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Letter of the Day | Do black lives matter? The danger of dancehall

Published:Friday | July 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Writing in The Gleaner of July 5, 2017, George Davis commented on the Observer's editorial published Wednesday, June 28, 2017, headlined 'Those ill-fated Alkaline, Vybz Kartel videos'.

Davis writes: "Because of the difficulty comprehending the line of argument, I am still unsure whether I should reject as nonsense, or accept as sensible, the points made." Now, while I am certainly no fan of the Jamaica Observer and I, too, have criticisms of the editorial, Davis' disingenuous vacillations left me with no such doubts. His article is demonstrably unadulterated rubbish.

He is obviously deeply bothered (though he pretends not to be) by criticisms of dancehall, particularly when it is named as one of the causative factors of crime and violence in Jamaica. He quotes the editorial as saying it was unfortunate that the makers of the Alkaline video "could not have foreseen the deleterious implications of their actions on the wider society ...". Then he comments: "What deleterious implications? How many men have killed other men or are planning to kill others after watching the music videos?"


Sinister statement


What an asinine statement! That's totally beside the point. Does Davis really want us to believe he cannot see any deleterious implications, no negative fallout, from these two video productions and much else in dancehall? The videos After All and Infrared do not merely depict a side of life in Jamaica, as Davis says, but in fact glamorise and romanticise violence and criminality and create false consciousness in black people by promoting a totally misguided notion of rebellion and accomplishment.

It is eminently reasonable to make a direct connection between degenerate dancehall expressions such as these and others and a 14-year-old boy taking an illegal gun to shoot a nine-year-old, among many other such incidents. Something is seriously wrong with our educated middle class. Too many of its members either completely support, interminably vacillate or adopt irrationally contradictory positions on the issue of dancehall's danger to our development, if not seriously policed and proscribed.

Undoubtedly, the problem is, wittingly or unwittingly, that black people place very little premium on the lives of most blacks in this country and it is really only their lives that are being affected and ruined by this corrosive phenomenon. If others were being similarly affected, there would be no double-speak on the issue. We would fix it by any means necessary.