Saturday, September 28, 2013

Jamaica, Land of Political Deejays



We are a Dancehall DJ Country… Lots of Jamaicans grow up listening to dancehall DJ’s as they fluently spit out lyrics and rhymes. We are often amazed by their ability to ride the rhythm and captivate the audiences. This catapults them to fame and fortune, earning them much love and respect from the crowd. In my youth I have been to my share of dancehall venues and watched as people used their hands to beat the hell out of the zinc fences whenever the DJ said something that was lyrically wicked.

The Political Class have long since learned that if you want to engage the Jamaican people then you must adopt a DJ like persona, the crowd expects nothing less or more. I would not be shocked if our Educated Political class were employing semi-literate Dancehall DJs as speech writers and voice coaches to train them in the linguistic art and mannerism of the Ghetto…. No longer is the Political class expected to use proper English when they address the electorate, no longer are they expected to raise the bar of intellectual discourse since all they need to do is appeal to the lowest common denominator of the Jamaican society, using the language of the street.

Back in the days one had to listen to our Educated Political class with our dictionary in hand, hanging off every word trying to find its meaning and the public would judge the various speakers based on both their command of the English language and their knowledge of the subject matter, I remember hearing one woman remarked while listening to a speech from Michael Manley… “I have no idea what him just say ...but him sound sweet and full a education”...Yes we were slaves to the “Speaky Spoky” back then but I guess this was early post-colonial Jamaica where everyone expected their leaders to be well versed in matters they did not understand and one way of judging this was by their ability to speak the language of intelligence.

The flipside of that is …If they were so intelligent well versed in the language of intelligence able to “speaky spoky” with the best of them, then why are we in such a mess? How come all this intelligence, all this book-smart did not translate into solid progress. How come they were so poor at settling their differences, since the educated solution to their differences was not to create garrisons and armed the population to the teeth, turning Jamaicans against Jamaicans but like intelligent highly educated civilized human beings to sit around a table and reason out those difference. In pre and post-colonial Jamaica almost all our high profile leaders were educated in some of the finest universities of the United Kingdom and the United States and yet we have not achieved our full potential.

These days words like “run-wid-it”, “eat-a-food”, “a Audley mi seh!", “bangarang”, “more man have gal”, is all that is required to get the masses going as our Political entertainers jump and prance on the political stage like a Dancehall DJs performing at a stage show.

This is also the reason why Jamaica is in the Guinness Book of Records as having the most churches per square mile. I do not know which one came first the vibrant energetic pastor excreting smooth rhythmic lyrics after lyrics to a congregation mesmerized and entranced my every word and filling the collection plates with their last red cent or the Dancehall DJ but it is quite obvious that we value lyrics over implementation.

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