Wed | May 27, 2020

Vybz Kartel is no victim

Published:Tuesday | April 7, 2020 | 12:31 AM


The Sunday Gleaner recently infuriated readers with the publication of an article titled, ‘Kartel is a victim of the system’, dated April 5, 2020. Vybz Kartel is an extremely popular entertainer known for producing explicit content. So it is unsurprising that in Jamaica where crudeness is glorified, he is well respected. Therefore, numerous Jamaicans are upset that the Court of Appeal upheld his conviction. To garner publicity, The Gleaner opted to interview some industry insiders, who are also fans of Vybz Kartel.

According to the analysts interviewed, Vybz Kartel will always be society’s biggest scapegoat. But such an argument is problematic, since Vybz Kartel is never shy to argue that as an autonomous individual he makes his own choices. A major factor contributing to his appeal is his perceived individuality.

So by this account, it ought to be impossible to make him a scapegoat, without him having any input in crafting this image. Hence, readers found this piece quite disturbing because the interviewees did not seek to hold Vybz Kartel responsible for any of his infractions.


Analysts such as the fans of Vybz Kartel interviewed like to arrogate the narrative that dancehall artistes are only responding to an oppressive system; so since they are apparently victims of the system, we ought to lower our standards when they engage in nefarious activities. Such reasoning is utter nonsense.

Opinion makers need to desist from peddling the ‘victim’ narrative, because being raised in a poor or hostile environment is no excuse to commit crimes. The biggest oppressor of poor people in Jamaica is their own culture, not politicians or elites who have little interest in Jamaica.

Contrary to the beliefs of intellectuals in Jamaica, venerating hooliganism as resistance will not solve any of our problems, but rather amplify negativity. Jamaica is in the doldrums and we should not allow entertainers and their supporters in intellectual circles to deceive our people.