Producing Bars Behind Bars (Kartel’s Incarceration)

The Jamaican social media space recently went ballistic when Lisa Hanna, a Member of Parliament and member of the party in Opposition, suggested that authorities place a ban on Vbyz Kartel’s music because of the negative lyrics. Hanna’s instagram page lit up with threats from the fans of the artiste. Threats were written in the comments under her picture and local celebrities took to social media to express their outrage at Lisa Hanna’s suggestion.
The social media users stated that Lisa Hanna did not so much have a problem with the music but with Vybz Kartel releasing songs from jail.

  1. Why is it that we fight so hard against Jamaican art forms?
    Persons in the Jamaican sphere who claim that they are highly educated or from the upper class have always had a problem with popular culture, whether it be our music, dance or dialect. Just the other day, there was a problem with the cover of the Yellow Pages. Critics claimed that it portrayed Jamaica in a negative light and over sexualized our culture.


2. Did not Jah Cure produce music while in prison?
According to my source, Jah Cure was sentenced to 15 years in prison in April 1999 on charges of gun possession, robbery and rape. While at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, which had a digital recording studio, Jah Cure released three albums and a number of singles, some of which have topped the Jamaican charts. The songs “Jamaica” and “Longing For” were both local and global successes.

So there Jah Cure was releasing songs from prison, I have searched the internet for newspaper articles about anyone calling for Jah Cure to stop releasing music from prison. I did not find any but who knows, maybe I did not look hard enough.

Even if you agree that Kartel should stop releasing music from prison, let’s leave it right there. Do not ban his music from the airwaves.

With that said, I think we should stop calling for Kartel’s music or any other dancehall artiste music to be banned. Let us stop blaming the ills of society on our music. Let us work to build up the institutions such as the family and church that have been broken down. These institutions, pillars of the Jamaican society are in shambles. Now if the pillars of a house have been removed or destroyed, how do you expect the house to keep standing?

We embrace some aspect of Jamaica and leave others that we think are too ghetto. Nah hun, it isn’t ghetto. Those are the things that make this little piece of rock in the Caribbean Sea seems as if it is a big continent. These are the things that make Jamaica appear as if it is the only island in the Caribbean to foreigners. Mention the Caribbean and the first thing they say is Jamaica.

Soca season is coming up and soon the streets of Kingston, Jamaica will be filled with bodies clad only in brassieres and panties gyrating to the very suggestive and rhythmic beat of soca music. We embrace the culture of others and put down our own.
Don’t get me wrong, I love soca music (can’t wait to go to my first carnival in Trinidad) but I love dancehall, reggae; Jamaican music more. I would never consciously put down the music of my homeland for another country’s music.

Let’s get with the program. Reggae and dancehall are for us. Let us not sit idly by and watch foreigners take over and profit from our music and then realize too late the goldmine we had been sitting on.

I love Jamaica and everything that is Jamaica, the good, bad and the ugly.
Let us maintain the good and work on the things that are bad.



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