Just as the world is growing outraged of Donald Trump’s banning of citizens from certain majority Muslim countries to enter the United States, many dancehall fans are outraged of the recent spike of white artists trying to do dancehall. Though Trump’s move is political and the backlash on these white artists is more cultural, both situations have a lot in common.
On one hand, you have the leader of a country saying that he wants to keep people out of his country for the protection of the citizens within. On the other hand, you have dancehall fans thinking that these white artists will come in and take over the genre thus destroying the real dancehall culture as they know it.
The frustration from reggae and dancehall fans is understandable. We have seen it over and over where less talented lighter shade artists have garnered way more success than their more talented darker shade counterparts. This has gone back as far as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in reggae.
So before dancehall fans get angry, the question should be asked whether or not these white artists can bring new fans to the genre. It should not be looked at as some kind of white takeover of the culture but more of how we can grow the genre. This is every important when you consider that to be in the top ten on almost any sales chart for dancehall, an artist only need to sell a couple thousand copies.
No one will mistake Canadian dancehall artist, Snow, as a super talent but when he released the song “Informer”, it outsole every other dancehall song released that year. He also brought some new fans to dancehall and then shared his fans with talented dancehall stars like Buju Banton, Terror Fabulous, Beenie Man, Nadine Sutherland and Louie Culture.
Collie Buddz is not on the level of artists like I-Wayne, Richie Spice, Jah Cure or Tarrus riley, yet he outsold all of them when he came out.
Therefore it is undeniable that white dancehall artists bring more fans into dancehall and as a result this will also benefit the darker more talented artists. It is a shame that it is that way but we can waste our time discussing why things are the way they are or we can take advantage of the way things are.
The 18 Karat Reggae Facebook Page posted four videos of artists showcasing their talent last week. Three of the artists were white and one was Black. The truth is, the Black artist was miles ahead of his white counterparts where talent is concerned, yet all three white artists got more views, likes and shares than the Black artist.
So we cannot downplay the importance of having some white artists in dancehall as there is something about white people doing dancehall that gets people excited.