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Sunday, 16 July 2017

DRAFT Dancehall Republic - The Resistance to Jamaica

DRAFT 

I live in a twin dimension nation called " Dancehall Republic and the State of Jamaica" otherwise called "Jamaica and The Resistance".

We are like a bowl of Lucky Charms breakfast cereal, an immiscible shakeup of bland oats and multi-coloured marshmallows, rather than a bowl of cornmeal porridge with all of the ingredients perfectly cooked.

I am Jamaican but also a member of the moderate wing of The Dancehall Nation.
In her erudite chapter, Out of Many, One Dancehall, from the book Dancehall, from Slave Ship to GhettoDr Sonja Stanley-Niaah rounds up many useful perspectives about what Dancehall is, and sets out an accretion: 
Jamaica clings to heroes who built their names on collective goals and standards such as sports administrator Herb McKenley village leader Nanny of the Maroons; gentrifier of the Jamaican language, Louise Bennett Coverly; and reggae crooner and symbol of gentle Rastafari, Bob Marley. 
Pelinco - Que provoca Discordia y discussion e incita al alboroto


"Who do you say that I am?"
The constitution of Jamaica is one bundle of laws that were revoked and others that were renewed as at August 6, 1962. There is no vision statement, so in effect, this act removed the rule of the UK, and firmly established rule by an oligarchy which remains today.

"Dancehall is space, culture, attitude, fashion, dance, life/style, economic tool, institution, stage, social mirror, language, ritual, social movement, profile, profession, brand name, community and tool of articulation for, especially, inner city dwellers, who continually respond to the vibe expressed through the words, 'without dancehall a wha we woulda do, reggae music call we must answer to..."
So Dancehall is more than music, it is an unwritten constitution that values individuality, excess, the extreme, and the intense. The nation declares that you have the right to express yourself and to take what you want from life, for nobody is going to help you. Be fabulous, offend, but do not, EVER, be boring. Any diminution of self-expression, such as false cultural marks of decorum or modesty have absolutely no place in The Dancehall Republic.
The oligarchic State of Jamaica upholds the motto "One God, one aim one destiny". It is an outlook that declares that human progress requires community livity and respect for nature.
The National Anthem of Jamaica is written from the point of view of a benevolent patrician in subservient conversation with a supreme male deity, and ending with a call for justice for the collective. This song is meaningless to us, we ignore it, and find it boring and somewhat pathetic.
The Dancehall constitution begins: Every person shall have the right to free determination of his or her personality. Big up yuself my yute.
The Dancehall anthem is is Buju Banton's "Untold Stories" that starts with "I" and describes an unending struggle.
Because of wide differences in our values, our two nations are not cohabiting well. We, The Dancehall Nation, are continually being assaulted by Jamaica's restraints on our self-expression. We leave the bun dem out culture to religious Jamaicans of all creeds and instead - as a matter of self defence and bare survival - will spit our most corrosive vitriol and repel all smalling-up of us on this here former land of the damned and slave colony island. We are The Resistance and the true inheritors of every single man, woman or child who defended himself or herself against all forms of oppression from the abuse of the Tainos to the child abusers and corrupt officials of today.
The unofficial Jamaican academy for culture do not realise that their declarations do not concern us. Keep your ackee and North Sea codfish, village mento and gerreh, Indian madras fabric, Boys and Girls Athletic Championships, security industry wreath laying ceremonies, Nyuu Testiment (Patwa Bible), Grand Gala and pantomime. You cannot speak for The Dancehall Republic, the resistance.
The Dancehall Republic does not participate in that collective memory bank of ancestral worship, our nation is a means of mental survival for the 40% of residents of Jamaica who understand clearly that only a moral fight will allow us to  achieve our aspirations.
We do not need stories of our grandparents for inspiration. We have our international brand Usain Bolt; the unshackled manifestation of Our Lady of Dancehall - Saw; and our purveyor of reachable dreams and fantasies car-tel. 


The resistance that we now call Dancehall Nation started when Juan Lobolo used his wits and might to create a sustainable platform for his family, first with the Spaniards by routing the British, then with the British by routing the Spanish. He is immortalised with the name Juan de Bolas Mountains.
In her blog post, The Slave Trade, Maroons, Windscreen Wipers and Reparations: I Want to Know , Kelly Ogilvie McIntosh said of our ancestors, "Their survival was due in large part to their own skill at bush and jungle war craft....These fearless braves secured their own survival at the expense of other runaway slaves who were seeking a way out of slavery and who also headed for the hills." Then Mrs McIntosh asks, "What role did our own really play in our history, in our enslavement by Europeans, in our forced journey to the west?

But there is no reason to ask what you already know.

The list of black bodies that were carried in by The Resistance includes Jack Mansong, Sam Sharpe and Paul Bogle. These are legitimate political and economic outcomes so that our ancestors could survive in hostile conditions. We did not only do it with a sharp edge, we did it with intel and networking.

Intel and Networking
Because of her training in storytelling, Amina Blackwood Meeks has come close to understanding how we became mentally strong. In a Gleaner article in 2005, she records, Ananse as "de one what was a important part of we pre-Columbian socialisation, de one dat help we survive nuff atrocities over 500 years." 

The soft among us only heard amusing stories, the ambitious among us understood the value of wits and intel and networking, and this gave us the heart to break out of Lobby's estate in 1673, and establish our first garrison in Jamaica's mountainous backbone.
We, the Dancehall Nation are expanding in number with one driving desire, to achieve our personal goals. We have no quarrel with the state of Jamaica. Jamaica, on the other hand, continues to crave our assimilation or plot our extermination.
The Problem With Marcus Garvey
Both nations pay lip service to black racial pride promoter, Marcus Mosiah Garvey. 
The Resistance does not have the luxury of embracing the philosophies of Marcus Garvey, we have to use every mental muscle and physical flesh and bone to deal with our survival, and for those who we love. We will not be bound by conventions on physical appearance, much less attire. The body is our temple to do with as we wish, to associate with whom we wish and to decide our own individual moral standards. Again, we will not be passive in bluntly shredding all those who speak failure to us. 
What does The Resistance Want?
We do not want to gain control of government, Jamaicans want that, we leave it to them. As we have the allegiance of 80% of Jamaica, we are not at risk of being exterminated, but in trying to rid themselves of us, Jamaica will only hurt itself and stall its progress. Make no mistake, we will summon up the blood, lend the eye a terrible aspect; set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, bend our spirits to their full height.  *
For Jamaica and The Resistance to cohabit this island, Jamaica needs to rapidly deliver a decent standard of living and youth opportunities for the vast majority of the islanders. This has been elusive since the encounter between the Europeans and the Taino people.
Jamaica's 2011 Population and Housing Census said that the island has just under 40,000 squatter settlements, and 1/5th live below the poverty line. In February 2017, the PIOJ is reported to have said that the poverty rate is 20%.

Although 80% of Jamaica is not said to be living below the poverty line, the pop culture of The Resistance / Dancehall Republic is very captivating for youth, and so residents of Jamaica are attracted to its cultural output. They do not understand the dancehall philosophy of resistance for survival. In fact, very few who enjoy the music and the styles and the atmosphere of The Dancehall Republic would actually want to live, work, raise families, do business and grow old within the core of its sphere. 
The Dancehall Republic, although not lacking in youthfulness, will not mature from is current state. The loudest and most strident proponents lean to Jamaica for the future of their children. They send them to conservative schools, they seek to live within the exclusive enclaves instead of established garrisons of their compaƱeros.
When members of the Dancehall Republic break through politically, or economically, they leave The Resistance, and start their tentative discovery of Jamaica, their mythical dreamland.
END

Tommy Lee Sparta as quoted in the Jamaica Star July 18, 2017
"Mi wish mi did more brighter right now. Mi educated, enuh, like mi smart and mi can represent miself, and if yuh talk to me yuh will know that. Mi can read and write, enuh, but mi wish mi did more educated," he said.
According to the deejay, an advancement in his education would benefit his music, especially since dancehall has evolved lyrically over the years.
"Music nowadays a education and literature. Mi wish mi did pay attention to literature because a since mi big, mi realise how important it is. That's why mi kids dem go good school. Mi can't keep up with the parent and teachers meeting, but mi will go graduations," he said.
Tommy Lee Sparta also said that his children have no choice but to attend school whether they like it or not.
-end-



http://jamaica-star.com/article/features/20170718/star-month-tommy-lee-sparta-wishes-he-was-more-educated

Monday, 12 June 2017

2017 Summer Reads from the Jamaica Library Service

They are here my summer YA reads from the Jamaica Library Service

The Jamaica Library service reading challenge is on, and here are the YA selections! Five authors from Jamaica and one from Barbados. Five novels and a memoir.

Book blurbs taken from websites promoting the books. Not written by me.
The Star Side Of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson
This lyrical novel of community, betrayal, and love centers on an unforgettable matriarchal family in Barbados. Two sisters, ages ten and sixteen, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them. The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live for the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah.

Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother’s limits, and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife, and investigates their mother’s mysterious life.

This tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved or the Barbados of their family.

Naomi Jackson’s Barbados and her characters are singular, especially the wise Hyacinth and the heartbreaking young Phaedra, who is coming into her own as a young woman amid the tumult of her family.

Escape to Falmouth by Lena Joy Rose
When a feisty, Cherokee beauty and a strong-willed, male, runaway slave lock their destinies together in a headlong pursuit of freedom, they unleash forces that deny their liberty, threaten to destroy their love and propel them into dangerous exploits.

Garvey's Ghost by Geoffrey Philp

When Kathryn Bailey's teenaged daughter disappears from their home in Miami, the single Jamaican woman pursues every possible angle to find her. Kathryn's search leads her to a meeting with Jasmine's college professor, Jacob Virgo, a devout Garveyite and Rastafarian. Although their initial encounter is unpleasant, they must join forces to find Jasmine before it is too late. Through the teachings of Marcus Garvey, they learn to break down subtle barriers and find an unexpected bridge to new understandings and love.


A Way to Escape by Michelle Thompson
This is the story of the Tomlinson family's journey in Kingston, Jamaica, between the 1950s and 1970s. The Tomlinson family's dream becomes reality when they move from the inner city to a middle class neighbourhood in East Kingston. But their dream is short-lived. Arthur, the patriach and an alcoholic, in a drunken fury one night, orders his wife Rose to leave the house. Rose, a work-from-home dressmaker, leaves everything behind, and with her four children. the youngest still a toddler, flee to her mother, Mari, 'Granny'. The six of them share Granny's one-room quarters for months.

Rose finds work, and they move from one tenement yard to another, settling on a rented house for all of them. By this time, Arthur's life spirals as he becomes more dependent on white rum. He loses his job as a fireman, then the family home, and takes refuge in a room upstairs his favourite bar. Rose continues to seek a better life. On an invitation letter, she goes to Toronto, Canada. She remains there after attaining work as a live-in domestic, leaving the children with their grandmother. Granny's love, however, is not enough to restrain the teenagers. Marcy, the youngest, has a boyfriend, who is taking her down a path of drugs and staying out late. Will Rose ever return to save her children from a life of of waywardness? Or is the Tomlinson family destined to a doomed life?

Breaking the Cycle by Pamela K Marshall
Will and Sara traversed the obstacles of young love, further complicated by distance, parenthood and infidelity. They set aside the immature ideals and attitudes that led to strife and heartache throughout their teenage romance and have grown to learn that love takes conscious effort to endure. Now settled into a life together, old and new acquaintances threaten to wreck the happy home they have built. Misunderstandings construed as betrayals, mistakes with life-changing consequences and a tragedy that threatens to bring 'till death do us part' closer to home than ever imagined will either strengthen or shatter the bound Will and Sara have shared since they were children in Jamaica. Will and Sara must decide: when love starts to hurt, should it still be clung to, should it still hold two people together? Breaking The Cycle follows the couple's path to overcome the lingering effects of being barrel children as issues of abandonment and commitment continue to test their relationship. As they come to terms with their issues, can they still find happiness in each other's arms or will they find it best to part ways and let another mend their hearts?

Generation Curse? by Colleen Smith-Dennis
As the saying goes,'truth is sometimes stranger than fiction', but for the stoic matriarch, Mrs. Harmond,and her family, the events which characterize their lives do not come from a horror movie, but are a part of their daily reality. In the community they are seen as pariahs, as Mrs. Harmond's father had been accused of committing sacrilege by stealing the parson's bull and burning the manse. Everybody said they were cursed, from the grandparents to the youngest in the last generation, as the strange disappearances, uncontrollable juvenile behaviour and horrifying deaths rock the family like an earthquake of great magnitude and leave them cowering beneath a rubble of pain, disbelief and near hopelessness.
/END

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Jamaican Dancehall Party Playlist

Playlist for dancehall party for kids and general audiences
Fresh Air Dancehall Party Playlist

My experience at a recent event motivated me to compile a listing of  international Dancehall chart and crossover hits that showcase the very highest standards of the genre, and that is good for playing for general audiences.

Through my creative outlet, YA Readers Hangout, I have put together the Fresh Air Party Playlist that is created for use in a general public setting. It has a total of 27 international Jamaican Dancehall artistes on a track list of 35 songs across 23 original riddims and international collaborations covering more than two hours of high energy music that keeps the atmosphere lively and the dance floor moving. 

The lyrics on the tracks mostly cover the theme of optimism and enjoyment of life with friends, with self-respect and romance as broader issues. They do not brood on violence or thoughts of self harm or intense heartache or otherwise linger on adult themes such as those that happen within intimate relationships.  

It is my desire that disc jockeys display their passion for the music by also playing with a sense of occasion. 

The joyful list is set out below and is a playlist on Youtube.







YA READERS HANGOUT
FRESH AIR DANCEHALL PARTY PLAYLIST
ARTISTE
TRACK
RIDDIM
Buju Banton
Feat
Nadine Sutherland
Action
Action
Beenie Man
Sim Simma
Playground
Sean Paul
No Lie 
Bilando
Cheap Thrills
Rockabye

Wayne Wonder
No Letting go
Bounce Along
Diwali
Mr Vegas
My Jam
Various riddims including
Murder She Wrote
TOK
Top-a-Toppa
Diwali
Elephant Man
Elephant Message
Pon di River
Ski
Diwali
Like Glue
Day Rave
car-tell 
Summertime 
Clarks
Overproof
Demarco
Love My Life

Chris Martin
Big Deal
Intoxxicated
Nesbeth
My Dream
My Dream
Chi Ching Ching
Way Up Stay Up
Watchi Wiya
Happy Hour
Watchi Wiya










Mavado
Up Like 7
Money Can’t Buy Life
Wrangla
Life Support
I-Octane
Hurt by Friends
Intoxxicated
Shabba Ranks
Trailer Load of Gyal
Trailer Load
Diana King
Shy Guy
Penthouse
Snow
feat
Nadine
Sutherland
I Will Do
Anything for You
Anything for You
Alaine
What A Lot of Love
Cardiac Keys
Damian Marley
feat
Bobby Brown
Beautiful

Bounty Killa and Baby Cham
Another Level
Bugg Riddim
QQ
Skip to My Lou
Giants
Popcaan
Party Shot,
Everything Nice
Smudge Riddim
Everything Nice
Dexta Daps
I'm Blessed 
Happy Life Riddim
Don Andre
Tom Cruise
Ding Dong
Holiday
Holiday

































































Friday, 19 May 2017

Change the name of St Hugh's Girls School to highlight femininity

This blog post contains some of my thoughts which are not affiliated in any way with any organisation. Traditions are wonderful when they help the youth of today to achieve. 

Change the name of St Hugh's High School for girls to highlight femininity


St Hugh of Lincoln
Bishop of Lincoln (1186-1200)
It is an interesting state of affairs that not one of the schools that were established for the education of girls in Jamaica has a name that projects positive feminine qualities of the Jamaican woman which, for the purposes of this blog, I am limiting to the condition of being female in Jamaica. I have thought, in particular, about the name St Hugh's High School For Girls.

What's In A Name?
This school was established in 1899 for the education of children up to the elementary level and girls at the secondary level. It was founded by a faith-based institution, The Deaconess Order, and they lovingly called the school Deaconess High School in honour of the work that they did in Jesus' name.

In 1925, the Jamaica Schools Commission requested that the name be changed, and the then principal selected the name of her prestigious college at Oxford University in the UK. The Jamaica Schools Commission nodded, the school owners offered no objection, and with ongoing astute leadership and practical support for infrastructure and academic staff, the school's reputation grew under the St Hugh's brand.
The Jamaica High School that was founded in 1921 suffered the same fate in 1929 when the Jamaica Schools Commission requested that the name be changed; the accepted name was St Andrew High School for Girls.

Andrew the Apostle who was
said to have been crucified on the saltire
So, after 26 years of existence, Deaconess High School had a name change. St Andrew, Mt Alvernia and Hampton also underwent name changes for different reasons, so names are changed to serve current needs, not to elongate traditions, for the sake of traditions. 

This is my view and my view only.
In 2019, St Hugh's will achieve its 120th anniversary, and I propose that this significant milestone be used to return the name of the school to one that puts femininity at the centre of its purpose guided by a Christian philosophy. I would further want the word Jamaica added to the name so that it has a cultural resonance.

Today's Jamaica has fifteen secondary schools for girls, two of these are named after women, and one is for the city in which it is located. Aside from Montego Bay High School that was founded in 1935, no other school has a name that is distinctly linked to the culture and traditions of the nation of Jamaica. In this regard, Mo Bay High is for us, a beacon in the West. I also uphold the name of Merl Grove as beautifully sentimental, as it is an acronym formed from the first letters in the names of the five children of the fatherly founder.  

Shield of Munro College,
St Elizabeth located at Munro
"A city set upon a hill cannot be hid"
On the other hand, the schools for boys deepen and highlight aspects that can be more easily accepted as a male condition. I have listed the names at the end of this article. The names for boys schools reflect a presumed ownership of the country and the spaces that the schools occupy; preserve the name of their benevolent founder or, in the case of Calabar, contain aspirations and pride of being a black person of African ancestry. These names, and the iconography and branding that have been developed for them, are attachments that help to build confidence and an affinity with their school community during youth. 

Someone who is reading this is saying, "This is so not necessary", which is a Jamaican idiom and also a euphemism for "I do not want to talk about this because it makes me uncomfortable," but it does not change the fact that the girls are being short changed!

In the lead up to the 2017 ISSA champs, I spoke with a woman who was in her backyard in a school branded 5K T-shirt, and I remarked that she was already in her colours. Her reply was memorable for me:
    "No, no. I support Calabar. My husband used to be on the school track team."

Perhaps even a small step like a renaming exercise will motivate many women and girls to consider celebrating the good aspects of their own scholastic adolescence. To support a school team is to hopefully support today's youth and or nurture your own nostalgia; to support a national team is hopefully an act of civic pride; and to support a sports club is to indulge in fanaticism and maybe some hero worship. We, in Jamaica treat high school sports, starring children who are not connected to us, as if they were club sports. Let us acknowledge the purpose of school sports as one aspect of childhood development and celebrate it appropriately.

This is my idea only and does not represent any other person or any organisation
My current re-naming vision for the former Deaconess High School brings together four ideas by identifying: 
  • The nation that sponsors the school - Jamaica
  • The population that the school serves - females
  • The curriculum that is offered - academic
  • The ownership of the school - a faith-based institution.
The proposed name is The Holy Jamaican Woman Academy short form Holy Woman. The swan mascot still applies. This encompasses femininity, Christianity, the type of education that is offered and Jamaican culture and identity. 

I propose that the word woman instead of girl be placed in the name of the school as a way to promote the title of woman as a positive state of being that girls should anticipate with pride, joy and a sense of purpose and also responsibility.

Emancipation Now
I close by highlighting the stories of the names of all-girls secondary schools in Jamaica using the Educate Jamaica 2016 Ivy League ranking:
  1. Immaculate Conception - Named for the conception of God's One Son
  2. Montego Bay - Place name in Jamaica where the school is located
  3. Westwood - An abstract place name
  4. Hampton - Place name in UK, the former name was a place in Scotland
  5. St Andrew - Male name and place name
  6. Wolmers - Sir name of male founder
  7. St Hilda's - Female academic and outstanding spiritual leader of the early Middle Age UK
  8. Convent of Mercy (Alpha) - Spiritual reference point for God's One Son, (I Am The Alpha and the Omega)
  9. Bishop Gibson - Name of 20th century male spiritual leader in Jamaica
  10. Mount Alvernia - Named after, La Verna, a place in Italy connected to a famous male spiritual leader St Francis of Assisi
  11. Holy Childhood - Named for the childhood of God's One Son
  12. Merl Grove - An acronym for the founder's children  (Miriam, Effey, Reginald, Ruth, Lucille) which is a beautiful tribute
  13. St Hugh's - Named after a college at Oxford University which was itself named in honour of an influential male spiritual leader in the UK of the Middle Ages
  14. The Queens - Named in honour of the coronation of the current monarch of Jamaica
  15. Marymount - Derived from a place name in Jamaica. Original name after an influential religious figure
For extra measure the name of the only all-girls primary school in Jamaica is St George.

All-boys secondary schools Educate Jamaica 2016 Ivy League ranking:
  1. Wolmers - Male founder
  2. Munro - Sir name of one of the male founders
  3. Kingston - The country's capital
  4. St George - Patron saint of UK who magnificently slew dragons 
  5. Jamaica - They named the country after the school (it is said)
  6. Calabar - Place name in Nigeria to reinforce the proud black man effect
  7. Cornwall - Named for the county where the school is located.
/END


Caribbean Secondary Schools for Girls

Trinidad and Tobago
Lakshmi Girls' Hindu College - Named for a high ranking Hindu goddess
Naparima Girls' High School  - Place name of Taino origin
St. Augustine Girls' High School - Early Christian influential male theologian

Barbados - None
Guyana - None

St Vincent - St Vincent Girls' High School

“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind….” Marcus Garvey, Nova Scotia, October 1937.

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds." Bob Marley on the Uprising album, 1980.




I edited this heavily on May 21 because I realise that my expressions were bruising dearly held opinions. My goal is not to ostracise.

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Star-Apple Kingdom

To me, The Derek Walcott poem,  The Star-Apple Kingdom, connects him to Jamaica.
It also showcases how he is inspired by plants. As a tribute to him, here is a chronological list of the plants of the Caribbean and references to Jamaica that are named in the poem:

Plants

  1. Star-apple
  2. Lime
  3. Casurinas
  4. Mahogany
  5. Bougainvillea
  6. Lily
  7. Flame Tree
  8. Cocoa
  9. Magnolia
  10. Ginger-Lilies
  11. Tangerine
  12. Macca
  13. Cactus
  14. Bay
  15. Grass
  16. Moss 
  17. Tobacco
  18. Sugar
  19. Bananas
Jamaica 

  1. Trelawny
  2. St David
  3. St Andrew
  4. Great House
  5. Nanny
  6. Custos
  7. Jamaica
  8. Botanical Gardens
  9. Root-rock music
  10. Yallahs
  11. August Town
  12. Wareika Hills
  13. Dread beat
  14. Kingston 
  15. Quadrilles
  16. Rock stone
  17. Port Royal
  18. Palisadoes
  19. Penna and Venables
  20. St Thomas
END

Friday, 24 February 2017

Level mek we settle the argument!

I YAM NOT AN AUTHORITY ON ANYTHING

Level mek we settle the argument!

The February 18, 2017 staging of the celebrated Youth View Awards (now called Your View Awards) has found itself in an inelegant situation because its selection process awarded the Favourite Local Artiste of the Year (Male) and four other awards to someone who corrupts public officials in the field of national security, and this led to outrage from sections of the public.

Level mek we settle the argument about whether illicit commercial recordings have been smuggled from high security correctional institutions and into legitimate business activities. I am not an entertainment or a corrections insider, so what I have set out here is from my observances using information was shared through public discourse on national media outlets. Let's start with a kickoff from the centre circle with memorable plays from 2016:
Las May Feb 25 Daily Gleaner

  1. June 2016, Boomshots Magazine reviewed the Dancehall album King of the Dancehall which had dropped that month. The writer: "So all my time just gone?” Vybz Kartel intones at the start of the tenth track on his thirteenth albumKing of the Dancehall. “All these years—them waste it. If me rob every watch inna the jewelry store, me can’t get back the time.” This is the closest Adidja Palmer comes to addressing the five years (and counting) that he’s spent behind bars on his new album King of the Dancehall, which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Reggae chart today;
  2.  Justin Beiber’s international hit on the Sorry riddim was released in October 2015, and in April 2016 the imprisoned one released the off-album single All I Wanna Do on the same riddim;
  3. The off-album single Round Corna was released in October 2016 as a diss track insulting the current leading artiste "blind bwoy” (time code 1:51) who was not popular in 2011.

    I agree with the reviewer of the Boomshots article which closed, "Despite the impossible odds, he moves with complete confidence, secure in the knowledge that his loyal subjects would follow him all the way to the gates of hell."
    Two-Face, an arch enemy of Batman
    as portrayed in Arkham videogame
    (DC Comics)

    The YVA took a left wing defence to the public outrage over their disregard for what many see as clear family resemblance of corruption. They found a narrow space to pass the ball with the quote "we support all artistes", suggesting that the natural arbiter of the matter was the Broadcasting Commission, the matter was dribbled briefly by the Jamaica Observer. 


    On February 23, 2017 The Jamaica Observer, a sponsor of the event and one of the newspapers of record for Jamaica, made a move for the net and said in its Editorial  "We find it difficult to argue with that view from the (YVA) organisers." The Editorial ends, "Only the young can enjoy youth."

    That same day, The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica also took a header for the goal through a news release saying that it had met with its fellow public agency, the Department of Correctional Services, and concluded that "as it concerns convicts, their privilege or ability to create music whilst incarcerated is governed by correctional rules".   It was a creditable attempt that was appreciated by the YVA fan base.


    The Hon Louise Bennett Coverley, OM
    Foremost cultural icon of Jamaica
    (1919-2006)
    The Jamaica Association of Composers and Authors (JACAP) was not called up for the match, but had a right to be on the field, to clarify if the album was produced by one of it's members, and whether information submitted to them under Rule 4 was in good order. This is relevant in making a decision whether recordings make it on playlists.

    The other supporting player who should have been on a starting eleven is the Television Jamaica programme Entertainment Report which has the current weekly countdown of top ten on the local charts. Some questions could include, "Are the selections registered with JCAP?"; "From what data is the countdown derived?" I could be at fault for posing such questions as perhaps the answers are public knowledge, but I am not aware as I had not been following the programmes.

    The Chairman of the Jamaica Federation of Corrections did make the starting side however as a surprise call-up four days later when he spoke to a radio station on February 28, "Recent recordings are coming out from behind the bars, but as I said before, it must be done in a structured way, it has not been structured, and therefore if it is not structured, it is not legal".  Among the many wonderful Jamaican proverbs this one I think applies to this situation: If fish come up from down a river bottom and tell you seh shark down deh, believe im.

    February 28, 2017: The Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security took control of the game with a fast break by accepting that there was a serious problem when he said, "What now exists is a dysfunctional system,where we have to contend with contraband entering our correctional facilities and the allegations of complicity of our staff in this matter. This poses a potential threat to our national security and to our efforts to redefine and transform the Department of Correctional Services”.  He created some damage, but the ball reached a defender and not a forward attack.

    March 2, 2017: Despite the minister's acceptance, the Gleaner publishes the Commissioner of Corrections stepping sideways, perhaps to avoid an offside, saying, "These are allegations that you hear, I would have heard them on the news, and there are suggestions that it could be happening, but in terms of pinning persons down, having concrete evidence, we don't." 

    Clovis, March 2, Jamaica Observer
    It is timely to recall that the court  that convicted persons for the death of Lizard relied a lot on digital - perhaps even more so than physical - evidence. (WARNING DISTURBING VIDEO)
    The ministry with responsibility for national security tackled his own defender and followed up its statement on March 5 with the announcement "We have assembled all the key recommendations in a structured matrix, delegated specific responsibilities and are renewing responsibilities and are reviewing budget allocations to advance the process of stamping out corruption and criminal activity in our correctional facilities."

    The Joker , an arch enemy of Batman
    as portrayed by Heath Ledger
    (DC Comics)
    Altogether, the lauding of illicit recordings that have made their way into the legal economy continues and the acceptance of such material for prestigious awards and selecting tracks for playlists in dancehalls and on bandstands is watering and fertilizing the playing field for more of this kind of crime to flourish. Airbrushing criminality at a youth event by saying we "support all artists" can be compared to looking the other way while crime photobombs your beautiful stadium selfies.

    In 2013, the collaborator of the autobiography of the artiste in an open letter to the then Minister of National Security said  'scamming” has been reported as a problem in Jamaica since 2006, whilst the little known song “Reparation,” only started being played in the public domain in the summer of 2012'. The collaborator also said in that letter "a potential juror may be influenced to convict Adidja Palmer for a song Vybz Kartel did about an aspect of Jamaican life," 
    Your View Awards Jamaica, YVAs

    This shows that there are persons who are ahead of the law, proposing that the stage persona has a separate legal identity from the individual.  

    When the match seemed to be settling down for a draw, the referee "Magnum New Rules March 25", allowed a penalty kick that was rewarded by a goal as described by Andre Williams of The Star.

    And the final outcome of the beautiful game? A fog descended on the field rendering low visibility, and it was called off before the end of full time, and without a decision. What is clear is that the artiste on the track  Don't Know Someone is upset, "So all my time just gone, all these years, them waste it; me can't get back the time?" but he has found a way to be on the field. 

    Fifteen days after the YVAs, the finals of the Jamaica Invitational Badminton Championships was held in the same venue, the National Indoor Sports Centre. A vocal and enthusiastic group of badminton teens and young adults were enjoying themselves. Slovakia and India were warming up for the men's doubles when the selector decided to turn up the excitement and he put on a dancehall recording that was met with loud shouts of "No! no!" and arms clearly signalling a wipe-out. It was a scammer chune, and they would have none of it. Badminton youth stood up for something decent, they rock.
    END