Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Don't blame dancehall for crime

Published:Tuesday | February 28, 2017 | 2:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Recently, Opposition Spokesperson on Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna received harsh criticism for suggestive comments she made with regard to the dissemination of music on the airwaves from artistes who are incarcerated. Her comments have arisen amid a nationwide discussion on whether dancehall music and contemporary popular culture are contributing to the prevalence of violence in Jamaica.

Lisa Hanna's repudiation of dancehall music from incarcerated artistes is her way of trying to remain relevant while in Opposition. In January 2016, was it Lisa Hanna who found it politically expedient to post lyrics to Vybz Kartel's song School and hashtagged him 'vybzK' while campaigning for the 2016 election to gain the youth vote, which the PNP miserably lost?

Fast-forward to February 2017, a year after the general election, she has the audacity to question whether corruption exists in the prison system and highlight Vybz Kartel as one of the popular personalities who have an imprint on Jamaica's value systems. This is blatant hypocrisy!

Parents and guardians are the ones who are responsible for instilling good values and morals in their children, not Vybz Kartel or personalities.

Dancehall culture should not be used as an easy target to blame the degradation of mores within the Jamaican society. The music serves as social commentary for the oppressed people in Jamaica, in particular, persons in the impoverished inner-city areas. It is a form of expression of the constant struggles of the have-nots and the oppression they encounter daily.

The music is not the cause; it is a reflection of the happenings in our society. A ban on dancehall music from specific artistes on the airwaves solves absolutely nothing.

O'NEIL D. PHIPPS

drphippsfortis@gmail.com