Mon | May 25, 2020

Is dancehall promoting crime and violence?

Published:Friday | May 22, 2020 | 12:14 AM


DANCEHALL MUSIC enjoys one of the greatest following from marginalised Jamaican youths.

It appears to be offering what generally appeals to the underclass, and therefore, could make it perilous having a correlation with crime. Most artistes may pass off combative and violence-touting music as mere creative expressions, not intended to be confused with the real world. And yet, one is left to wonder why so many artistes are charged with the very violence that is claimed to be exclusive to music.

From the pre-Ninja Man era to the present day, it is not unusual to see DJs on stage whose lyrical duel swiftly falls apart and descends into physical rumpus because of a deficiency in rebuttal or because the other guy is gaining the ascendancy.

There seems to be, in many instances, a very thin line separating entertainment from reality, and when creativity becomes injured or compromised, brute force takes over.

Even if most artistes intend nothing but entertainment in their messages, the pressure from fans can easily push them over on to the wrong side of the law and blur the line between art and real life. A song appearing to promote wicked man can only fortify the already-warped views of reality.

Thus, the violence that is glorified in dancehall music is not insulated from life, or life from it spills both ways, it appears, and especially aided by the already vulnerable acolytes. Neither can sound clashes which are carried by sound systems be excused or separated from this equation – where rounds of dubplates are often rebuked and confronted to the expulsion and salutation of live gunshot.

So, is it possible to contain such form of enjoyment within the province of entertainment only? Does dancehall music influence crime and violence even indirectly?