Skip to main content

Veteran Dancehall Artiste Frankie Paul stand against Dancehall discrimination

Frankie Paul
Reggae artiste Frankie Paul has resurfaced defending 'Dancehall' the colourful offspring of the Jamaican Reggae music genre.  The singer voiced his opinion on the Run Things label soon to be released single entitled, "It's Not Dancehall'  and spoke to the Jamaica Observer 17/3/14 about the music.  Frankie Paul defended Dancehall saying, "I don't know where they got the idea that Dancehall music promotes crime.  Dancehall has always been about life and fun." These implications have come on the heels of the recent murder conviction of popular Dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel.

According to the article, Frankie Paul admitted in the interview with the Jamaica Observer that there are indeed songs that overstep moral and social boundaries, but believes censorship should be left to a regulatory body such as the Broadcasting Commission, not the police or courts.

As the criticisms spiralled across various media understandably, another underlying fact is that media reporting remains unbalanced as it relates to day to day stride and/or progress made by other Dancehall artistes to right the wrong or what can be done to capitalize on a multi-million dollar industry.  Recently Dancehall icon Bounty Killer retweeted fans who congratulated him and Busy Signal on their performance and demonstration of bringing about change in Dancehall, as popular Dancehall artistes at the recent Mountain View Jamboree. 
The Tweets:
mi luv how yuh talk to ghetto girlz dem n mek seh fi ole up dem head n do mek nuh artiste come a style dem
The Alliance with the boss 5 Star general, Busy Signal and Bling Dwag show that unity is strength
Popcaan who is said to currently have a case in court, recently performed in Ghana's 40,000 capacity Accra Sport Stadium to a full house while Sean Paul's performance with Konshens on the America late night Arsenio Hall Show, remains an historic, major and positive public display of the genre.
Popcaan tweeted a section of the crowd at Accra Stadium

The international news coverage of Vybz Kartel's conviction recently although negative, attest to the fact that Dancehall has a mass attention span and while there might be problems in some aspect of it, has grown considerably over the years.

Frankie Paul laments to the Jamaica Observer his other concerns were, that although offending provisions were removed from the anti-gang legislation, they remain under the Offences Against the Person Act, and carry heavy penalties for lyrics which the courts deem offensive.  

With every business comes problems, issues, challenges likened by this writer with the popular Jamaican proverb 'di higher the monkey climb the more him a$$ expose.' In the case of the Jamaican Dancehall genre, saying it's dead will not stop the young artistes coming up to strive further than Vybz Kartel or those before him.  It will not stop the artistes who are already in the business and making a living from it and it will not stop the millions of fans who enjoy the music from supporting it. Hip-Hop music is big business in America and received similar flax and what has Hip-Hop artistes done? They become even more creative and this is what is happening now, Dancehall artistes are becoming more creative and like all other potential 'artistic' brands in Jamaica deserve more than second chances, Dancehall deserves as much chances it takes to get it right.

Frankie Paul's argument on the issue of Dancehall is wholesome, he became one of Dancehall's leading artist during the 1980s and 1990s with hits such as 'I Know'The Score,' 'Sarah,' 'Head to Toe,' 'Pass The Tu-Sheng-Peng,' and 'Worries in the Dance.'  In 1994, he settled in Gambia after performing at a show in that African country. Frankie Paul is visually impaired.

Excerpts: The Jamaica Observer