Dancehall music has become a symbol of explicit sexual imagery and violence. Despite the positive effects Dancehall music might have on our young people, it has become more a pathway for moral degradation with our young people. Dancehall is a “style of Jamaican popular music that had its genesis in the political disturbance of the late 1970’s ad became Jamaica’s dominant music in the 1980’s and 90’s”, ( C.J.Cooper)
“Jamaican dancehall culture is commonly disparaged as a homophobic, homicidal, misogynist discourse that reduces both men and women to bare essentials: skeletal remain” (Cooper.C.J,July2000). Dancehall music as an art form has great influences on the youths. This can be seen where popular Dancehall artist Vybz Kartel song the song ‘Clarks’ the brand of shoe became an instant hit.Both male and female youths wanted to be in ‘clarks’. So if these artist praise violence in their lyrics wouldn’t it be inevitable that the youths would follow,due to the huge influence they already have on them? The youths, especially males believe that being a ‘bad man’, ‘hot skull’, and ‘chargie’ are good descriptions of themselves.It makes them feel like they belong because it has become the norm.Isn’t there then some self esteem problems with our youths? Popular Dancehall artist, Movado, coined the slang, ‘Gangster for life’ which resonated with the youths. They sought to illicit and imitate gangstas behavior. According a study done on The effects of Dancehall genre on adolescent sexual and violent behavior in Jamaica: A public health concern “19% male and 13% females demonstrated violence in schools, in their communities, and/or in their homes – 7% females and 9% males were taken to the Principal’s office; 3% females and 5% males suspended”(A.D. Crawford, 2010).In today’s society almost all of the Dancehall Artists are being arrested for criminal offenses. The most recent of which is Vybz Kartel being charged with Murder in 2011. Despite this, however it still remains the popular music, even with adults, then why are we complaining?
Sexual explicit behavior among our youths influenced by the lyrics of Dancehall music is also evident. There is a higher rate of promiscuity and pregnancy. This has also aided in the increase of HIV/AIDS and STd’s infections. According a study done on The effects of Dancehall genre on adolescent sexual and violent behavior in Jamaica: A public health concern ‘Of the 100 respondents, 52% males and 58% females claimed to be sexually active'(A.D. Crawford, 2010).
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