In the book “Thing Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, there is a saying that if a man washes his hands, he can eat with kings. This means that regardless of what a man has done in his past, if he changes his dirty ways and ask for forgiveness then he deserves a second chance. It is similar to the saying: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”
Dancehall legend, Bounty Killer, has found himself in quite a dilemma. The grung god was invited to perform at a concert in recognition of International Women’s Day 2017. Many women and even some men thinks he should not perform on the show since he has been convicted of hitting women in the past.
The concert, which is being put on by the Bureau of Gender of Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, in partnership with the Aids Healthcare Foundation, is being held under the theme ‘Unite to End Gender Based Violence’.
In September 2010 Bounty Killer was arrested after a female companion of his, turned up at a police station bleeding and reported that he had assaulted her. In another incident earlier that year, he spent two weeks behind bars after being arrested by the Constant Spring police for beating up his girlfriend with a hammer. In fact, that beating was the catalyst for the dancehall slang “Hammer… Hammer”.
This is what has gotten some in the public outraged as they do not believe a perpetuator of gender violence should be included in an event which main focus is anti-gender violence.
According to Executive Director at WE-Change and Director of Tambourine Army, Latoya Nugent, due to the spirit of the concert and the day it is being held, it was a slap in the face of women especially in light of everything that has been happening since December 2016.
“Almost every day since December we wake up to a story about a woman being murdered, rape etcetera and I think what is perhaps the most heart-breaking part of it for me is that it is a concert that is planned by the ministry with responsibility for gender affairs. So when the ministry with responsibility for gender affairs is engaging somebody who is a known perpetrator of gender based violence (GBV) or violence against women, then I think that’s very problematic and I am still in shock about the processes that would have been involved in organizing this concert,” Nugent said.
In actuality this could be a great opportunity for Bounty Killer to talk to the public about domestic violence. He could not only apologize to all women but he can also educate both men on women on why gender based violence is wrong and need to cease.
With his platform and influence, it might be a mistake to silence Bounty Killer on such an important, matter, regardless of what he did in the past.