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Clarifying dancehall therapy

Published:Sunday | April 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I wish to clarify my position regarding the letter that was published on April 22 under the headline 'Dancehall is therapy'. First, my view is not that dancehall in and of itself is therapy, as indicated by the headline, but rather that it should be used to achieve therapy because it (the music) is primarily a mirror instrument which highlights social ills and therefore should spur society into action towards making right its unpleasant conscience.

Second, the thrust of my piece, which was initially entitled 'Society has already made up its mind', was that the action in banning the different deejays from entering Barbados, St Lucia, etc, indicate that dancehall's influence is highly overrated. I submit two examples to support this. When dancehall's previously self-styled epitome of badness, 'Ninja Man', used an amnesty to hand over his gun to then Senior Superintendent of Police Reneto Adams at Sting, and recorded a song encouraging others to do the same, none followed suit.

The song did not receive any 'forwards' as did the other tunes by deejays which advocated badness. This, in my opinion, confirms that society has made up its mind, and dancehall is, in essence, a by-product of a polluted mental spring of a demented family structure, a political cesspool, poverty and materialism, which we should correct. The music will then take care of itself. If such is not corrected, then we will forever have 'negative' music reflecting the state of mind of the people.

Overrated influence

My final example to illustrate the overrated influence of the music is the topical homophobic nature. Most of the top-flight dancehall deejays, at some point or another, have advocated the elimination of homosexuals. When they require a 'forward', the most desperate deejay reaches for this line. Yet, the majority of cases in which individuals of such preferences in Jamaica have been killed was blamed on a partner and not an 'Average Joe' driven by the call of the deejay to 'slew dem'.

Logical conclusion I therefore submit is dancehall's influence is overrated, society had long made up its mind, and dancehall should not be condemned but used to bring society closer towards identity, awareness and problem solving.

I am, etc.,