Dancehall deejay Cham is the latest to address Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ claims that dancehall music is a primary contributor to crime and that artists should be better role models for children.
Just as Holness read from a speech in his Parliamentary address last week, Cham also read from an off-camera script in his open address to the country’s leader on social media, giving his reasons for the crime crisis.
“Becoming an artiste was solely to provide entertainment to the world through my music,” the entertainer said. “Never did I once imagine that I would take on the responsibilities of a country’s governing body or parenthood for an entire nation. From where I stand, as someone from the inner-city, the ghetto, and a public figure, I have observed where poverty, poor leadership, illiteracy and lack of opportunities for the Jamaican youths are the top four contributors for the country’s high crime rate — not the music.”
He expanded his argument by referencing violence depicted in films.
“Are we going to slam or blame Netflix, who is one of the world’s top streaming platforms for violent content in the same breath? Or, are we going to remove data from everyone’s smartphones and their homes? Come on. Therefore, it begs to ask the question: is audio communication more effective than video communication? If yes, then it is with great honour that I will lobby for myself and my fellow artists, which are my brothers, to take over the government of Jamaica so we can finally, through our music, bring some order and restoration to the country.”
He added: “Mr Prime Minister, did your conclusion arrive from study done, or did it arrive from guilt of mismanagement over the years? People who are already prone to violence and have violent behaviours will always [be riggered] by anything that mimic their thought, and as such it is easy to conclude that visual or audio is what cause the person to become violent.”
But he said that’s only an “easy conclusion” and the real criminals should not be disregarded. He ended by reinforcing the artists’ right to freedom of expression.
“An artist is a mirror of society. Whatever society reflects we tend to reflect it back with music, melodies and words,” Cham continued. “If you take away the art from the artist, then you take away the artistry and then you’ll have no artistry. So please listen to what the people of the country is really saying and do the right job.”
Other Jamaican entertainers including Mavado, Masicka, Bounty Killer, Tanya Stephens and Devin Di Dakta have also chanted a similar tune against Holness’ claims in recent weeks.