Crash course required - Hope suggests social interaction training for artistes
Following entertainer Dexta Daps' recent scuffle with members of the police force at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, University of The West Indies (UWI) lecturer Dr Donna Hope is recommending that artistes and managers enroll themselves in courses that teach social interaction and professionalism.
A video chronicling the altercation has spread like wildfire via social media. The tape depicts the artiste putting up resistance to being arrested, requesting a valid reason for being taken into custody. The officers reacted, and a dishevelled Dexta Daps was observed on the video being taken into custody following the bitter scuffle.
According to Hope, Dexta Daps, who was later charged with assault occasioning bodily harm, obstructing the police, resisting arrest, and using indecent language, could have walked away from the situation free of all charges if he had taken the appropriate approach.
"What I saw was unnecessary. Artistes need behavioural classes because one should know that when a police officer stops you, it is in your best interest to oblige. Do not give them a reason to put their hands on you, and it wouldn't have got that far if Dexta Daps had received training," Hope said.
Can't handle fame
While highlighting that delinquency is not limited to youth raised in inner-city communities, Hope also felt that inner-city youth were more likely to challenge police officers due to their less-than-positive outlook and experiences involving law-enforcement personnel.
The outspoken lecturer believes that there are not many persons from the inner city who can handle the responsibility that comes with overnight fame, money, and power.
"When these artistes get a little money and power, they need to get appropriate training because people are going to come at you. You can't just say 'Dutty police bwoy!', and other disparaging comments, because they are going to be responsive. I also think elders in the music industry are not looking out for the best interest of these young artistes because they need grooming," she told The Sunday Gleaner.
The staunch supporter of dancehall and reggae music believes Dexta Daps' affiliation with the dancehall genre will cast another shadow on dancehall artistes.
"This incident will put dancehall in the mud again and lawyers will get rich," she said.
Dexta Daps is not the first recording artiste to have clashed with police officers over disagreements. Mavado, Alozade, Peter Tosh, Bounty Killer, Sizzla Kalonji, among others, have all found themselves on the wrong side of law-enforcement officials.
However, Hope's suggestion that artistes get the necessary training is not overly ground-breaking as United States-based Common Pleas Court judge Genece Brinkley recommended a similar strategy to curtail American rapper Meek Mill's behavioural patterns in 2013. According to Brinkley, Meek Mill, who was on probation at the time, needed etiquette classes to make him more refined.
The judge also highlighted that Meek Mill's attitude affected his ability to sell himself in a positive light during court proceedings.