Just a few months ago, the Jamaican Entertainment and more closely the dancehall industry was rocked by a series of deadly attacks leaving one member of the popular and leading dancehall groups without its front man. This attack was later followed by the attack of a veteran dancehall member followed by a popular dancehall selector. All this in the same breath of a civil unrest, loss of travel documents by the leading males in the industry, and then the arrest of so many months before. The industry was in trouble and some argue is still in trouble. The dancehall family has not or never allowed that to stop the music or to damper spirits as hits after hit from those indirectly affected could be heard on the airwaves and the ladies industry finally got a break to spread their wings and be heard.
Over the past couple months, shows have been postponed, canceled, and some remain uncertain to the extent millions in revenue have been lost and the artistes struggle to make ends meet, allowing for some to lose luxurious vehicles. Some may argue the point that these artiste are finally waking up and understanding they too are a part of a volatile and corrupt society with values and morals in fast decay, but as several artiste have said in the past the values of a nation must never be left to a nation's creative industry to fix or mend as parents and the church has a responsibility in that regard to fix. The national tradition of blame has seen a sharp decline when the same dancehall artiste who often dismiss responsibility have taken the task in assisting to revitalize the nation with its roots.
With the death of Oneil Edwards and the civil unrest, artistes such as Mr.Vegas, Voicemail, TOK, To-Isis, Alaine, Busy Signal, Chris Martin, Bounty Killer and others have all penned motivational songs of change and have created the ‘vibes’ to go along with it. It’s the first time in a long time that the dancehall community has moved in one accord at the same time all for one cause. Do we have to argue that ever so often a close member in the dancehall community must die to awaken these men and women? The dancehall fraternity was commended for this year Reggae Sumfest Dancehall Night 2010 as the most peaceful as well as no profanity used on stage indeed there is a “new dancehall” being born.
The new dancehall has also seen less violent articles being sent around the world portraying the dancehall artiste and their images with the new agents of change these artiste are indeed making an international mark with conscious lyrics, party music, and music that just calls for peace. One must sit back and notice this positive change over the past few month a change long in the making but coming, must we shake the hands of the Broadcast Commission (Jamaica), the court systems, or the promoters who all stand for a clean show and family oriented music? But one must never want change that the identity of the music is lost.
KEMAR DASWELL AUGUST 11, 2010