Brown Beauty

What does the Miss Jamaica pageant think is wrong with blackness? The Miss Jamaica World and Universe pageants. It’s a fair question to ask. Every year a quasi-national operation or something like it is undertaken to tell especially Jamaican women what national feminine beauty is or at least what it looks like. If ideal Jamaican beauty can be summed up by the elite deciders in one word it’s – “brown”. Emulate brownness Continue reading

And then I fell in Love with Spice

During the National Heroes weekend (October 14-16, 2016) celebration Jamaican female dancehall artist Spice got her sound cut during a live performance aimed at celebrating Jamaican athletes’ outstanding performance at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Arguments abound among the public as to why Spice’s sound was cut, and among the most prominent ones that surfaced were the idea that her set was inappropriate for the setting or that she needs a more diverse catalog to perform at such occasions. But what are the assumptions determining the validity of such arguments? Who determines what is “appropriate”? And where/who is this ‘council’ arbitrating the “acceptable” bestowed with powers of exclusion and shame? And finally, Continue reading

What do you mean Mr. Byles?

 

On October 13, 2016 at the Mona Campus at the University of the West Indies the Department of Economics launched their Economic Policy series with the discussion title Jamaica and the IMF Beyond 2017. One of the presenters Mr. Richard Biles made at least two arguments. Firstly, Jamaica needed an International Monetary Fund (IMF) extension agreement because Jamaican politicians lack the political will to do what is right for the country – the will to take the tough decisions needed to put the nation on the path of fiscal discipline and responsible debt management. Secondly, in his presentation he contended that politicians are often beholden to special interests and he made the argument that the country is on the right path to debt reduction with the Continue reading

Oh grammy! Oh grammy! We Beseech Thee for Validation

Every year many in dancehall get excited about the Grammy’s. But what exactly is the relationship between dancehall and the Grammy’s? It is interesting that year after year the public and music insiders speak with excitement about the value of the Grammy awards and the possible attendant benefits of subscribing to the idea that there is a critical validating agent in a foreign land with a different culture. Yes it may be nice to get recognition for the genre on a wider or global scale but maybe what should matter most and be treated as paramount is the value and power of the local community. Continue reading

Auto-tuning the Blood or the Evolution of Vybz Kartel’s Shadow

Silicon Valley junkies and top google engineers must drool with envy when they learn about the (quasi-artificial intelligence) achievements in dancehall. Automation on fleek! Every art form has its moments of awe and its mundane experiences, every culture has its highs and its lows. But few instances in dancehall can compare to the torrent of mimicry that deejay Alkaline has unleashed upon the dancehall. Continue reading

Dancehall at a Crossroads

Dancehall Crossroads in field

That big strange shiny thing you see in the center of the yard is not some serendipitous treasure. In fact it is quite the opposite; it is a distraction, a tool of deception. And that familiar melody that you’re hearing is not an ode to your greatness, instead it is the sound of a well camouflaged and sophisticated foreign machine rapping, singing and dancing precious dollars and opportunity away from your culture and industry. Continue reading