Raw and Dutty: The new pop culture

September 23, 2016
Nick Cannon

Since the wildly successful release of the iconic Jamaican film 'Dancehall Queen', no feature film has ventured to explore the annals of dancehall.

Many reviewers have acknowledged King of the Dancehall, Nick Cannon's directorial debut film at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), as one that could have done with a stronger plot, a stronger script and maybe a more practised captain.

But from the general echoes amid the preliminary reviews, first-time actress Kimberly Patterson is being referred to as a breakthrough. Even more acknowledged is the decision to film in Jamaica.

What is even more pronounced is that the only special thing about the movie is the dancing, and many believe this aspect of Jamaican culture should have been explored more.




Anupa Mistry of The Fader magazine writes, "there are cameos from contemporary musicians like Beenie Man (who narrates), Barrington Levy, and Ky-Mani Marley, but the soundtrack is secondary to the movements of young dance crews".

Kreesha Turner, a Jamaican-Canadian artiste who is one of the main figures in the film, said the proper way to learn about the dancehall culture seems to be the immersion of oneself in it. "When I go there, the only place I want to go is Kingston, because that's where the culture is the richest," said Kreesha Turner in an interview with The Fader. "On Monday nights, I wanna go to the dancehall at Susie's and make sure I learn the hottest new dance."

For Cannon, his action is to expose it. "I couldn't understand how such a rich culture had never been shared with the whole world before," he said. "Especially when you think about everyone who has borrowed from it: the number one song from Drake today, Justin Bieber's video, all the dance moves mass media falls in love with from BeyoncÈ stem from what's going on in Kingston. And then, when you think about the passion that's involved with Jamaican culture, it's like, they're not sitting around waiting for things to get all pretty - they want it raw and dutty."

"I understand why people don't get to go see it because, often, you need a local to show you these places," said Turner, "but in this instance, I got this opportunity through film."

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