Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Letter of the Day | Glamorising dancehall won't uplift ghetto youth

Published:Tuesday | December 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The recent publication of the 2017 Yellow Pages directory, with dancehall scenes on the cover, has once again raised the issue of the kind of impact dancehall music and other expressions of the genre have on our people, especially our youth.

The fact that it is only a mere 'handful' of companies and products that have been courageous enough to resist the temptation to cash in on what is a very lucrative dancehall culture, few persons would have been surprised at this move by the Yellow Pages.

Not surprising also was the haste with which some persons moved to defend the action of the phone book company, claiming that dancehall is our culture, which reflects ghetto realities. Of course, this argument about dancehall being a reflection of ghetto realities is nothing but a refurbished attempt to deceive ghetto youth into believing that their liberation from ignorance, poverty, incivility and backwardness can be achieved if they unreservedly immerse themselves in dancehall culture.




In his Letter of the Day, Friday, December 2, 2016, Glenroy Murray expressed his frustration with those who objected to the dancehall dramatisation on the cover of the phone book, stating that such opposition is nothing but classism. The danger that is inherent in Mr Murray's outburst is that it gives the impression that issues of morality can be reduced to class perspectives.

Mr Murray needs to know that efforts aimed at elevating someone or something to a position of class does not translate to classism. How genuine is Mr Murray's concerns for marginalise youth was clearly revealed when he proposed the elevation of Patois to national recognition.

I am confident in the capacity of marginalised ghetto youth to determine that after being used and kept down by politicians in this country, they are not prepared to be so enslaved again by those who sit at the echelons of the dancehall pyramid.

It certainly does not require the brightest person to realise that when many apologists of dancehall come out in strong defence of the genre, notwithstanding the fact that significant elements of dancehall continue to be an incubator of shocking levels of vulgarity, lewdness, and the promotion of violence, what they are expressing is a desire for the continuation of a condition that they can always exploit to satisfy their insatiable greed.

And ghetto youth, when you are being encouraged to abandon standard English for Patois, please remember the growing opportunities that are now available for Jamaican sports persons to both play and be trained overseas. Without a minimum level of command of English, you could lose what is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.