Gun lyrics, crime and responsibilityFriday, April 09, 2021
The recent utterance of the prime minister in the House of Parliament on the issue of crime and some dancehall songs containing violent/gun lyrics has drawn the ire of artistes who have recorded such songs.
The two most prominent being Baby Cham and Mavado, who have contended that the Government was seeking to lay blame where it does not belong.
According to one of the artistes, the main reasons he attributed to Jamaica's high crime rate were poverty, poor leadership, illiteracy, and lack of opportunity for youth. While not offering any information on how he arrived at his conclusion, he asked whether the prime minister had any researched evidence that violent lyrics contributed to the high crime rate?
It's quite interesting how these artistes absolve themselves of responsibility and accountability when convenient, but require that the rest of society and the Government be front and centre on this same issue. They repeatedly state that they are not role models and, therefore, do not wish to be emulated by anyone, but bask in the glory derived from their popularity as an entertainer. This popularity has now thrown them into a position of influence, especially on our youth, many of whom are without proper guidance, so the artiste is now revered and idolised.
Most of our dancehall artistes have risen from the inner cities and their involvement in music has been influenced, one way or another, by the music itself or another singer.
Music is a very powerful medium and has the potential to influence the listener. By virtue of this fact the entertainer becomes a leader in his own right and should be cognisant that such a position comes with responsibility. It cannot be that an artiste is not accountable for the lyrics voiced in the songs. “To whom much is given, much is required.”
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