Devon Dick | Sucker for pain
Recently, there was a public education campaign discouraging payola to get a record played on radio, whether the product is good or inferior. But there needs to be a companion discussion about how to get one's record adequate airtime.
It is amazing that USA pop singer Lil Wayne gets so much rotation on the radio station, Fyah 105. He has a song titled Sucker for Pain with words:
'Take my hands through the flames, I torture you
I'm a slave to your games, I'm just a sucker for pain
I want to chain you up, I want tie you down.'
I do not get fully the main point of the song. In spite of its infectious beat, rhythm and melody, it is a sad song. Apparently, the artiste is talking about sadistic behaviour. The song writer obviously gets pleasure, especially sexual pleasure, from tying up persons and inflicting pain, suffering or humiliation. There also appears to be an element of masochism, 'Take my hands through the flames'. The writer gets pleasure from receiving pain and humiliation. This song gives too much detail about a person's sexual proclivities. These are personal matters between the person and his or her therapist. This should not be for public consumption. How come this song is aired on radio in broad daylight when innocent, vulnerable children can listen? Where is the Broadcast Commission? Why is this song getting so many rotations per day? The song speaks about torture, which is an illegal activity. This song should be banished from daytime radio and, in fact, banned from radio. A Jamaican could not sing a song focused on admiration for torture and it gets airplay. Why the double standard? Why do foreigners get away with murder?
Jamaica has a high murder rate which is getting worse, so why would we allow, on our airwaves, a song about torture? Our murderers do not need any more ideas. We are killing 80-plus and 90- year-old people, not to mention babies; so why this song? Last week, a member of the Police High Command said that there is a link between some dancehall artistes and criminality. In fact, the allegation was that some were funding criminal activities. This is not news. We have heard that in some instances, a few are part of criminal networks. There should therefore be zero tolerance to such songs being played during the day.
We also have a problem with sexual assault and abuse, so we should flee anything that could give the impression of support for forced sexual behaviour. Songs influence behaviour and can be a powerful influence on young minds.
Fortunately, there are groups of persons offering an alternative lifestyle. For example, the Jamaica Baptist Union is meeting in western Jamaica under the theme 'Living the Sacrificial Life'. This is a call to find pleasure in a life of self-denial, in order that God's purposes can be fulfilled in the world. The possibility of any resultant pain is there, but it is not inflicted on others for sexual gratification, nor is it encouraged. It is really about a lack of fear of pain, provided it leads to the glory of God and the building up of the members of the Church of Jesus. This is part of the way forward.
Few persons understand the pain loved ones go through after the brutal and senseless death of a family member. The radio stations need to revisit their criteria for playing songs, and should endeavour to play inspiring, motivational music to uplift Jamaicans who are going through a rough time.
- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.