Fire on Babylon: Jamaica Bans Sex and Violence in Music

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The Jamaican Broadcast Commission announced new rules which ban “any song or music video that depicts sexual acts or glorifies gun violence, murder, rape or arson.”

It’s like the 1950s all over again.

Jamaican lawmakers say they will forbid all lyrical references to sex and violence on their radio stations. The Jamaican Broadcast Commission announced new rules which ban “any song or music video that depicts sexual acts or glorifies gun violence, murder, rape or arson.”

The government also passed a law banning “daggering” in music videos, a kind of sexually suggestive dance.

Jamaican dancehall music has long been under scrutiny for it’s lyrical content. Intolerance towards homosexuality and lyrics about fire have been the cause of much controversy in the past.

Sandra Gordon and Carlyle McKitty of the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music told Jamaican publication The Gleaner, “instead of music portraying truths, rights, love and respect, we see a popular sound that is demeaning, hateful, destructive and downward vulgar.”

So maybe Jamaican music will sound a little more like this now?


One Comment

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  1. No, Jamaica will not sound like that. All that they are asking is to not have such negative lyrics aired on the radio and TV including daggering in the videos. They can still make that type of music but just not air it for the public whether it may be bleeped or blurred. They can till have these types of music but to be played in the clubs where one pays to enter and are at the age to attend these places. We have to remember each generation goes through this some who accept it and some who do not because of the under the skirt lyrical content etc.

    We have to remember that this type of music can no longer be taken as an artistic expression it has a profound influence on children. Music should also be an intellectual development in children and surely this type of music thus far is far from it.

    The dancehall artist are saying that it is a reflection of what they see. So I will now play devils advocate – I guess that means every criminal who is imprisoned was only reflecting on what she or he saw in his community/society. So they should be free.

    If this is so that the artists are right, you now tell me if the prisoners should be free.

    With respect to the forum by CPR it was held on Wednesday, march 4, 2009 and was very successful. Attendance was great and there will be a part two, as we all know what the problem is and we will come back with Solutions.

    Props to the writer and magazine for giving reggae/dancehall a space in this issue.

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