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SEX & VIOLENCE IN MUSIC TARGETED IN JAMAICA's RECENT BAN

Posted by Billyjam, February 23, 2009 04:25pm | Post a Comment

Vbyz Cartel feat. Spice "Ramping Shop"

Following their decision two weeks ago to place a ban on both violent and sexually explicit lyrics in popular dancehall records, the Jamaica Broadcasting Commission (JBC) has followed up, in a controversial decision a few days ago, by also issuing a ban on soca and hip-hop songs with both sexually explicit content and lyrics that encourage violence through gun use.

Two weeks ago, in its current quest to clean up the broadcast media, the Jamaican broadcast regulating commission first targeted reggae dancehall "daggering" songs and videos ("daggering" is a popular dance style with dancehall reggae fans that simulates sex via pelvic grinding moves) such as the popular, auto-tune happy single "Ramping Shop" by Vbyz Kartel featuring Spice (video above). The dance, as seen in the Mr Vegas "Daggering" video below, is very similar to the female booty ass shaking moves associated with Miami bass and most of current era popular hip-hop dances in BET music video play.

Hence it is no surprise that a lot of explicit hip-hop and soca were targeted by the JBC in its follow up ruling ban of few days ago. The reaction to this ban has been mixed. Some in Jamaica are outraged, calling it a double-standard since there is still a lot of explicit material in TV shows and movies. Others, such as US based YouTuber and big time dancehall fan Daggasista, said that, "Mi nuh care if dem ban di daggerin song dem mi still a whine an galang bad fi dem." As with any other past instances of censorship of music, bans like this usually only drive the music further underground while simultaneously fueling an interest in it.

But in its efforts to further eliminate the popular dance moves and the music that inspires them, the JBC has also placed a ban on the broadcast of live coverage or recorded shows, dances or events that simulate sexual activities or positions including street parades and stage shows. Interestingly, unlike the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) banning of certain songs on US radio, the recent JBC ruling also includes the banning of all songs with "bleeped" out words.

Furthermore, what I find intriguing about this is that for many years the same JBC has allowed a lot of anti-gay lyrics to remain intact in the famously homophobic dancehall reggae genre. In fact, even the song "Ranking Shop" above contains the gay intolerant lyrics "Man to man, woman to woman/ That's wrong," but it wasn't these lyrics which had anything to do with the song being banned. Of course, a similar standard for tolerance of homophobic content, albeit to a lesser degree, within hip-hop airplay in the States has also been true -- more so in past years than now.

One song in particular that comes to mind is the early nineties post-NWA Dr Dre hit song from The Chronic featuring Snoop Dogg, "Dre Day" (original album title "Fuck wit Dre Day"). The song and video, which mock Eazy E, have the seven dirty curse words bleeped and taken out of the Death Row release yet the line about "the Frisco dyke" was left intact in both the TV and radio play versions.


Mr Vegas "Daggering"

Relevant Tags

Dancehall (2), Censorship (3), Vybz Kartel (1), Mr Vegas (1), Dr Dre (7)