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Dancehall is therapy

Published:Thursday | April 22, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

About a year ago appearing on Dennis Brooks' current affairs programme LRC on Nationwide Radio, I was asked to comment on whether dancehall music was influential in the instigation of crime, violence and depravity which had long been a scourge in society.

The seeds of social depravity, materialism, wickedness and badmanship were long sown prior to dancehall music which functioned not as an instigator or promulgator but as a mirror, which reflected social banes and demented values, was the essence of my reply.

The programme host raised the next exploratory query whether it was a more accurate observation that dancehall music in fact instigated, inspired and even legitimised negativity present in society. While conceding a bit of ground that dancehall legitimised to a meagre extent certain conduct, I held to my view that its most marked consequence was a useful tool of ventilation and litmus test which revealed the mindset of a people.

Social temperatures

Dancehall, in essence, I argued, should be treasured not censored for it is the thermometer which informs us of social temperatures. It should neither be blamed nor condemned but be used to explore a curative response towards social banes was my contention.

The view expressed by Ian Boyne's in his column of Sunday, February 24, 2008 that "what we have in the dancehall is the glorification of the gun; the "inciting of violence" perspective runs contrary to the more tolerant view which several people, including me, hold of it as a social thermostat.

I am, etc.,