Posts Tagged ‘Dancehall’

I recently read an article in Loop Jamaica, which was written by Karyl Walker, a journalist who is accredited, supposedly, for previously working with two or three renowned media houses in Jamaica.

Mr. Walker’s writing was in criticism and opposition to Member of Parliament and Health Minister, Christopher Tufton, who apparently believes that former convict and famed reggae artiste, Buju Banton, owes the Jamaican people some explanation regarding his arrest, charges and finding of guilt in the United States of America, before being deported back to Jamaica in late 2018.

As much as I am a long-standing fan of Buju Banton and could care less about his explanation, personally, I must disagree with the journalist for defending Buju Banton’s muted stance on the matter surrounding his deportation.

Unfortunately, a celebrity status tends to draw similar attention and responsibility as all other public figures.

Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, rose to fame on the support of people, who bought into the words of his music, whether it was “Boom bye-bye” or “It’s not an easy road”, people were led by the artiste throughout or during one of his two career phases.

In his heydays, Buju Banton sang about subjects such as “Batty Rider”, while leaning toward one area of the Jamaican culture and received full support from Jamaica, for his music, before crossing over to what was viewed as a sign of maturity and growth when he embraced Rastafarian and began portraying himself as a conscious and righteous individual in music.

Buju Banton took on a role as Shepherd, leading a flock out of darkness into a light, his lyrics were enlightenment to the dull and the ignorant as he philosophized, in music, under the light of a noble messenger.

Considering these facts, it is clear, in my opinion, whether Buju Banton owes the Jamaican people an explanation about his incarceration.

Of course, he does. He is a celebrity, he is a public figure, he chose to be a servant to the people.

People wants to know whether or not he was framed and sent to prison, falsely, under the US famed monotonous cycle of locking up innocent people or whether he had misled his fans into believing that he was a truly converted and righteous Rastafarian.

It is clear that if he has deceived the people with his image and music, he faces the loss of his fan base, but of no consolation, Buju Banton would not be the first celebrity to fall from grace, shamefully; either way, in respect of his audience, he should not remain mute on the matter.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2019


Homophbes In Jmaiaca
“Are Jamaicans homophobic?”

The answer to that question depends on who is being asked, but if you should go to the source of Jamaica, itself, in all honesty, the received responses would be a range of conflicting yes, no, maybe so, not really, and I don’t know.

But one thing is certain, Jamaicans are renowned “band-waggonists”, this is a Jamaican term which means “individuals who join the majority in the profess for or against a cause without personal reasons or beliefs”.

Jamaica is a strong Christian society where the bible is highly regarded as a Life Guide on how people should live, so chapters and verses such as Romans 1:26-28, Leviticus 20:13 and some others which reflect views on homosexuality are greatly praised, and as a result, it is clear why Jamaicans would have a problem with homosexuality.

The varied interpretations of the bible and its verses makes the holy book one of the most fascinating and contradicting literature that has ever been published in the history of writing words; therefore, some Christian societies uphold parts of the bible more than others.
But one of Jamaica’s reality is that, like all other societies of the world, there exist gays, lesbians and bi-sexual people.

Jamaicans can also be seen as hypocritical when it comes to the subject of homophobia, where there has been proven evidence that being homosexual in Jamaica is only a problem depending on the social class of the person; whereas, prominent individuals of Jamaica have been suspected as being homosexuals and faced no threats, while another class of homosexuals have been violently injured and murdered based upon mere suspicion.

This fact has proven the society to be confused on its view of homosexuality and immorality.

Homophobia may not be right in a moral view of modern society, but whether it is right or wrong, homophobia cannot exist with exceptions of homosexuals by class. The fact is that poor homosexuals in Jamaica are outcast and condemned, equipped with weapons to defend themselves, in the event of an attack, while privileged homosexuals roam Jamaica without fear of any danger, simply because Jamaicans are not really homophobic.

If the homosexual can provide monetary security, his or her sexuality is usually overlooked in Jamaica until he/she is bankrupt.
Jamaica is divided into two classes of poor and wealthy, where the poor occupies most of the island, and it is in these parts where violence against homosexuals tend to occur. The wealthy homosexuals are safe against homophobia for a few reasons; they can provide financial aid to the poor, they live in secure neighborhoods and the so-called homophobes turn a blind eye.

The divide of Jamaica runs on different unwritten rules, and for the purpose of this writing, I will call the divide Uptown and Downtown.

Uptown is for the wealthy, where Jamaicans and Immigrants who have moved to Jamaica enjoys a first world kind of lifestyle on the island, and if it wasn’t for the news, they would not know that violence occurs against homosexuals in the country; it is where individual lifestyle choices are protected under the law, exercised and respected.
Downtown is the opposite, where the poor lives and feel every third world aspects of the society, from poverty, making their own rules against homosexuality to exercising violence and murder; homosexuals do not receive protection from the law there.

Sex is a big thing in Jamaica and it is a certainty that among the world’s citizens, Jamaicans are regarded one of the most sexual people on the planet.

Jamaicans literally praise sex in more than 70% of their Dancehall music and its culture.
90% of Jamaican Dancehall female attendees are usually dressed explicitly sexy, mirroring their dance moves. And like the Dancehall culture, Jamaicans love the act of sex, not limiting to intercourse either, but again, this is where another double-standard affects the society.

The charade is that Jamaicans enjoy sex and only approve of plain sexual intercourse, in varied positions, but the reality is that a higher percentage than perceived have indulged in all perceivable heterosexual sex acts as a lifestyle.
And again, Downtowners face threatening consequences if suspected of indulging in sexual acts more than the basic heterosexual intercourse, while Uptowners live out their sexual lives and fantasies freely and fearlessly.
So, you decide, “Are Jamaicans homophobic?”

Ian T. Sebàs © 2016

Jamaiacan Patwah
If you should look up the official definition of patois, it will state something to the effect of being a spoken, but non-standard language, and in all truth, that is exactly what it is. Although patois is widely spoken in Jamaica, English is the official and national language of the island.

That may be a surprise to some, who have only been able to identify Jamaicans, who have crossed their paths, by recognizing the speech of this unique language, known as patois.

Fascinating to foreigners, patois has the attraction effect to be embraced with a desire to be mimicked; never really on any levels of seriousness, but more like clowning or simply having fun. It has been associated with the attitude of the island’s reputation for being laid back bordering care-free.
But patois to Jamaicans has a whole other meaning.

The establishment of Jamaica and Jamaicans rose from African descendants, struggles and poverty, so despite the modern classes and segregations within the island, all Jamaicans are familiar with struggles of hardship and are related to someone who have risen from poverty and ignorance.

Patois is a language spawn from ignorance of the English language; in other words, the forefathers of Jamaicans who found it difficult to learn the art of speaking English, gave birth to Jamaican Patois, a mixture of African tongue and English.
Clearly it was acceptable being spoken by those who were first and second generation relatives to the passengers of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria; ships, to those of you who didn’t know, brought slaves to the island.

But for the third and fourth generations and their off-springs, who were identified less as Africans and more as Jamaicans, and were locally educated under the British Empire, it has always been seen as ignorance or being plain dense to be able to speak patois and unable to converse in English.

Jamaican Patois has its pros and cons, wise elders have said that there is a time and a place for patois.
Patois is no different than, for example, Cockney, Brummy, Yam-yam, Scouse and Jordie in England, Southern drawl, New York or Boston slangs in the USA, Schweizerdeutsch in Switzerland or French pidgins/creole. All spoken languages, recognizable diversions of official languages.

And, in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that; the means of communication is to establish understanding, by whatever use of language, but in full respect of wisdom, knowing where and when, who and to whom, the time and the place are crucial identity points of intellect.

Wisdom is an indisputable crowning, to all; ignoring its teachings make us into fools.

Some Jamaicans refrain from speaking English with the belief that it makes them less Jamaican, as if speaking patois overrides their birth-right and heritage, others think speaking English makes them appear too soft and civil, a recognized and somewhat understanding resentment from a culture which was risen out of hardship, while a great percentage of Jamaicans consider the exercise of speaking patois a steadfast act of ignorance.
However, Jamaicans possessing the ability to speak both patois and English, fluently, are admired with intelligence. This is of course no surprise, any person possessing the ability to speak more than one official or non-official languages, clearly has an advantage over those who speak only one.

Rastafarian, a Jamaican religion, renowned for its intellectual teachings, mostly done in verbal patois, but English writing and reading is an exception to the rule of patois being a sign of ignorance, considering that Rastafarian has always resented “Babylon” which is a definition of a controlled society, language and action in consideration.

Dancehall music has earned its place on the world’s platform as a recognized genre and is accredited to patois; a unique musical use of an unofficial language created an official musical genre.

Something Jamaicans must be proud of, but at the same time, realize that such music requires translation to be fully understood. And in most cases, such translation calls for English.
Jamaica has been recognized and is a member of the United Nations, a union of all recognized Countries of the world; however, if Jamaica’s representative should address the UN in patois, Jamaica would be seen as a joke, and a nation not to be taken seriously.

And for this reason, myself being a ray of that island in the sun, shines the only way I know how, by exercising what was gained from the Jamaica Ministry of Education and its root purpose of learning English as a language.

Still, schools were not my only institutions of education, Jamaica itself, spoke every day, and there was no escape of knowing patois; thus, I am fully equipped with the ability to speak both English and patois, and do so, conveniently, at the right time and place.
Jamaican Patios – out of two languages, it is one.
Ian T. Sebàs © 2016

I am what most Jamaicans would call a 70’s youth, which means that I was born in the 1970’s; therefore, I can’t really write anything regarding Jamaican dancehall, prior to my birth, but considering that I grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, I can tell you, from a personal point of view and recollection, about who ran the dancehall scenes as I was growing up.

At the time, it seemed that it was unfortunate for me to be born in an area like Jones Town, Kingston 12 and grew up in areas like Arnette Garden (Jungle), Mountain View and Maverley, while frequenting the Drewsland, Waterhouse, Tower Hill and Seaview Gardens neighborhoods.

It was a fortunate experience, which I only later realized, to have had first-hand experience in Jamaica’s ghetto life and dancehall music as it progressed.
Game Changers of the Jamaican dancehall and scenes are individuals who shifted the gears of the industry by adding something which never existed before to the genre of Dancehall Music, and in regards to that, I will do my best to justify the industry’s development, without research, but by using the best of my personal knowledge on Jamaica’s Dancehall.

And in doing so, I will mention a few other artists (No singers, only DJs), who came to be known during the reign of each Game Changer.

Unfortunately, I can’t mention everyone who came to fame or fell short during each era.
Dancehall GameChangers (2)

In the 1980s, the city of Kingston owned dancehall music, and 90% of Jamaica’s sound systems were from Kingston; there were hundreds, some more renowned than others:
• Stone Love
• Metro Media
• Youthman Promotion
• Exodus
• Love Vibration
• Downbeat
• King Jammy
• Black Scorpio
• King Tubby’s
• Stereo One
• Killamanjaro
• Stur Gav
• Heatwave
• Jah Love
• Universal
and a bunch of sound systems named of star signs, such as Pieces, Aries, Gemini, Aquarius and so on.

During this time, recording studios were few, and again, most were in Kingston. It was a time when Kingston and Spanish Town were the only two places, where a person could get recorded.

This list of Recording Studios included Greensleeve, Black Scorpio in Drewsland, King Jammy’s in Waterhouse, Tubby’s also in Waterhouse and Metro Media in Jones Town.

There were a few others, but only a handful.
Dancehall GameChangers (1)
Brigadier Jerry was the first King of the Dancehall that I was aware of, and because of that, I call the late 70’s early 80’s, the Brigadier Jerry’s era, which included the likes of General Echo, Josey Wales, Super Cat, Nicodemus, Junior Demus and Early B.
Dancehall GameChangers (10)Dancehall GameChangers (8)
The following era and first Game Changer belong to Yellowman, who entered the industry and led with his own unique style, and included the likes of Eek-A-Mouse, Sister Nancy, Burro Banton and Peter Metro.
Dancehall GameChangers (3)
The next Game Changer to appear was Shabba Ranks. The Shabba Ranks era included Ninja Man, Admiral Bailey, General Trees, Flourgon, Daddy Lizard, Lecturer and Sassafrass.
Dancehall GameChangers (2)
Then there was Tiger, who had an original style about him; therefore, remains to be a Game Changer, in my eyes.
Dancehall GameChangers (5)
During this time, and as usual, Spanish Town (St. Catherine) who never liked to be trailing behind Kingston came to its musical rise with Game-Changer Lieutenant Stitchie, who introduced a fast-pace style of lyrical chanting, Lt. Stitchie and Papa San ruled this dancehall department, hands down and St. Catherine made its permanent mark on the dancehall map.

The Lt. Stitchie/Papa San era included Chacka Demus, Pan Head, Capleton, Buju Banton and Major Worries.
Dancehall GameChangers (6)
Then there was Major Mackerel, who brought his own unique squeak style to the industry, and made it an original to this day.
Dancehall GameChangers (9)
After the Major Mackerel’s era, it was the rise of Beenie Man from Waterhouse who was matched by Bounty Killer from Seaview Gardens, and during this era there was Ranking from Bottom Maverley, Risto Benji from Waterhouse, Punny Man (now Ini Man) also from Bottom Maverley along with Jig-Saw and Private Eye.
Dancehall GameChangers (7)
There was Deany Ranks from Duhaney Park, who later changed his name to Duck Man, all before Baby Cham represented that same area.
Dancehall GameChangers (4)

Mad Cobra, Lady Saw, Assassin, Sean Paul and Merciless have earned the rights to be mentioned among these names of stars, some who fell short in the industry and never fully made their marks along with those who did.
Dancehall GameChangers (11)
The last Game Changer I am aware of, is Vybz Kartel, but considering that I no longer live in Jamaica and that I am not as abreast with Jamaican Dancehall newcomers, as I was with the old-timers, it is not much that I can actually say about today’s dancehall scenes.
Dancehall GameChangers (3)
Still, Dancehall music has earned its rightful place in the world’s recognized genre of music, and despite its reputation which is overshadowed with graphic sexual expressions and violence, dancehall music does offer good vibrations and feeds that part of our soul which yearns for it.
Dancehall GameChangers (1)

Solomon G Reality Williams (6)
Rapper Solomon Williams aka Mr G Reality of Chicago, Illinois (USA) has teamed up with independent Swiss-based/Italian Music Producer, Giuseppe ‘Cianuro’ Simone of Teste Matte, as Contributors of music to Ian T. Sebàs’ intended biopic from the book SURVIVED Raw and Unedited.

Rapper Williams, after realizing what the book is about, expressed his immediate interest and mirrored relations which are mostly echoed through his music. Williams, who has been doing music for the past 17 years, achievements include three (3) previous albums titled, The Message, One Day, and Reflection of Image; accredited to him is also the mixed-tape, Stop the Violence, Increase the Peace.

Religious praises of Christ (Jesus Christ) can be heard throughout his music, which often time promotes hope of escape from hardships and daily struggles and encouragements of preservation and endurance, all within his music as offerings of strength.

SURVIVED Raw and Unedited, which is a success story of the same spectrum, transpires the same message and faith of Mr. G Reality, and for this reason, the rapper is more than happy to be aboard with his music as a part of the film’s soundtrack.
Music producer Giuseppe ‘Cianuro’ Simone, a long-time friend of the Author, who knew Williams made the connection after reading the book, SURVIVED Raw and Unedited.

“I knew the author on a personal level, but after reading his autobiography, I began to understand him even more, and it was simply those two factors I used to introduced him and Mr. G Reality together; ITS (the author) loves truth, words from the heart, and that is what Mr. G Reality does” says the Swiss-based producer before closing with “The union is perfect, and everyone is happy about it!”

Author Ian T. Sebàs, who planned to be as active as possible in the directing of his biopic says, “I want to hold an executive role in the production of my film, that way the story is not watered-down for one reason or another; the book is real and the emotions can be felt from each page, therefore, the film must be just as or even more effective, considering that it is a motion picture.”

The author, after being questioned about the newly formed relationship with the Chicago-based Rapper commented, “I am already a fan of Mr. G Reality’s music, I became a fan immediately after I listened to his song “We Can Make It”, the lyrics were reflections of my life and I could relate to his words and his tone, plus the video itself gave me goose-bumps; the director of the video, P. Noble, did a great job!”
Ian T. Sebàs commended producer Cianuro for the introduction and also explained the immediate actions and plans for the future.
“Cianuro sent me a link to Mr. G Reality’s music and then I told him that it was ok to make the connection, we chatted on a three-way conference for about two hours, and it was great; I now look forward to working with Solomon and Giuseppe on the soundtrack!”

Sebàs, a Jamaican national, whose story began in Jamaica before transcending to the USA wants both Jamaican Reggae and Dancehall music on the soundtrack along with American RnB and Rap.

Jamaica Flag map
Being a Jamaican national does not automatically makes me a patriot. My emotions fluctuate towards Jamaica, like any other thing that lacks stability; for example, climate changes in other countries, I can’t say that I like all four seasons equally.

So when it comes to Jamaica, there are some things that I love and other things that I hate. Jamaicans especially will say ‘take the good with the bad’, but in my case, I don’t have to, because unlike many, whether I accept it or not, it does not change the fact that Jamaica is still the land of my birth.

Once again, and for the sake of clarity, I am proud to be a Jamaican by birth, who have had its cultures instilled in me, a fruitful land that bears a remarkable amount of fruits and foods, edged with the beauty of white sand and sky blue seas, a land that is sun-kissed almost every day of the year and possesses a permanent soundtrack from nature itself.
And because of my Jamaican pride, it is always interesting, to me, when I see articles of things to like about Jamaica.

They are usually seen as ‘must read’ articles, and most, in my opinion, are true, but the list of likeable things about Jamaica can be endless.
10 Things You May Not Know About Jamaica

However; here are 10 Thing You May Not Know About Jamaica:

1. Jamaica possesses an invisible but strong prejudice among its citizens. Skin pigmentation, hair texture, residential address, mode of speech, and in some cases, one’s surname, are all factors of becoming successful or accepted in some of the island’s communities.

2. Almost all Jamaicans, who were born on the island, before August 6, 1962, and still resides there, are unaware of their British citizenship.
british jamaican
3. Most Jamaican students graduate with overwhelming grades, making more than 70% of Jamaica’s residing nationals over-qualified.

4. The likeliness of being robbed at gunpoint, with an explanation and an apology is very high. Criminals in Jamaica possess guilty consciences with an almost immediate remorse for stealing.
5. Jamaica should be called Land of the Free. Squatting is a frequent practice, and anti-squatting laws are weakly enforced, which allows many Jamaicans to take up residence almost anywhere, and it can take years before a force removal is done.

6. With or without dreadlocks, 85% of Jamaicans practice some Rastafarian lifestyle, which also aligns with Christianity.
Jamaica Rasta
7. More than 50% of Jamaican drivers, illegally purchased their driver’s licenses. Whether or not you can actually drive, your chance of being told that you have failed, the first few times, are almost certain. This is a scam and a scheme to be legally robbed, so most drivers cut out the red tape and go straight to buying their licenses.

8. During pre-election campaigns, voters, especially in the low income neighbourhoods of Jamaica, are usually bribed.
9. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” – most Jamaicans live by this, to its fullest and strongest sense.

10. Most Jamaican dancehall songs are of sex or gun violence.