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About Jamaica and stuff. 2 pound a weed in a napsack. new article

Dancehall, Bleaching and Di Gal Dem

written by owen, 2011-Feb-15

I was going to leave this topic alone because I thought that it would not last as long as it has. I seem to have lost touch with the gritty underbelly and attention span of the common man. Now as many of my fellow, more serious writers have pointed out, Vybz Kartel is on the scene (again!) and he is eroding the very fabric of Jamaican culture with his Cake Soap. Truth be told "Bleaching" has been around since the beginning of time, since Toots and the Maytals "Monkey Man", and Mr Lexx was singing Monkeys Out. Now “Cool like mi wash mi face wid the cake soap” has become the tag line for what seems to be countless discussions about Proactive, Foundation and the now infamous Cake Soap. It all started with the song: Straight Jeans And Fitted back in the summer of June 2010. I definitely thought the song was going to become exceptionally popular, (I even made it one of my songs of the year) but I could never have guessed how.

Now on to the bleaching topic;

Back in the 90s, bleaching in dancehall music was mostly focused on women since back then the obsession was about being a browning. As I have mentioned before dancehall is a mish-mash of things happening in the country at various point in time. In dancehall there is never one thing going on, it is a constantly changing medium. If it is corrupting our youth is a matter of opinion and more so "perspective", because in this day and age nothing corrupts our youth more than failing high school math and not getting a good job so that the major banks in Jamaica can rape them with service fees. Improving customer service tastes good if you cook it with some butter.

Nothing in dancehall ever stays around too long, (and it never goes away forever) because as a people Jamaicans are dynamic, easily distracted and talented people (well most of us). We love our black women. I heard albums by musicians in America a full 3 years before the record labels decided to release it as a "new" album, such is not the case with dancehall, because it is much harder to stay relevant if all your music is 3 years old. And you have to face it, some people just are not relevant - AT ALL. Rnb I'm looking at you.

As I write I am trying to decide whether I should keep on the topic of bleaching, brownings or general dancehall music because anything that bobbles to the top of dancehall music is more than just "music". It is a means of documentation, a writing on the wall. Dancehall runs the range of social topics such as Crime, Volience, Homophobia, Vanity, Money, Spirituality, Promiscuity, Sexually, Infadelity, Money, The Police, The Government, Dreams and more issues than I can even think up to list or even Ian Boyne can cover in a 5000 word article. Truth be told, most of us would rather avoid anything to do with these issues because they are either too difficult to solve or we do not care as long as they are far from our gully side. Because of the sensitivity and helplessness of these issues what results is controversy. I was was on the bus and a 5 year old was trying to beat me in a staring contest and upon failing proceeded to give me "the finger". I was SHOCKED! I wondered where she learned that - must be the dancehall music.

Dancehall music goes hand in hand with controversy. I would go as far as to say that the best Dancehall music is the most controversial. Of course that last sentence is written purely to invoke thought on the part of the reader because in Jamaica - most people will ignore anything that is not staring them in the face or overcharging them. I have explained to people that at some level, Dancehall is a competition of controversy, you can see it in the dancing, the lyrics, the money, the parties - EVERYTHING. Staying controversial in dancehall is a tricky tight rope to walk. You have the uptown people on one side, the government and the police and the Broadcasting Commission on the other monitoring and regulating the industries, balancing the interests of consumers, the industries and the creative community in implementing public policy and law. It is a tricky game of cat and mouse.

Now what is the point of all this text and links? I am not sure really because people will always have personal bias towards certain things and all the advertisement on television will still have a browning wife, a strong black husband and 2 cute chinese-australian children with curly hair. The path to knowledge, wisdom and understanding is a long, expensive and dangerous road to travel. As I get older things may change or they may stay the same but one thing is for sure: Dancehall and Jamaican Music will always be around and will always be controversial. Naw watch no face. photo source

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owen commented: I was actually in the process editing it but one day turned into a month and I never got around to it. Better posted than never. ... read 4 more

January 2011 News Round Up

written by owen, 2011-Jan-28

Sometimes I read too much into things. I cannot tell if this is a good start to the year or not. (what)

This afternoon I was listening to the news on the radio and it was reported that the most wanted Dog Paw was captured in the presence of 2 females in Red Hills. The females were said to be graduates of a prominent university in Kingston. I guess it just goes to show that (having gone to a University)
university really doesn't teach you any life lessons and that Good Girls will always go for the Bad Boys. So it go.

The Gangs seems to be in turmoil. Lots of innocent people getting killed in the mix. I though(t) all the gunmen died in Tivoli during the Incursion and extradition of Dudus. I guess Dudus may in fact be just another one of the many unnamed gangsters waiting to made a person of interest.

Lawyers (are) charging $30,000 JMD per hour; its no wonder people have to demonstrate for "Justice" all the time. There is really no other way to attain it. Really I think they should block the road more often. Clearly only politicians can afford justice and SUVs to protect them in accidents. That dual citizenship lady must have been a hot girl in high school cause she has friends in high places. Accidents are bad overall and I mean, they are accidents but people keep driving and using their cellphones. If it is a female in the accident people assume she was sleeping, if it was a man then he was speeding on NOS. I guess stereotypes have a purpose. Condolances to all the families, I don't think this year will be under 300 deaths in car accidents.

I am really not going to say anything about Manatt, Phelps & Phillips except that everytime I hear it reference I hear rythme for Straight Jeans and Fitted in the back of my head. There is a live stream that you can watch online - not sure how exciting that would be but somebody will link it in the comments. These people need to have people watching over them at all times, why wait a whole year to investigate shit? They old, they probably done forgot how it went down.

Soon people will start striking for more pay again, even as the minimum wage gets a slight increase. there are bi easy ways to grow the economy, this will not be a come back year.

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Falmouth Community commented: The Manhatt affair is getting drawn out, but it is reaching the climax. I can't wait to see KD Knight against Prime Minister Golding! ... read 1 more

Merry Christmas 2010

written by owen, 2010-Dec-22

Wow, year done already. Now is nothing but a steam roll to my next birth day. It has been a long year. Lots of people died and loved ones morn their loss. I could try to some up everything in the news but I can't bother. I'm just going to go to Mandeville and sleep. All the best for the new year and have a safe holiday!


Hurricane Proof - Not water proof

written by owen, 2010-Oct-6

Now that the rains have subsided we can go back to arguing about politics and the life of crime and partying. Alas, not before we get to use this fuzzy new word called "BILLION". It seems like the politicians were itching for a reason to drop the B-bomb since - I don't know - the sell-my-jetta recession but there never quite was a good, believable reason to use it. Now they dropping B-Bombs left, right and center. Seems like regular millions can't do anything anymore. Give me a 100 million dollars and you won't hear from me again - you can count on that. Straight, Jeans....

If I can digress for a moment, I'd like to briefly mention that every time I hear the phrase Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, I start to sing it to the rhythm of Vybz Kartel's song: Straight-Jeans & Fitted. Who can do a quick remix?

Its like a couple months ago after the whole Dudus thing when they said they needed a BILLION dollars to fix the Coronation Market. A BILLION dollars? really? You need a billion dollars to fix a market where poor people have to toil day in and day out to sell their goods in order to "barely" send their kids to school? A BILLION DOLLARS? You would think that the market was hit by a missile or maybe it was rotting away over the years to the point of disrepair - I don't know. I stopped following that story when I heard a cell company jump up and say they donating money towards the project. It done yet? I think bright red is a nice color for a market.

Which brings us back to the title of this post. Now clearly Jamaica is in a much better position to deal with hurricanes than it was a couple years ago. Problem is hurricanes, usually come and go pretty quickly. Barring the people that live in dangerous locations (who either don't know better or can't do better) the country is usually able to bounce back.

The situation with Nicole now is a whole other different story (aka kettle of fish). First of all she kinda snook up on us all of a sudden ( like an angry ex with a knife) and the supermarkets never get to make any money off the millions of people rushing in to buy last minute supplies. Secondly she kinda stayed too, like that neighbour that came over you house to borrow sugar but stayed for a game of wii sports and snacks. Thirdly, everybody and them mother was still driving around in the rain helping the mash up the poor roads that neva build good in the first place. Mek unnu no tan a unnu yard when rain a fall?

If you look at the situation closely most of the road infrastructure simply was not designed to handle long periods of rain fall. Its not all Nicole's fault, in fact it takes 2 to tango, if you look at the Highway 2000, not a single puddle of water settle anywhere on that big ass expensive road. As for the rest of the roads? every pot hole turn into a crater or trench depending on various factors such as elevation, asphalt thickness, constituency, traffic and a number of other factors. I've seen potholes appear in the most unusual places like US citizens in the Jamaican government. I can't even spot them any more I just look for a trail of look gravel and I know that its there, somewhere, waiting, hiding below the water, ready to mashup my new Clarks.

Several people have died, others are homeless, river-less and their cliff-side home has fallen into the gully. The minister of Agriculture says there is nothing to worry about - all our chickens will arrive in time for Sunday dinner. Many people have more water than they can drink, so much so that them flood out of home and land. I guess the drought prayers from a couple months ago are now being answered. Where are we going to find all them billions? I don't know, all I'm saying is Nicole is not all at fault, some of these roads where bad from long time, the rain water just show it up. The Bog Walk Gorge flood every time it rain - why are people still surprised? There is this road in front of Portmore Community College that falls to pieces and develops pot holes EVERY TIME IT RAINS! I'm not defending a tropical depression with a very common name - I'm just saying. We are living in interesting times, excuses abound and new car season is around the corner - it sucks in case you neva KNO. That Touch not going to but itself pay your taxes! Walk good.

(Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of owensoft and its esteemed team of editors and directors)

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owen commented: One of my rare long posts. [laugh] ... read 6 more

Amateur video footage implicates policemen

written by owen, 2010-Aug-4

A video has surfaced on the national news of a man being beaten and shot by policemen in St. Ann last friday. The video was released after the CCN's made a press release about the incident. Critics argue that the video does not match up with the press release and this incident maybe typical.

The Constabulary Communication Network (CCN) had initially reported that Lloyd was shot dead after he attacked them with stones and attempted to stab a member of the team. Watch Video.

Human Rights Organisations are calling for the CCN to dismantled because it serves no purpose but to propogate Hearsay, misinformation and scripted police reports. Various human rights agencies in Jamaica have come out to say that his latest incident is a clear indication that the aforementioned CCN (Constabulary Communication Network ) body has out grown its usefulness to the public at large.

Relatives of the woman who was allegedly killed by the man who was killed by the police man have come out in defence of the police man on CVM TV. The daughter of dead woman quoted scripture "an eye for an eye" as she spoke in defence of the policemen involved in the killing.

The head of the CCN in its defence stated that it would be impractical to disolve the body over a single incident and further stated that measures have been put into place to prevent this incident from re-occuring. It was not disclosed what these measures are or how they were concieved/implemented so over a holiday weekend. Knee-Jerk Effect?

The video of the incident has now become a mainstay of the local news for the pass 3 days. The Jamaica Broadcasting Commission may not noticed it as yet so as to ban it from public viewing. International media seems to not have caught wind of the incident and hence it may not affect the tourism product.

It has also been reported that up to the time of this writing the police officers have yet to be charged for any crime. It maybe a interesting turn of events if the "60 day with out charge or reason" crime bill passed in parliment only applies to civilians, poor people and those who do not have access to lawyers and cheap tertiary education.

Reports have also surfaced that one of the suspected policemen is suffering from heart palputations and had to be hospitalized. Lawyers of the accused are saying that the showing of the video may have created a bias in the eyes of the public towards the policemen. Added to the fact that the policemen where so swiftly arrested upon the release of the video without proper investigation and consultation on the matter. These actions may make it hard for the jury to be fair and balanced towards the policemen.

It is too early to tell how this will all pan out. All we know are the facts. One man of possibly unsound mind, a murdered woman, a team of policemen, a crowd of individuals egging on the policemen to "light him up" and a cellphone video that has changed the lives of the people involved.

Article image attributed to alancleaver.

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owen commented: There is a link to watch the video in the second paragraph. Its highly likely that the man did kill the woman. ... read 3 more

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