Waan ketch it
Buju Banton, Willy
BUJU BANTON'S Willy remains one of dancehall's anthems. However, other Jamaican - especially dancehall - songs advocating safe sex are rather rare.
As to whether or not enough songs touching the topic are done remains an open debate. However, the general consensus from the music fraternity is that more could be done to promote safe sex.
"I think most people think about songs that make them make money. Dem nah pay dem ting nuh mind," opined Lady Saw, whose Condom is one of the more popular safe sex tunes. She sings:
Condoms can save your lives men
Use with all yuh wife yes
All when she huff and puff
Tell har without the condom
Yuh nah do nuh wuk
No girl don't bother play shy
Tell yuh guy no bareback ride
No no way nuh watch the pretty smile
Memba the AIDS will tek yuh life
Saw said she penned Condom at a time when she was getting more aware of the AIDS virus and the impact it could have on persons and families who had to deal with the disease. She commented that since her lyrics spoke mainly about sex, she felt it was a part of her responsibility to enlighten the public about the dangers of unproctected coitus.
Saw said that, in addition, she had a friend who had died from AIDS and expressed the view that the disease could kill anyone.
Still, Saw added that she has recorded other songs that deal with safe sex. However, they are rarely given airplay.
Buju Banton agrees with Saw that more can be done. "I can't say more isn't being recorded, since not all songs are played on radio," he added.
Buju pointed out that Willy was done because of the need to educate persons about the dangers of AIDS. He told The Sunday Gleaner that artistes and the society on a whole should educate themselves about safe sex and the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.
He said that no matter what, there can be more education about AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), as they affect everyone.
His point is underscored when the figures for AIDS locally are examined.
Up to 2001, the number of persons diagnosed with AIDS in Jamaica since 1982 stood at 6038. Of that number 3,636 or 60.2 per cent were males and 2402 or 39.8 percent were females.
For the period January to December of 2001, there were 939 reported new cases of AIDS. Of that number 511 or 54.4 per cent were males and 428 or 45.6 per cent were females.
Other artistes have touched the topic of safe sex. Frisco Kid's Rubbers, which was banned from the airwaves on at least one radio station, said in part:
Mi want a jook offa Jacquline, but mi haffi draw fi mi rubbers, for my rubbers,
Sex nice but the AIDS ting will mek yuh die out like flowers, die out like flowers
In addition to Frisco Kid's cautioning words, Mr. Vegas also points out that he loves sex but he would not go to the promised land without his Durex (a condom brand).
Sean Paul's Safe Sex speaks directly to the issue:
Me guh suh den
Sex is not what it used to be
Believe me, it displease me
Nuff a dem a walk like dem hot
But when yuh connect di dot
Dem nuh easy
Dem nuh disease free
Other artistes such as Elephant Man and Spragga Benz have made reference to safe intercourse in their songs.
Yet still the consensus remains. Not enough is being done.
"If every artiste do a song about safe sex it would be good, because safe sex is the best sex," proffered Elephant Man.
"I try at all times to send out the message of safe sex to the youths. Safe sex is very important for everyone," the deejay continued.
The artiste who is dubbed the 'Energy God' also added that if more songs were recorded about the matter, then people would be obliged to listen, since artistes have the ability to reach out to persons in society. He added that "at the end of the day, protecting oneself is left up to the person."
Tanya Stephens agrees. "It's the responsibility of everyone to protect themselves. It shouldn't be the artistes' responsibility to tell people protect themselves," opined Stephens.
Stephens who is known for songs such as Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet, Freaky Type and Goggle presented a different perspective on the matter. She explained that everyone could play a great role in terms of educating persons about safe sex.
She proffered that in the event that the artiste fails to sing about the topic, they should not be held responsible.
"We as artistes have other things to worry about. We need to educate ourselves on a lot of things. So it should not be left up to us solely to talk about safe sex," the artiste said.
She pointed out that for some persons, songs talking about sex would appear to be a lecture. She, however, added that such a subject could be worked into a song and the message would still get out to the intended audience. In addition, she said that artistes who advocate safe sex have her endorsement.
There are a few artistes who have gone about advocating safe sex on-stage and on record, as well as ensuring that the message reaches the wider public.
Lady Saw, for example, points out that she has done some amount of charity work for AIDS victims. She said she sold candles and participated in a walk-a-thon to raise funds for AIDS victims. For her efforts, she received a certificate.
In addition, she adds that at the end of her more raunchy performances she encourages her audience to practice safe sex.
Buju Banton has also done some work.
Buju formed 'Operation Willy' in 1994, because he felt he needed to do something to help both the children who suffer directly from AIDS as well as those who suffer because their parents were victims of the fatal disease. Apart from this, the project has made donations to various agencies, such as one to the Family Centre in 1994.
Buju points out the project has not been as active as he would like for the past two years due to an injury to his knee, which has affected his movements. However, he plans to restart soon.
"We can't say we have done enough. We have to keep on doing what we are doing and hope that every man can see the need to do something to help the situation," Buju said.