Rappers, Dancehall and the Media

violence in kingston jamaica

Just a while ago I got through watching Pusha T and Popcaan’s “Blocka” video which was shot in Kingstion, Jamaica. The entire video was based in one of Kingston’s obviously disenfranchised communities. The video displayed guns, poverty and crafted thoughts of the on going violence in the area.

Am I surprised, shocked or offended? NO! The truth of the matter is this, Jamaica has been plagued by substantial violence over the decade. The violence was initially charged by political wickedness in Jamaica. The children of the poor and desolate were given guns to fight for politicians who were dabbling with forces beyond their control. On one side United States funded arms while on the other side of Jamaica’s political fence communist funded arms.

Now that they the youths had all this fire power they didn’t need the politicians anymore, gang violence escalated and the madness began in earnest. Now we all know these facts but for some reason we tend to ignore the truth until someone shoves it in our faces.

Kingston is literally divided in two. Astounding wealth on one end and poverty an the other. We obviously prefer to sell the image of the hotels, banks and the paved roads of New Kingston but furiously ignore our demons lurking a few miles away.

Enter Dancehall and Rap music, the unapologetic and vulgar declarations of the inner-city. They pronounce the truths we choose to tip toe around. When they do we act all surprised and upset. “They are so violent and ignorant” O really they’re broadcasting the facts of life for many while you choose to behave as though they don’t exist. *So who is the stupid ones here.

In the United States were I lived for a time. Inner city youth live in a literal police state from school, to home to playground they are watched, arrest and beaten. One in three black men in the US will go to jail in their lifetime, not because they commit more crime as is widely believed but because they are under perpetual surveillance. A black child is less likely to be with his/her father now than in the era of slavery, more African Americans are in the prison system than were enslaved in 1850 and the schools are horrendous while the prisons are spacious, modern and new. This is what Michelle Alexander describes as, “The New Jim Crow”.

us incarceration rate by race

You can’t vote, can’t go home to you family if they are in public housing, you can’t get a job, you can’t even get food stamps in some states. So what are you supposed to do with you life, when you can’t get college subsidies because you were caught with a minuscule amount  marijuana which is used in the same proportions as other communities. In Chicago 80% of working age black men can’t get a job because of a felony record. *And people wonder how 52 people were shot in just one weekend in Chicago.

In the case of the US media black men are portrayed as consistent vigilantes and lets be honest and the statistics prove it, when the typical American and increasing Europeans who haven’t even met a black person but consumes US movies they imagine the stereotypical black gangsta or whatever you call it.

Before you judge remember music doesn’t exist in a vacuum; something has to be driving the sound.

In order for any society to get better it needs to observer the truth about those with whom it has to coexist.



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