Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica is currently in the midst of an anti-rape crusade, but sexual abuse has been a long-standing issue in the country. While most Jamaican artistes have avoided the topic in their lyrics, there exists a brave few who are not afraid to publicly condemn the immoral and illegal act in their songs.
A new single by dancehall artiste, Busy Signal, was recently released by Blaqk Sheep Music and tackles a number of controversial issues, including rape and child molestation.
According to Busy Signal's manager, Shane Brown, the track, which is entitled Judgement Book was recorded some two years ago but was recently released because of the upsurge of reported rape cases.
Brown says that the incarcerated artiste was inspired to do the single after hearing about a specific rape case over the news but the song was unfortunately shelved.
Another embattled reggae artiste, Buju Banton, also spoke out against child molestation in his single How it Ago Go, which expressed his views on the issue as a father. It has also been said that the reggae artiste's controversial single Boom Bye Bye was inspired by a rape case involving a young boy and an older man.
Reggae singjay, Queen Ifrica, also tackles child molestation in her single, Daddy and the self-professed king of the dancehall, Beenie Man, condemned statutory rape in his hit single Straight Prison.
Sizzla Kalonji also lightly touched on the topic with Haffi Get It.
However, what is arguably one of the most powerful songs from a Jamaican musician that tackles abuse is Tanya Stephens' No Means No. The song from her album, Infallible, passionately speaks out against sexual abuse and encourages victims to tell someone about their plight instead of enduring the torture.
This is a miniscule number of musicians compared to the slew of artistes in the dancehall/reggae pantheon. There might be more songs that have not received more attention or, like Judgement Book, was shelved, but what is evident is that most Jamaican musicians either don't think that their fans want to hear anti-rape songs or are just not inspired or willing to write one.