The United States Supreme Court just passed the Marriage Equality act making same-sex marriage legal nationwide in the United States. Both supporters and detractors are out in force voicing their opinions on this landmark decision.
While we will hear a lot from the homosexual and religious communities, chances are we will not hear too much from the Reggae Dancehall community. The community that brought us classic songs like “Boom bye bye”, “Bun out Chi-Chi”, “No man should be alone”, “Mauma man duck” and countless others along those lines; will remain quiet in these historical times and on this historical decision.
There are some that say that reggae is music of love and should not stoop to the level of promoting hatred against any group anyway. Dancehall, however, although a child of reggae, has never really been an obedient child. From the late 80s when Shabba Ranks released “Mauma man Duck” and subsequently the release of “Boom bye bye” by Buju Banton, dancehall has been if not the most, one of the most anti-homosexual genres of music; with hip hop being the other contender.
Dancehall was, however, forced out of the anti-homosexuality stance after numerous boycotts and protests against reggae and dancehall acts by various LBGT groups. Some say dancehall was beaten into submission by the LBGT community after numerous event cancellations. Some dancehall acts were even forced to sign an agreement stating that they would no longer perform any music that could be considered anti-gay.
It is difficult to sit on the sideline and say dancehall artists should continue to speak out against homosexuality. After all, imagine how difficult it must be for some dancehall reggae artists to take care of their numerous children when everything is going well and it is easy to conclude that it must be almost an impossible tasks when concerts and events are being cancelled left and right.
While the actions of dancehall artists are understandable as they too have their families to feed, they should not be mum on the recent Supreme Court’s decision.
Right now, a man can marry another man anywhere in the United States but a reggae artist can be arrested for smoking marijuana in most places in the United States. So according to the supreme court, it is perfectly alright and legal for a grown man to use his penis to play in the feces of another man but if a grown man should dare put a marijuana joint to his lips, he could be thrown in jail. It is for situation like this why the dancehall artist cannot afford to be mummed at this time. Dancehall is the voice of poor people and right now poor people’s voices need to be heard.
It took the brutal murder of nine innocent Black people for the discussion to begin about taking down the confederate flags but only political clout for a man to be able to marry a man and a woman to marry a woman. Poor people don’t have this type of political clout, all we have are our voices; reggae dancehall is our loudest voice and cannot remain silent on these issues.
In these times, dancehall cannot be just another sweet lullaby, there needs to be some boom bye bye.