Thu | Apr 9, 2020

Diana King clashes with Kartel - Vybz reportedly willing to join prison music rehab

Published:Monday | January 13, 2020 | 12:22 AMKimberley Small/Staff Reporter
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Despite not naming the notorious deejay Vybz Kartel, recording artiste Diana King has criticised Jamaica’s penal system for allowing dangerous convicts to release songs and albums and sustain successful music careers behind bars.

King, herself a Jamaican who lives in the United States, expressed abhorrence at the apparent freedom of prison inmates to produce hit songs.

“I’ll never be able to ignore the fact that a convicted artiste/prisoner serving time, be it for murder or rape, can still record and release music from prison in Jamaica. How do you all do it? Is it because it wasn’t you who was raped or your loved one killed?” King posted on both her Twitter and Instagram profiles.

To Tanesha, dedicated to Kartel’s long-time partner, was released last week by Short Boss Muzik and Vybz Kartel Muzik. Features on the project include Jada Kingdom, Slimatic, Jesse Royal, and Sikka Rymes.

Kartel, whose real name is Adidjah Palmer, was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to server 35 years without parole for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

Although prison authorities have repeatedly denied giving Kartel special privileges to record music, he has produced a clutch of hit songs as well as a full-length project on major streaming platforms, including iTunes and YouTube, since his incarceration.

Meanwhile, Gladstone Wright, music producer and conceptualiser of the Rehabilitation of Offenders through Music programme at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, has dissociated himself from Palmer’s recent release, insisting that the popular artiste is not a participant.

Interest in Programme

Wright revealed, however, that Palmer had recently expressed an interest in signing up.

“I heard by the way that he has had a change of heart and has said that given the opportunity, he would be willing to contribute to the programme,” Wright told The Gleaner.

Wright approached the artiste’s inclusion with caution, affirming that the mandate of the programme is to rehabilitate inmates, not to facilitate thriving careers.

“One man’s medicine is another man’s poison. A lot of people would want to know that he is able to do it while there are others who would have expressed the greatest abhorrence at him being allowed to do it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wright awaits the response to Palmer’s interest in the music rehabilitation programme.

“I am not going to be the judge. I am going to await whatever discussions are being held between himself and the authorities. If he is given permission to record, then I wouldn’t have the locus standi to refuse his participation,” Wright said.

kimberley.small@gleanerjm.com