang Music. She has managed a number of reggae acts such as Carlene Davis and Leroy Sibbles as well as gold & double Grammy selling artists, Shabba Ranks and Lady Patra, and was Damian (Junior Gong) Marley’s first manager in the early years of his career. She has also assisted in the development of the Jamaican Copyright Legislation.
She also has a long career as a community activist and politician committed to the promotion of youth and women’s affairs with a particular focus on job creation and improved health care.
March 2016 – present Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport
Jan.2012 – Feb. 2016 Opposition Spokesperson on Information, Sports, Culture & Entertainment (formerly Youth and Children) With responsibility for Women and Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Community Development.
2009-2011- Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, with responsibility for Women and Gender Affairs, Entertainment, Community Development and Special Projects. Member of Parliament for St. Catherine Central since 1997; CEO/President SPECS Ltd.; President SPECS-SHANG.
2007-2009 - Minister of Information, Youth, Sports & Culture, with Development and Special Projects. Member of Parliament for St. Catherine Central since 1997; CEO/President SPECS Ltd.; President SPECS-SHANG;
From 2006: Director, Edward Seaga Research Institute;
1997 - Lecturer, Institute of Management, Kingston; Entertainment and Music Management; Director, Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers Limited (JACAP);
1985-89 - Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister;
1983-85 - Government Senator, Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Culture;
1983 - ExecutiveDirector, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission;
1981-83 - JCDC Entertainment Arts Director and Director of Cultural Development;
1972-77- Arts Officer, Institute of Jamaica; Cultural Director, West Kingston Community Cultural Development Programme; Public Relations Officer, West Kingston Trust;
1969-71- Co-Founder/ Editor, Managing Editor, Associate Editor, Women’s Editor – Contrast Publications, Canada;
1966-69 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission.
2015 - Order of Distinction, in the rank of Commander (CD) for contribution to the Jamaican Music Industry, Cultural Development and Public Service;
1997 - Nominated Woman of the Year – Jamaica;
1982 - City T.V. Iris Award for production of Special Music Events, Toronto, Canada.
Consultant Producer for the inaugural staging of the Abi-Reggae International Music Festival and Conference held in April 2015 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, having had direct responsibility for the coordination and management of the entire Jamaican contingent.
Revival of the Festival and Independence Celebrations, Festival Float and Street Parade, and the return of the Grand Gala in the National Stadium on Independence Day.
Music Supervisor, “KLASH” Jamaican feature film Screen Play ‘Another Kind of Music’; Co-conceptualizer “Oliver At Large’ TV series; Live Concert Producer Reggae Sunsplash
Gaynstead High School (Head Girl) (Jamaica);
Keele Vocational Training School (Canada);
Ryerson Polytechnical (Canada)
1 Daughter; 3 Grand-daughters