Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Aza Kanika Auset | Dancehall - civilisation or barbarism?

Published:Wednesday | March 15, 2017 | 3:00 AM

In response to Daniel Thwaites' article, 'Kartel mash up society?', in the March 5, 2017 copy of The Sunday Gleaner, I am astonished to realise that a man like him could have such schizophrenic and irres-ponsible opinions. The impact of dancehall on our society is immense and destructive, and as a recent high-school graduate, I must say I'm a victim, not because of my age, but my race. Yes, race is a huge factor. Dancehall is an expression of race hatred, and this is manifested through the attack against the black body and being through its lyrics.

Allowing dancehall to have full reign in the society, regardless of the few hypocritical attempts by the elites who also promote it, will naturally result in each successive generation becoming more violent and oversexed. What is worse is that the type of sex dancehall preaches is not at all wholesome; licentiousness, lewdness and sexual savagery is its gospel. So, yes, you definitely can't expect better from the children who are under the overwhelming influence of this decadent culture, because they just can't escape it.

School was supposed to be a haven from this madness, but the reality is that dancehall is often found in these institutions. You can hear it being played at socials, fairs, concerts, and even on sports day. Sometimes there is a practice to play the 'clean' version of songs on these occasions, but this is just as bad as playing the dirty original because this is what is referenced by children.

The great problem with dancehall music is that it passes on and intensifies the internalised racism from our colonial past. Internalised racism is being codified in the literature of post-colonialism and decolonisation. Basically, it is the adaptation by the colonised of the racist attitudes of the colonisers towards themselves. This affects all classes, with the lower class being the worst affected. Therefore, the 'nothing black nuh good' mentality and all its manifestations are made worse by dancehall.

 

NEGATIVE ASPECTS

 

Thwaites observes that the overwhelmingly negative aspects of dancehall far outweigh anything positive. So how does a responsible black person with influence remain a fan and not be a serious part of the problem? Thwaites then attempts to muddy the waters by comparing Kartel's incarceration as a musician, who he wants us to think has merely erred, with that of other past musicians seeking to contextualise and therefore diminish Kartel's ill effects. This is intellectual dishonesty.

The crime for which Kartel has been incarcerated is not his only offence. His music is the real criminal occurrence, murdering the minds, spirits and aspirations of his black victims. It was admirable of Lisa Hanna to question why Kartel was still producing music behind bars, but it was wrong to focus on him. Kartel is merely a symptom of the greater problem of dancehall.

The cavalier way in which Thwaites ends his column by referencing Kartel's lyrics is a perfect indication that the black educated class has been willingly co-opted by the elites who own the commanding heights of the economy and who actively sponsor and promote dancehall music, which influences behaviours that encourage general underdevelopment.

- Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and auset_aza@yahoo.com.