The other side claims it is the voice of the people, a medium through which they express their feelings and echo what is happening in the society. So is dancehall influencing certain behaviour and mindsets regarded as unwholesome, or is it just a mirror, reflecting the attitudes and deeds engendered by other social, religious, political and psychosexual dynamics?
The discussion continues on Thursday, when Losing Paradise and Music, a Claudja Barry film, will be screened at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts between 1:15 and 3:15 p.m. as one of the offerings at the three-day Rex Nettleford Conference.
Screening will be in the visual arts room and admission is free.
impact of dancehall
In 45 minutes, Barry looks at the impact of dancehall music on the younger generation of Jamaicans.
"The language of dancehall and the attitude of its performers too often send a negative voice to the Jamaican youths and to the rest of the world ... . Many believe Jamaica has started to encourage a culture of violence, and sending this message through its music can only hurt the cause to restore its image to the positive, vital and dynamic form that elevates the mind and soothes the troubled soul," Barry told The Gleaner.
In an interview earlier this year Barry told News Blaze writer Garrett Godwin, "Today it seems that the artistes are dictating to their fans whatsocial behaviour should be. The music is not commenting on what is happening in society, artistes are directing the show and the fans are following. In many cases, it seems that violence, the gun culture, disrespect for women, homophobia, moral and sexual breakdown are coming directly from the artistes who expound such behaviour in theirmusic and lyrics. That is coming from their personal preferences."
This breakdown of which she speaks is the essence of her film. We are losing the paradisiacal nature of Jamaica and dancehall music has a part to play in this loss.
"It's the Jamaica known for its friendly people, breathtaking landscape, exquisite beaches, delicious food and upbeat reggae music that has boosted tourism for many years; but lately, Jamaica's image has taken a hit ... . It's time to look back at Jamaica's rich heritage, understand it, celebrate it, sing, dance and call for the rest of the world to join in. It's time for artistes to take responsibility," says the woman who is a recording and performing artiste herself.