American Spoken Word Poet decries Jamaican slack lyrics – Barbados Advocate staff concur with independent items
Those who follow this blog regularly will be aware while I want libel laws to be updated and Freedom of Information to be favourably comparative to International standards, instead of the archaic nonsense we endure in Bim now, nevertheless, there’s also an ongoing concern for my side over how far Freedom of Speech as it relates to public poetry slams can escalate… I am not against such programmes, it’s just in the way they’re presented with no due process of a warning this is a nite where it’s straight up with no chaser!
In the same way films, compact disks and TV-programmes can have lettered codes indicating what kind of content may lurk therein, thereby allowing parents or guardians to decide if little ones should be present, then a show where children have been present and can do so again needs to have relevant caveats.
Therefore, when Jamaica’s Broadcast Authority has decided to clamp down not only on lewd or vicious Dancehall tunes (aka: Daggerin’) but indeed expanded their non-playlist to include any similar efforts to be found in the Soca genre – it was no big surprise to me, in fact, why has no one in the region thought to do so sooner, as hinted by in ?
Reactions have been surprising and free-ranging both here in Barbados and in the USA. The print edition of the Barbados Advocate has sought many perspectives on the matter. On page 21 in the Friday 13th edition, the Advocate quotes the Observer too, but the Jamaican media house spoke with Heru, a Ghanaian-American who’s also performed in Barbados. Heru sees daggerin’ as a form of Jamaican deejays spitting in the public’s eye and that freedom to chant does not guarantee the right for everyone or anyone to bellow there’s a fire in a crowded theatre as he noted that freedom comes with responsibility.
The very day before in their 12-2-2009 edition, on page 8, the Advocate‘s Jenique Millington considers daggerin’ as “…disastrous lyrics” and remains not quite convinced as to if the Jamaican entity did too much too late or they’ve finally taken a step in arresting dangerous trends? She even realises taking such a stance has its costs and potentially subjecting oneself as an object of derision;-
Of course, here I would be castigated for trying to infringe on the artistes’ freedom of speech and expression and the right for persons to listen to what they choose. Nevertheless, the question remains whether such freedom of expression supersedes social responsibility at all times…
On the same page, right below that is Enricco Bohne – acknowledging that any artform taking certain types of expression too far can not only be perceived as depraved but perverting the original thought or process into something of a way lesser value than before;-
- Music within the Caribbean has moved away from the sensual subtleties by skilled songwriters, to the slack (and often violent) slurs of the depraved…
- …when the gift of sex is misused – [then] the divine, becomes a demon.