In Jamaica, the favorite pastime is dancehall, not just dancehall the music but the actual place that Jamaicans go to enjoy the music as they dance their troubles away. In Brazil, the favorite pastime is soccer which is evident by them having won the most World Cups, 5 total, followed by Germany and Italy with 4 each.
Today if you got to Brazil and talk soccer the first name you would hear is Neymar. Likewise if you went to Jamaica and talk about dancehall, the first name you would hear is Vybz Kartel.
Vybz Kartel is the top dancehall artiste right now and some would argue that he is the greatest ever. While Neymar is not regarded as the greatest soccer player or even Brazilian soccer player ever (See Pele), he is definitely the greatest Brazilian soccer player right now.
Being the best of their country’s respective pastimes is not the only thing that Vybz Kartel and Neymar have in common. The number one thing that binds the two great men is their hatred of their blackness.
Maybe it no fault of their own and we should not blame either men for their self-hating. Maybe they are just playing the cards they were dealt in this racist man made white world, especially here in the western hemisphere.
Neymar father is Black and his mother his white which makes his skin tone lighter than the average brothers and sisters. In a 2010 interview, he was asked if he ever had to face racism on or off the soccer field. “Never,” Neymar responded. “Not in the field, nor outside of it. It is not like I am Black, you know?” he continued.
Not only does Neymar denies his Black father and Black heritage but he goes out of his way to make sure his appearance is like that of a white person. Part of keeping is white appearance is having a hair care regime, which involved getting his hair chemically straightened every few weeks, then bleached blonde.
When Vybz Kartel referred to himself as king of the dancehall, fans of his nemesis, Mavado, as well as fans of the other self-proclaimed king of the dancehall, Beenie Man, ridiculed Kartel and said king of skin bleaching is the only title he deserved.
Like Neymar and many Jamaicans, Vybz Kartel is uncomfortable with his blackness and turned to skin bleaching in order to get a whiter looking appearance. At first, Kartel denied the bleaching accusations and blamed his lightness on cake soap, a soap used for laundry rather than for bathing.
When Kartel’s skin got so light that the bleaching could not be denied, he embraced and promoted skin bleaching the same way Neymar embraced dying his hair blonde. Kartel even referred to himself as “Michael cake soap Jackson”; eluding to the fact that Michael Jackson also bleached his skin. Maybe if Kartel did not get a life sentence for murder, his nose job would have been next. For now, his fans just have to wait and see if he wins his appeal which starts this week.
If Kartel wins his appeal and become a free man, he will not be able to blame cake soap if his nose starts getting smaller; maybe he will blame the smaller nose on the sniffing of fab soap.
One thing is for sure, Vybz Kartel is the Neymar of dancehall, if that is not true, then Neymar is the Vybz Kartel of soccer.