The Penny Section of modern Dancehall

It is no secret that music has a profound effect on the mental state of a person. We experience it every day when we play music to lift our spirits, for motivation when working out or doing chores and even to help us connect with other feelings such as sadness or a broken heart

Advertisements

I grew up hearing the term penny section, not really understanding what it meant. I knew it was associated with making noise because they term is always used with be quiet but it wasn’t until I was in the 5th year of school,  studying Shakespeare, that I learned how that term came about and what it truly meant.

The penny section referenced the poor people or peasants in European theatre history. These people were basically the poor who earned in pennies and as such, when they walked or moved in the slightest the pennies would jingle. These people also paid very little to enter the theatre and were very rowdy. It is believed that the sexual innuendoes in the plays written by Shakespeare were to appease the penny section because the complexities of issues discussed by works such as Shakespeare was above the competencies of the underprivileged penny sectioners.

In looking at how the Jamaican DanceHall genre/scene has changed in the past few years, it was this thought that came to my head. Dancehall music has now become a style that only appeases the penny section of Jamaica.

Recently, I was viewing and old video posted by vlogger @duttyberry where Sean Paul was lauded for yet another number one song on the billboard charts having collaborated with @Sia on the hit Cheap Thrills (which I absolutely love). The song is a true reflection of the growth of dancehall music and all the barriers that past dancehall artists have broken to help position our music as one that is not only for the night but also can be listened and enjoyed during the day at a family BBQ or Office Party.

But to no surprise of mine, there was the penny section complaining about the fact that @Vybzkartel is the best thing in dancehall, in fact, some fans even say he is Dancehall. I can admit that Vybz Kartel is quite a talented artist and I have liked many of his music over the years, but I have disliked far more than I have liked. There’s no doubt that Kartel has shaped the recent image of the Jamaican Dancehall scene as is evident in the lyric style of many other artists who have followed in is foot step or have been given a “buss” by Kartel and or his management team. One name comes to mind @Alkaline who has not only copies his lyrical style and delivery but even his look.

I remember when I was a young girl listening to dancehall music, the days when dancehall wasn’t just catering to peasants so to speak. The truth is, Dancehall has always been sexually lewd and even violent but there was a certain je ne se qua associated with how the issues were presented. I remember songs like “Fowl Affair: Silvercat, Debbie’s Cat: Mega Plough and even more recently These Streets: Tanya Stephens ” that discussed sexuality in a manner where a child could easily listen to the lyrics and not comprehend the double meanings of the song. The old fashioned dancehall, that is missed by many Jamaicans, shows skill and craft my the writers and musicians. It shows a true understanding of the art of writing and the use of literary devices in writing. It basically shows, what I would outrightly call intelligence.

Modern Dancehall lacks this kind of intelligence craftiness and these days literally nothing is hidden in similes, metaphors and personifications, hyperboles etc. Everything is out there for the world to hear and see, in not just the lyrics but the dance videos associated with them. After all the work that had been done by various dancehall artist to include Sean Paul, one of Dancehall’s biggest international crossover artists, we are now being taken back to the point where dancehall music is being scoffed at by various countries (UK, Trinidad and Barbadoes)  and even by Jamaicans themselves. It is quite an irony of sorts where the person that the penny section are crowning king of the dancehall, can’t even perform outside of Jamaica, regardless of him currently serving a long term sentence for murder.

It is no secret that music has a profound effect on the mental state of a person. We experience it every day when we play music to lift our spirits, for motivation when working out or doing chores and even to help us connect with other feelings such as sadness or a broken heart. It, therefore, can be said that music may also have a negative impact on people/society as it does a positive one and as Jamaica’s Dancehall penny section takes over so has the ultimate degradation of the society. The whole culture of Jamaica seems to be going down the drain with everything being over-sexualized and violent as is represented in the music now consistently published in the Dancehall.

I am no social scientist, but I am a thinker and I can’t help but think that the over saturation of mediocrity in Jamaica, in many aspects but more pointedly in the music that we listen as a society have had a profound impact on the current state of mind and ultimate behavioral manifestations that we see in Jamaica today.

As the Mahatma Gandhi states, “a man is a product of his thoughts” which is more commonly expressed in Jamaica as so a man thinketh so is he, it can’t be any clearer that what we feed our minds is ultimately what we will become. So if Jamaicans to a great extent are feeding their minds with overly violent and sexual content, even as very young children, then is there any surprise that the society is manifesting these very things?

“Music can change the world because it can change people.”
― Bono

What do you think about this situation, please share in the comments.

mahatmagandhi1

If I Step on your Toes…?

If I step on your toes but didn’t do it intentionally or much worst found it funny, does that mean that you’re not or shouldn’t feel the hurt I inflicted?

china-blackface

Black Face. The age-old issue of people dressing up as black people for whatever god damn reasons they can come up with. Its funny, it’s for Halloween so relax, it’s our culture, its whatever. It doesn’t matter the reasons that people want to come up with for perpetuating or accepting this demeaning practice. Nothing justifies blackface, no matter where in the world it’s being done, from Hollywood to Holland to Japan or China. The mockery of black people’s bodies, cultures and overall existence is just not ok, and we should not have to be telling people this over and over and over again.

In Jamaica, we have a saying, “frog say, what is joke to you is death to me.” This saying perfectly sums up the situation that black people constantly face with other races insistence on donning black face every chance they get. You find it funny, but this representation of black people has done what can be said to be irreversible damage to the perception of black people by others and how many black people see themselves.

Blackface was started in Hollywood and widely promoted across the United States and many other countries and,  contrary to what the defenders of this cruel practice want to think, no one was doing black people any favours dressing up with ridiculously shine black polish and exaggerated pink overdrawn lips and excessively large butts.  Blackface wasn’t started to create positive representations for black people, it was done out of pure hate and racism and want intent on mocking and further dehumanizing a group of people who fought hard to be granted by men the very rights given to everyone else at birth, by our creator.

In a recent post from Asian Boss titled “What do the Chinese think about black people (blackface)” it is seen where though many of the respondents know that blackface is rooted in negativity and emerged from a place of hate, they still see it as ok for them to do it because it’s just for fun. Even when told that its offensive to black people they still insist on saying their intent wasn’t bad and its just for laughs so black people shouldn’t be upset. If that wasn’t enough to get one riled up, scan the comments and you see people from all walks of life, even some black people, making excused and going as far as saying by us saying blackface is unacceptable in any manifestation we are playing the race card.

How are we playing the race card when there is so much history of blackface and the damage it has caused in the past and in the present? How is it playing the race card when you never see black people dressing up as other races to make fun of them and treat them as some cartoon caricature, over exaggerating their features and acting dumb? Everyone has something to say about black racism and usually that something is that it doesn’t exist and it died with the old folks. Everyone is quick to tell black people that it’s not a race issue its a class issue, not realizing that for black people race and class are one in the same. No matter how much a black person earns or where they live, that doesn’t stop them from being wrongfully arrested and killed, that doesn’t stop them from being followed around in stores or denied service and especially in Asia it doesn’t stop people from not sitting beside them on the train or from not telling their screaming children that it is ridiculous to be afraid of a person’s color.

Black people know racism because we have been on the receiving end of it from the day we are born till the day we die. Just like a lawyer doesn’t walk into a conference for medical doctors and act like they’re an authority on medical issues, it is the same way that it’s wrong for others to try to make excuses for why black people shouldn’t react how they do to acts of racism because they cant speak to the nuances of anti-black racism. I go back to my initial question, if step on your toes unintentionally and or laugh about it, does that make it hurt you any less or at all? No, you still feel the pain of my actions whether I deliberately did it or not.

I am currently living in Japan and its true that anti black racism is very suble here and some people may not even want to call it racism but when youre looking up jobs to apply for and you see white only, or only requests for people from what is conceptualised as white only countries, or parents asking for their kids to be taken from the class with the black teacher and be put in the class with the white teacher, or when kids are acting a fool and crying when they see black people and the parents response is not to teach them that this person is just human with a different skin color, instead they cuddle and sheild said kids from the big bad black person. These are stories or things black people have to deal with every day and much worst being spat on or having their black or biracial kids face bullying when they go to school and have to hear stories about how a radish is black and dirty because it didn’t shower properly. All of this is just damn ridiculous and quite frankly there is no excuse for any of it.

It’s funny how people come up with the excuse that Asian countries are homogenous and so we have to be patient and tolerant with people’s offences because they are based on ignorance. But, on the flip side, black nations are always so open and accepting of others who don’t look like them and who they don’t see in their everyday existence. Yes, Asia is homogenous but so is 90% of the places that black people live. We too only see non-black people on tv or read about them in stories.  Sure, black children may stare and even touch the hair and skin of a foreigner, but that’s normal curiosity expressed by children. Correct me if I am wrong but I have never experienced, seen or read of any instances where black people have treated none black people in any manner that makes them feel less than human, not black children and especially not black adults. So why then is it normal for us to see and treat others as humans but we have to deal with this kind of nonsense the world over?

When a black person says blackface is offensive, listen to them. Don’t counter with any nonsense excuses about why it could be something other than the offence it is. Better yet, stop dressing up as black people if you do and when you see it being done by others, use the opportunity to educate them and help to get rid of this nasty practice once and for all.  We cant build bridges if the aggressors constantly refuse to acknowledge that there is a need to build a bridge in the first place. And for God sakes, stop making the excuse that it’s difficult to find a black person to do something because black people are everywhere and though referred to as a minority in America, worldwide we are still one of the largest populations.

See the video in the link below

Asian Boss

What are your thoughts on the perpetuation of blackface and on people’s insistence of finding reasons why black people should forget all the damage that it has caused and just laugh at this despicable depiction and disrespect to us and our cultures?

 

How soon after you meet someone should you get naked ?

How soon after meeting someone should one get naked in front of them? Well, isn’t that the age-old question. I don’t actually have an answer but in my opinion, the standard appropriate time to do so would be at least when you have spent enough time with the person in your clothes, such that you can trust that you know the person enough. Who knows how much time that is? Surely I don’t.

Nakedness is basically an uncomfortable position for the global majority because of the pressures that are put on us, both men and women, to look a certain way the moment we hit puberty. So many things become unattractive at that stage of life along with the world wind of other things to consider at this point. As a result of this newfound sense of awareness, many of us come up with ingenious ways of hiding the things that we hate about our bodies, even from the sister or brother that you’ve been sharing a room with to this point. Imagine how crafty one has to be to hide their body in such circumstances but we manage.

I have issues with my body, but I wouldn’t exactly call them struggles since when I compare my issues with those of other people, it’s pretty minor. I simply just don’t want to be fat and though I am quite insensitive sometimes to the plight of people who eat themselves to oblivion or those who won’t eat for whatever reason, I also have made pointed effort to appreciate these struggles. To understand that we take a lot out on our bodies, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, our love, and hatred. It’s all manifested in the different bodies that we see covered in various layers or not covered at all. These layers all bodies tell stories about the journeys of those bodies and of those who carry them around.

When I found out I was successful in gaining a spot on the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, I began researching about the city that I was placed in. What I found out was that going to the onsen or public bath was an age-old Japanese tradition but the difference with this style of hot water bathing and what I am used to in Jamaica, is that there is just an open concept and men bathe together with other men and women bathe together with other women. So in essence, all your flaws are open to being seen and speculated about by many people. Forget privacy. Even though I was scared by the thought of choosing to give up my privacy, I was also intrigued by this idea and it became one of the things I looked forward to doing once I got to Japan.

Having experienced the onsen in Japan, it allows one to have a greater appreciation of the human body, especially that of the female. Our bodies are quite diverse and go through a myriad of changes throughout our lifetime, all of which can be observed from a single day visit to a  Japanese onsen. You’ll see grandmothers, mothers, teenager daughters, little girls and babies all bathing together. I must admit, I don’t speak or understand Japanese so I can’t speak on whether or not my body has been judged by anyone in the manner that I have judged my own body over the years, but I must say that after fighting my fears and dipping in the onsen tradition, I have grown to love myself even more.

There is just something uplifting about seeing women being confident in their bodies and not hiding away in fear or shame.

I still don’t know what’s the appropriate time to get naked in front of people you have just met but for me, the record was one day at an onsen, with my co-workers. It was a little awkward, but enjoyable and helped with bonding us even though we already shared the unique experience of being a JET.

If you are ever in Japan, please visit and onsen, it might change your life.

 

 

 

Twisted

A tortured soul

You’ve invaded spaces

You capture their souls

Youre a chameleon, but

your true nature shows

just like your many colors

no one knows, the depths

of the torture,

the torture

that is your soul.

today you have a voice

calm, quiet, almost peaceful

but not for long

‘cuz eventually its like

everything comes crashing and

you can’t help your crazy

you survive by transforming souls

you creep in, win on nature

and once your attached

its impossible to unhinge

no one knows the monster, that within

link monks they pray

for you to prey

until

they themselves are

transformed

into your tortured replica

your work is done

Cultivating

sick-basil-400x533

I  didn’t birth you

I picked you

There were many choices

I chose you

I nurtured and cared for you

Daily

I never asked much of you

I only wanted you to flourish

So, I encouraged you

And now

At the peak of what should be your life

You’re dead

And I’m confronted

Once more

With my inability… to sustain

The things I love

I go on.

 

 

When

When will we be united,

when will our souls stop feeling the loss of you,

when will you recognize that its time for you to stand up for us

when will you stop being apart of what hurts us

When will you see that together we are better than apart

when will we stop shedding tears because you keep messing with our hearts

When will we not need to be strong

When will we be able to unlaod some of the burdens

When will we be able to not demand better, but experience it

When will you recognize that we are a reflection of each other, that if you’re broken then we are also

When will we be able to recieve full comfort and support from you with all that we face

When will we recover our value and our grace

Recognizing that we are together in this space

Fighting together for the upliftment of our race

We need you, we need you to stop being part of  the reason we are broken

we need you to see each of us, whether you know us or not

as a sister, a mother or daughter – and want the best for us

We need you to get away from the promiscuity,

This was taught to you to break our family

we need our daughters and sons to see

the reflection of what our creator meant things to be

the black man together with a black woman, like yin and yan

working together, not in competition.

Let your black woman help you and show you support

Let us love you and be your mate

that’s how we started out black man

and even though it may seem so, I dont think its too late

But everytime I am hurt by another one of you

I cant help but lose faith

But I dont want it to be, black man

Because I know that there is none like you and they were wrong

I know the struggles you’ve had to bare, and I know you are strong

but the same struggles are what we share, so allow us to be there

We need each other, cause together is the only way we can answer

When?

Let when be now.

 

 

White life + Blue Life: American Police lives matter twice as much.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FBigBoi%2Fvideos%2F10153543767307653%2F&show_text=0&width=400

Another one bites the dust….I guess that’s the song being sung by all the white supremacist racist people who have been all over social media defending the murderous cops who stole the life of #AltonSterling last night in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I spent the better half of my day mourning the death of a man that I have never met. Even though I didn’t know Alton Sterling,  that didn’t prevent me from experiencing serious trauma from the execution of this man. I didn’t know him but I don’t need to know him to see him as my father, my brother or any of my male relatives. I also couldnt help seeing myself in him, because as been recently proven by Sandra Bland’s death, the only weapon that a black person needs,  man or woman, is melanin.

This incident is one of the many that the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement can attribute its genesis to. Black lives are being threatened everyday not just in America but all over the world, in America it’s just more violent.But instead of saying yes, black lives do matter just like everyone elses, we have to hear chants from white supremacists about white lives and blue lives, both of which are not in any way threatened on a daiy basis. Blue lives and White lives have never been a target for extermination by any organized group or system. White lives nor blue lives don’t have to wake up everyday with the reality that though they may be in good health, the day may be their last, simply because they wear a skin that has been demonized for centuries. Melanin makes you guilty even when you’re  not. For all those who are saying that this isn’t a race thing, since the police were clearly under no immediate threat and the man was not comitting a crime, please explain why then was he murdered in the streets? I would say like an animal, but we all know you value the lives of animals over that of black people. Hashtag justice for Harambe, yeah, justice for a fucking gorrila but not for an innocent man who was executed in the streets by white cops.

Arrest by definition is a stoppage or sudden cessation of motion. Arrest doesn’t mean you cant ask questions, it doesnt mean you have to lay on the ground but for American cops, once the “suspect” is black they have to stop breathing to convince the police that they are not “resisting arrest” because even the involuntary up and down motions of the chest cavity when breating is seen as a threat to me exterminated once that person is black. And if I am reaching, down below is video evidence of what actual resisting arrest looks like and the  man managed to escape with his life intact. I know some of you are “color blind” but you dont need glasses to see what’s obvious in these instances. The offender in this case wears the skin of automatic goodness, the skin of superiority, the skin of morality and so even when behavior dictates otherwise, he is still given the benefit of the doubt and gets to go home to his family.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frobert.west.5070%2Fvideos%2F1542189842464660%2F&show_text=0&width=400

This isn’t even the only evidence of the obvious bias against black people by white police officers, just check this video below and you’ll see the difference in approach when dealing with an armed and dangerous white man, versus dealing with a possibly armed black man. Somehow, police have all the time in the world to call backup, to talk to the white offender and wait for compliance and even then,  shoot one time and wait  an additional half an  hour for compliance but a subdued black man is killed  because he supposedly didn’t comply to the order of not moving when one officer’s knee is on his chest while the other one is kneeling in his torso.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAFROPUNK%2Fvideos%2F10153703488611623%2F&show_text=0&width=400

The real truth is that white people are given respect, no matter their condition, rich poor saint or demon. The simple fact that they have been “blessed” with the coat of innocence prevents them from being killed no matter how guilty they are. But the black man, throughout history, has always been seen as less than and so when a white cop speaks he should simply become stiff like a piece of log to prevent himself from dying. What are the rights of black citizens in America when it comes to encounters with the police?  All these internet superintendents and chiefs of police, please let me know. Doesn’t a human being deserve to know what he is being accused of and to be treated with respect and dignity by the ones who are payed to protect and serve? Are the police in America only paid to protect and serve the white community, evident by their actions to always de-escalate situations with white offenders but killing black men, women and children on sight?

When will you stop justifying the murder of innocent people with their past wrap sheet. Once a person has done the prescribed time for a crime, they are no longer “guilty”of such crime. And in the instance when those police officers decided to murder that man, I am sure they didnt know that twenty years ago he was in prison for agrravated assault ecetera. So, since his criminal record wasn’t known at the time that he was executed, it is of no relevance when trying to justify the actions of the police. You know why the white media and justice system has always had to go this route to justify murder, it’s because 9 out of 10 times in the instance when the person is murdered they are not doing a darn thing to warrant being killed. When did we start killing people for 20 year old wrap sheets? Oh wait, Amerikkka have always been doing it to black people.

All in all, Alton Sterling has gone for 20 years without a criminal conviction so any sane  person would summize that it is possible he turned his life around and was trying his best to raise his kids, surviving in a system that doesn’t give you even a first chance, and clearly not a second, if you happen to be born the wrong shade.  Even if Alton had a gun on him, (which from what I saw, must be the tiniest gun in the world based on how the police took it from his pocket)he was of no threat to those police officers. He was the only one in danger in the whole altercation and now he is dead. Five children have lost their father, the oldest of which is fifteen years old. How do you expect this young man to feel knowing that his father was murdered in the streets by cops and white people are all over the media demonizing him and defending the actions of these officers?

How long do you think it will be before the cup runneth over? How many black people must die before we acknowledge that racism, lynching and white supremacy aren’t things of the past and have lived on from generation to generation, passed down from the bastards who first decided that my people were animals and deserved to be subjugated and brutalized? A token black friend doesn’t prevent anyone from being racist. If so many people have token black friends and claimed not to be racist there would be no one defending the actions of the police in any of the situations resulting in the death of a black man and especially not in this case.

I pray for the family of Mr. Alton Sterling  and I want them to know they dont greave alone.

#JusticeforAltonSterling  #blackGenocide  #BLACKLIVESMATTER