Before Vybz Kartel was charged, tried, convicted and sentenced for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams, the world boss was killing the self-esteem of many young Blacks.
While it can be argued whether or not Vybz Kartel is the best lyricist or even the best deejay in dancehall’s history, what cannot be denied is the fact that the so-called “world-boss” is the most influential deejay in the history of the genre. In fact, in an Onstage interview with Winfred Williams, the deejay once made the claim that his fans were like sheep and he was the shepherd; meaning he could get them to do whatever he wanted them to. He was not lying or even exaggerating when he made that statement.
Vybz Kartel’s influence was and is so great that he could have made a huge change in Jamaica for the better is he wanted to; instead he chose to use his influence to promote violence, filth and low-self-esteem in the impressionable minds of young dancehall fans. His influence was not just on the young and under-educated, however, he even somehow convinced respected college professors at the highest institutes of higher learning to condone and justify his folly.
Kartel pretty much used his influence to spit on the teachings of the great Marcus Garvey. While the national hero dedicated his entire life to teach Black people to see beauty in their melanin, Kartel destroyed those teachings for many young people with his promotion of skin bleaching.
To be fair to Vybz Kartel, he did not introduce skin bleaching to Jamaica. In fact, some dancehall fans are old enough to remember that veteran dancehall artist, Nardo Ranks, had a song condemning the practice of skin bleaching amongst Jamaicans way before the world heard about Kartel. What Kartel did was not only remove the taboo surrounding skin bleaching but he added a cool factor to it.
While Kartel and many others have tried to justify skin-bleaching in one way or the other, the truth is, the practice is a sign of much deeper psychological issues. Skin bleachers feel like they are not good enough for society as a whole so they yearn for acceptance and a sense of belonging.
As influential as Vybz Kartel was, this influence resonated in Jamaica, throughout the Caribbean and Africa; basically among Black people. So in Kartel’s mind he felt like to be accepted on the international level like a Sean Paul or Shaggy, he needed to bleach his skin. So selfishly he turned to this practice without giving any consideration to the millions of youths whose minds he would poison into thinking their melanin is a curse, thus killing their self-esteem. Murdering the self-esteem of a generation of young people is actually worse than the murder of any one person.
Today, even so-called Rastafarians in Jamaica are bleaching their skin ad they point to Vybz Kartel as the reason for doing so.
Skin bleaching in Jamaica has gotten so bad that a principal at a prominent school had to send home skin-bleaching students with a letter stating that they should not return to school until their normal complexion returned.
Vybz Kartel might be paying for the murder of Lizard but unless there is a God, he will not have to pay for all the young people’s self-esteem that he murdered.