Saturday, February 21, 2009

Daggerin our freedom of speech

I read Annie Paul's Active Voice post on the "Daggerin" controversy in Jamaica and felt inspired enough to put in my 2 cents. (her blog is linked on my blogroll)

I am not a huge fan of the current crop of lewd Dancehall music. I grew up with rockers and reggae but for the most part still cant embrace the edgier modern dancehall. Bawdy soca and chutney however don't even illicit a reaction from me, probably it's my culture and I have grown with this and Crazy singing "nanny wine" was not a far cry from some of the stuff going on today.

The point is that I would hate to live in a place, country, a region..a world where someone else was telling me that I could not listen to a bawdy song. I think everyone is free to criticise music that they think is distasteful and even mobilise boycotts against it. However, a STATE has no role in determining exactly what level of moral 'influence' I should get from my music.

The state should be seeking to address social conditions that create the environments where bawdiness proliferates. The state should be seeking to encourage responsible parenting where parents take a full interest in their kids activities including what they listen to and what they watch. The state should be helping to educate children to be responsible citizens and to take ownership for their own development and to make their own choices. The state should defend the weak and the powerless from bullying and discrimination and hate. If you want to the output of the society to look and sound better, solve the corrosive input into the system - don't try to regulate the only outlets for society's ills. Don't attack the symptoms whilst ignoring the causes.

That's why I bristle when I hear about any government intervening on radio broadcasting. Short of hate speak, banning transmissions over the airwaves is telling people what they can or cannot listen to. Movies, video games, talk radio, books . Governments are always looking for ways to keep the society stagnant (they say stable). It is about control, people.

The state should not...not now and not telling me what kind of music I should listen to.


  1. insight full and hitting the nail on the head... instead of stifling lyrics they should heed the reality of situations and change the circumstances in which they thrive... then maybe they wont have to hear about the daggers... whether it be a sexual act or a knife at someone's throat...

  2. Agreed. I dont like all the lyrics out there but that doesnt mean I want them banned. Censorship should not the primary tool (arguably should not be used at all) for social change.


  3. yuh know what is so funny about dis whole 'daggerin' issue .... before all the 'daggerin' songs were pointed out (and subsequently banned)... I had no clue that that's what they were about :-) .... who de hell does understand dancehall lyrics?

  4. Wuzdescene

    Lol - lots of folks dont get the lyrics. Lots of criticism of music, movies come from people who never even hear or see the stuff they're criticising. All on heresay.


  5. The thing is though this thing they now call dancehall (I remember "dub") is explicit in a way never seen before.
    Soca/Calypso at least respects the double-entendre. Remember the outcry over "Ato Tea"?

    I am not setting up both genres as opposing one another; just pointing out that this is something very new.