*** Disclaimer: The following letter was written by an anonymous Jamaican. It does not necessarily reflect the views of 18 Karat Reggae. ***
As a Jamaican I would like to address the state of Jamaica’s music genre of Dancehall and the route it has taken in recent years. For years Jamaica has been admired and respected for her fierceness and her firm unyielding stand against mental and cultural pollution. From the degradation and disrespect of women, to the feminisation of men, to the destruction of the youth.
Through reggae/dancehall music, Jamaica has so actively opposed these things in order to keep black people on a path of purity and normalcy. Today, however, through the same genre of Dancehall, and what it has now accepted into its lyrics in recent years, the strong and rebellious Jamaica now bows to the filth it once rejected. Beginning with artist Vybz Kartel, Dancehall has taken a sharp turn into the path we fought to stay away from, and with new artists such as Alkaline and Gage, the corruption of Dancehall only continues.
Reggae music from its entrance was protest music, music born from the voices of the down trodden and oppressed, music that was most often a cry for Africa, repatriation and a protest against inequality, racism, poverty, immorality, police brutality, and more. The world heard our plight and it immediately inspired their admiration of Jamaica. Yet, even through the midst of our plight, Dancehall emerged and the music was now split in two.
The music of Jamaica is Jamaica. It is our voice, our talent, our cries, our anger, our happiness, our success, and our way of thinking. Why, then, have we altered our way of thinking? Why are we no longer angry? Why have we now welcomed what was once rejected? There has always been a line for explicitness in Dancehall and as of recent, that line has been crossed and blurred by new Dancehall artists. The very graphic music of artists such as Vybz Kartel, Alkaline, and Gage (to name a few), are not only offensive to our women as a whole but to our mothers, sisters, and girl children. It is nothing more than a disrespect masquerading as “entertainment,” as we are allowing the women to believe certain acts are expected of them.
While selectors, sounds, and we, as the public, continue to support these artists who promote the degradation of our women, we are destroying our culture and increasing the mental pollution we once rallied against!
Reggae/Dancehall music was made for the people, not against them. Yet in recent years, it has attempted to “Americanise” its sound in foolish belief that this will gain the artist recognition and worldly fame, not realising that the world turns to Jamaica in admiration of her originality. However, as our music no longer rebels, and as we support artists who promote the corruption of Dancehall, we leave leeway for our admirers to steal what rightfully belongs to Jamaicans.
As a Jamaican, a young Jamaican, I must voice out at the desecration of our musical legacy. Jamaican People, I ask you to come out of your place of comfort, come out of your place of compliance, and reject the corruption of Dancehall! Speak out against it! Our legacy has been and continues to be stolen by people all over the world and should we continue to excuse artists like Alkaline and Gage, Dancehall music will only be left to be destroyed, corrupted, and polluted by the hands of its very own creators.
Signed, A concerned Jamaican