Frederick Dannaway and I have come to know each other through our love for Jamaican music, culture and the scholarship around them. I first learned about Dannaway’s writings from a tweet by @RBMA. First, I read ‘Computer Rise’ and reblogged it. Since then, Frederick contacted me and we have been in email contact about his papers and my work on Jamaican popular culture.
Its important to note that his articles came to my attention in this Jamaica’s fiftieth year of independence, marking significant national achievements but also the sad truth of many woes. One that sits at the forefront of my brain is that many at home still underestimate the importance of culture, whether it is expressed in our language, dance moves, or our music, and its the external recognition of our intangible cultural heritage that often brings it into focus at home. Be it reggae or dancehall, for example, some Jamaicans will never see their potential, the need for investment to reap their full potential, or appreciate their global impact. This sad reality also explains why resources for research and documentation of culture lags behind that of other areas, and why serious study is not growing among locals.
In yet another piece, Dannaway charts the ebb and flow of a nation’s sexuality through its music from mento, rocksteady, reggae, dancehall and more. Here’s a look at one of the most central elements of human identity and culture through the Jamaican lens. Tell us what you think.
Although there are more churches per capita than anywhere else in the world, Jamaicans are not, and never have been, puritanical. Perhaps it’s the island heat that makes clothing superfluous, combined with the seductive riddims that infuses Jamaica with sexuality. Sex and music go together like ackee and saltfish, and Jamaica is saturated with both from the rent-a-dreads trysting with white women, to the orgies of the Hedonism resort and the indigenous sexuality of the dancehall. The rhetoric and fundamentalism in Jamaica emerged when foreigners descended en masse into military guarded enclaves for the rich – otherwise known as resorts – which overtly broke Jamaican laws of decency in an orgy of neo-colonialism, debauched materialism and racial elitism, expressed in fortified tropic paradises firewalled from the island poverty by razor wire and military guards.
Read the entire article here.