Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Queen Ifrica's new song very timely - As domestic violence becomes an epidemic

Published:Thursday | December 15, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Queen Ifrica

Never one to mince words, and definitely one to stand up for justice, Queen Ifrica never held back when she did Daddy, Don't Touch Me There, a powerful song about incestuous rape, the kind that happens in Jamaica more than we would like to believe or admit, but hardly spoken about or even mentioned.

The song became a hit, but more so, served as a catalyst for mothers, daughters, aunts, friends and neighbours to start one of the hardest conversations to have. Thanks to Ifrica's bravery, young girls could be brave too and start the discussion.

Fast-forward to today, no one in Jamaica can open a newspaper or listen to the news and not hear about a woman being physically assaulted, shot or murdered, in some way or form, by a current or former lover. So it's no surprise that the queen is back again to defend Jamaican women and women around the world with Tek Yuh Hand Offa Mi. Written by Michael Dawson, who penned a play of the same name, Ifrica bemoans the ignorance of male abusers who seem to be stuck in a time warp where male dominance and chauvinism was the order of the day.

The song will be available on iTunes soon.

As for the actual play, it is set in a culture strained with the hushed issue of domestic abuse. Tek Yuh Hand Offa Me satirically highlights not only domestic violence, but other inherently significant, negative, societal expectations that tend to obstruct females in Jamaica.

In an insightful play smartly written by Michael Dawson and directed by Michael 'Stringbean' Nicholson, the intricate web of verbal, emotional and domestic abuse is explored through the lives of Karen and Vincent, an administrative assistant with dreams of becoming an accounting executive, and a successful businessman in the field of finance. The two are connected through a one-sided affair in which Vincent, who is much older than Karen, promises to leave his family to start a new life abroad with Karen.

 

PRESSURE AND CONTROL

 

Typical of domestic abuse cases reported in Jamaica, Vincent uses money, promises of prosperity and physical force to anchor and drive fear into Karen, all while dissuading her from personal and career advancement. The dependence is further cemented by Karen's traditional and overbearing mother from rural Jamaica, who constantly pressures and reminds her of the benefits of her daughter's arrangement. The play also explores gender identity and style as one effect of domestic abuse as shown by the character Toni.

Although the play tackles a serious and prolonged issue, it provides comic relief by lightly highlighting the mentality fuelling the varying points of view through satire; Karen, a prudish young woman who is too focused on her career, yet has a secret affair; Vincent, a confident businessman who uses force instead of intelligence to trap a woman, while fearful of his wife; and Audrey, a blindsided mother who seemingly wants the best for her child, while pushing her into the arms of her worst nightmare.

Tek Yuh Hand Offa Me comes during a period of realisation of the personal and professional strengths and capabilities of women. It comes at a time when women are not afraid to fight back.