New York clubdj and Irie Jam radio host/programme director, Dubb Master Chris, is standing by his decision not to play any songs by dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel during Black History Month.
The radio discjock had announced last week that he will not play any music from the artiste who has raised eyebrows for bleaching his skin.
Black History Month is a big deal and we as a people should take every opportunity to celebrate our heritage. I feel if I continue to play Vybz Kartel, an artiste who is now very much known for bleaching his skin, it simply sends the wrong message to my young impressionable listeners" Chris said in an exclusive interview with the Star.
"Please understand that I have a lot of love and respect for Kartel's music. I respect his enormous talent and his individuality.He is one of the great lyricists of our time, however, at times I am disappointed in the direction he decides to take his audienceeven thoughthat is his prerogative" he noted.
Chris, who reiterated that he has been playing Vybz Kartel music on his radio show since the artiste first broke on the scene in the late 90s with Gal Clown, said he is against bleaching.
"I strongly believe bleaching is wrong, wrong, wrong! It's a disgrace. It's a slap in the face of our heritage, our ancestors andour God. This definitely sends the wrong message to children, I think it leads them to believe that somehow, if they are dark complexion something is wrong with that.It erodes the concept thatblack is beautiful," he said.
Dubb Master Chris
Chris, whose career on radio spans 16 years, said he made the decision to ban Kartel songs because of the power and influence the dj wheels, especially on the minds of young impressionable kids who love his music.
"Without a doubt kids are following his lead. Entertainers need to understand that the words they use are powerful. They influence their listeners, especially the younger ones. Artistes have the power to start trends good or bad ... remember that," he noted.
He called on other radio jocks who programme reggae songs to "take a good look at the values they are reinforcing by playing an artiste such as Kartel especially in these times." He noted that the temporary ban on Kartel music specifically applies to radio play. The ban he said was a personal decision but said that he had the full support of the Irie Jam Radio management and other jocks at the station.
Vybz Kartel, the award winning DJ who is known for songs like Romping Shop, Clarkes, Gun Like Mine, and Who Tell You Fi Run has said in several interviews that he doesn't mind being controversial and he bleaches to show up his many tattoos.
He is also comfortable with black people bleaching and it is tantamount to white people tanning.