By: Shanteeca Reid
Caribbean people are known for their rich of dance art and music .It is a reflection of our identity and a medium through which we express our selves. Dancehall music is enjoyed by all social classes and influences the minds of our youths; is this a positive influence or a negative one though?
The context sometimes in dancehall music is formed from the opinion of the artiste yet reflects the majority of the population though they are not in agreement. Dancehall music also influences the minds of the listeners; an example of this was “Clarks” a song done by Vybz Kartel after the release of this song there was a massive increase in the price and commerce of this brand of shoes. From this you know that the influence of this one person was strong so can you imagine what the influence of a whole industry would be like?
Most of our dancehall artiste do not have a first degree or a high school diploma yet they are seen as role models to our youths; there is nothing wrong with capitalizing and gaining respect or popularity from ones natural talent if that is the case but in the process of idolizing these people do we degrade ourselves as a people? Especially when the context of these songs are explicit and do not conform to the laws and norms of society.
According to local residents who think that there is nothing wrong with the context of the artiste in dance hall music ‘ dancehall music is inspirational to the youths of the society and it teaches them about life and the what is going on without experiencing it first hand , and uplifts them” with regards to context ,is this so? And if yes; what about the context relating or promoting bling and fancy attire. no doubt everyone wants be on top of their game but for a youth that cannot afford this the trends of today and the lifestyle, for a youth that lives within his needs , isn’t that depressing ?
The whole issue of controversy sells, may be an alternative for producing a good song. However when two dancehall artiste find themselves in a lyrical war it is guaranteed to get air play; what are the other benefits of insulting each other repeatedly to gain popularity and what whim of fake faith and power are we selling to our young people? Is the sole factor of dancehall music “mix up”.
Living in a society which is highly influenced by dancehall music, one of the positive purposes of dancehall music is to sustain and maintain our cultural identity, an expression of life and a reason to come together in festivity. In the process of expressing ourselves through our music is it pertinent to make others feel depressed or feel inferior about themselves ,while we make ourselves happy?