While Donald Trump is trying to ban Muslims from entering the United States, in the United Kingdom, many establishments are banning dancehall events from taking place in their venue. Dancehall has been wrongly and unfairly labeled as bringing violence and slackness with it, wherever it goes. The truth is, dancehall does not bring slackness or violence, people does, but dancehall as a whole has been bearing the brunt of the pain.
18 Karat Reggae spoke with DJ Face from Montego Bay, Jamaica who now resides in the United Kingdom and he told us how the ban is impacting his earnings and the music.
“Now promoters can’t even get a club. Once you say the word ‘bashment’ you won’t get the club. Promoters of most bashment raves are now underground and the events are being held at secret locations,” he said.
Just last month, British tabloids like Daily Star and Daily mail released articles about a Jamaican dancehall boat party on the River Thames descended into chaos when a reveler was stabbed.
An owner of a London nightclub also said he was ordered to stop playing dancehall music.
Roy Seda, owner of the Dice Bar in Croydon, claimed he had been told that Jamaican music is “unacceptable” by the Metropolitan Police. He said he came under so much pressure that he now requires disc jockeys to sign contracts not to play the genre.
The report also cited police reports that the club’s license was under review, saying it is associated with crime and disorder.
“We had a flyer which said R&B, garage, house, bashment and hip-hop and I was advised to remove the word ‘bashment’ because chart and commercial music is considered safer,” Seda told the
“A ban on dancehall music in clubs will definitely affect the growth of the music on the UK scene. The artistes will get fewer concerts and reggae and dancehall disc jockeys will also get less work. The music will just become underground,” DJ Face said.
TJ “Stylah” Blackwood, another club DJ, has also experienced the police clampdown. Originally from Constant Spring, he now lives in London.
“I have played at clubs in Croydon and Central London and there have been signs on the wall saying “NO BASHMENT”. Immediately my heart sunk. Dancehall is my passion, I even named my sound system Dancehall Syndicate, in the hope of showing people a movement that can highlight dancehall in a positive and influential way,” he said. “A member of my sound has even decided to leave the dancehall scene as he hates the way it is heading; he now plays in the commercial, alternative pop scene. He no longer collects dancehall music and it’s a huge shame.”
Blackwood says that will not stop him from finding ways to play dancehall to the people.
“I will never give up on dancehall. When I enter these clubs, I will play alternative and the patrons, mainly white people will beg me to play Sean Paul, Shaggy, Bob Marley, Beres Hammond and even Vybz Kartel and Popcaan.”
Since the dancehall ban, TJ has noticed a significant decline in patronage at some venues.
“Clubs are seeing a decrease in patrons where no dancehall is allowed. Club owners think dancehall is all killing and shooting, but I have played hours of dancehall and party and love songs and it’s absolutely fine,” he said.