Vybz Kartel, the popular Jamaican Dancehall deejay, and the controversy surrounding his lyrics continue.
It was only recent that it was reveal that some Caribbean countries have banned the artistes, giving reason to the violent materials echoed in his songs. In a recent interview with BBC Caribbean, the Jamaican artistes vehemently defended his position and chided individual governments.
Kartel, whose really name is Adidja Palmer, told the BBC Caribbean that his controversial lyrics reflect the harsh realities of societies today. In defence the artistes stated, “Parents and society have failed the children if you’re looking to Vybz Kartel to raise your children. My lyrics are a reflection of society, I am merely mirroring society on an artistic level, so if you don’t like what you see, don’t blame the mirror.”
Frankly, I believed that the reason Vybz Kartel has a career is because sex and violence sells. Simple he has done what many companies and businessmen have done capitalized on it. This however does not justifies Vybz Kartel position, as he has argued previously; most notable his Letter to the Editor that was sparked by Ardenne High School’s Principal, Esther Tyson.
Omar, from Guyana and one of those who commented on BBC Caribbean website, issued a valid point noting, “Kartel’s lyrics are imbued with debauchery, raunchiness, gang violence and obscenities of the highest degree; which is something the government of St. Lucia is not willing to have propagated live; so if yo cah comply yo get deny.”
Clear this sort of controversy sends a message to the Jamaican government and also speaks volume about the expected impact of music of this sort on the soaring crime figures. Sadly, the imagery one gets of Jamaica, and dancehall by extension, have not been extremely positive. It should also be noted that Dancehall music, by its very nature, incites a violent; it’s like gas to fire. As such, it is time that artistes like Kartel, Mavado and others recognizes that their music do influence the mind and take the necessary actions to prevent such blatant support for criminal actions.
I will not be a hypocrite; I too dance to this music, but that in no way make it good. Bad things are usually infectious and as a friend of mine rightful note, herein is where our problems lies.
The Jamaica Gleaner, May 8, 2010 editorial made the point of “communities saturated with gunmen who do not hesitate to turn their weapons on innocents, including infants…” Whilst the Jamaica Gleaner was making a point as it relates to the violent communities in St. James. One cannot help but generalized that much of the young persons and others involved in the criminal activities in Jamaica are ‘die-hearted’ fans of Kartel or his rival Gaza, headed by Mavado. Living in Jamaica, reading, listening or watching one would have realized the impact some of these artistes and song have had on our youth. All major news outlets in Jamaica have over the last few years increasingly brought stories of ‘Gully’ and ‘Gaza’ gangs or related stories in schools and even communities. ‘Gully’ is headed by Mavado and ‘Gaza’ by Vybz Kartel.
While many others have listen these songs and have not been impressed on to commit any values that go against society, highlights the fact of predisposition. Predisposition, however are related to several factors, such as feeling of rejection, failure and even social conditions. Note well Mr. Palmer has frequent point out that this sort of music is ‘ghetto music’, in other words it might be providing the motivation for communities considered ‘ghetto’ in Jamaica where criminal acts are prevalent. This is not to say crime does not exist in affluent areas regarded as ‘uptown areas’.
It’s the destruction of the society; the best then is to quarantine this infection!
From my location here in Kingston, Jamaica I wish to say “well done” Barbados and St. Lucia. I look forward to similar steps being followed in Jamaica!