A change must come ... We must check role of music in violence

February 24, 2017
DJ Rush
Police investigators on the scene of a shooting on Roxborough avenue, Kingston, where a man was shot and killed by gunmen on Valentine's Day.

One of the key challenges of fixing the ills in any country is getting the populace to understand what needs to be done and why. Overcoming that challenge also requires that the populace to accept the realities and come to terms with what needs to change.

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness spoke directly on some of the issues that he believes will help to bring crime under control and get this country back to the kind of civility that has made us world famous.

The prime minister called for a curtailment of the violence being portrayed in the dancehall, both in terms of lyrics and the sexually aggressive nature of the dancing. Immediately, there was push back from some entertainers who, pretty much, told the prime minister to focus on fixing the economy and leave dancehall alone.

"Fix the lack of jobs, debt-to-GDP ratio, crime, the fact that police are quitting more than joining. Fix the economy and stop try fix music," DJ Rush advised the PM.

I am sure DJ Rush has good intentions, but he needs to be informed that for the economy to be fixed, crime has to be brought under control, and that means that the things that influence crime need to be curbed.

It is not a coincidence that the sexual permissiveness that has taken over dancehall both in terms of the explicit lyrics and outrageous dances seems to be in lock step with the increasing numbers of incidents of sexual assaults on women and children in today's society. Not to mention gun violence.

Defenders of the music industry often say music has no influence on behaviour, but that's rubbish. There is music that makes you happy. There is music that makes you sad. That means music has the ability to influence how you feel and how those feelings cause you to behave. By extension, music influences people to be sexually deviant or overly violent.

If music was not a major influence, how is it that a man convicted of murder still carries so much influence among our children? It is why Lisa Hanna of the Opposition People's National Party has called for the banning of his songs from airplay.

DJ Rush and others who share his beliefs should recognise that fixing the music can go a long way into fixing the economy. A more peaceful, safer Jamaica will attract investment. That will result in more money flowing into the economy, which will improve the debt-to-GDP ratio and will make for a better way of life for everyone.


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