New version page

17-2 Nelson

Upgrade to remove ads

This preview shows page 1-2-3-23-24-25-26-46-47-48 out of 48 pages.

Save
View Full Document
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 48 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience

Upgrade to remove ads
Unformatted text preview:

231 ARTICLES LYRICAL ASSAULT: DANCEHALL VERSUS THE CULTURAL IMPERIALISM OF THE NORTH-WEST CAMILLE A. NELSON*I would go to Jamaica, but there is so much “gay-bashing.” For the first time in my life, I was ashamed to be Jamaican. I have come to realize the power of music. We all remember the lyrics of some songs verbatim, despite the passage of time, recalling where we were, who we were with, and what we were doing when we first listened. Music crosses borders—it generates emotions and feelings which transport us to a different place and time. Moreover, music has insurgent sociopolitical power—among other things, it can rally the masses, encourage affiliations, and demarcate normative boundaries. As a vehicle of easily digestible messages, music not only entertains, but it speaks volumes even when played quietly. “Music is not mere entertainment but ideological weaponry . . . .”1 For these reasons, music creates lasting impressions. As with perspectives generated by other art forms, the impressions created by music can range from positive to negative. It is for this reason, specifically the power of music to concretize a lasting unfavorable impression, that I have become increasingly concerned about the opinions held by some in the North/West about my island home. Recently, I found myself defending my country of origin, the place I think of as my cultural home, to my cherished friend. He and his partner * Professor, Saint Louis University, School of Law; LL.B. University of Ottawa, Canada; LL.M. Columbia Law School. Thanks to Professors Jon Goldberg-Hiller and Frank Rudy Cooper for their many insightful and supportive comments. Dean Avi Soifer, Tucker Culbertson, Charlayne Nelson, and David Rowntree were generous with their time and offered great feedback and encouragement with respect to this subject. I was the recipient of insightful feedback and support from the audience and my co-panelists at the 2008 American Association of Law Schools Annual Conference, New York, section on Humanities and the Law and the students at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Common Law who generously hosted me as part of their January 2008 term. A special thank you to my research assistants Amanda Giovanoni and Matthew Knepper, and to my library liaison Ms. Lynn Hartke of Saint Louis University, School of Law for their excellent and timely research help. I am particularly grateful to Professors Angela Onwuachi-Willig and Emily Houh for inviting me to participate on the AALS Law and Humanities panel and to be a contributor to this innovative symposium edition. Last, but not least, thanks to the wonderful student editors at the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, University of Southern California for their diligent editing and, in particular, to Patricia Eberwine and Michael Chiang for their astute edits, professionalism and decency throughout the editorial process—it was a pleasure working with you and your staff. 1 CAROLYN COOPER, SOUND CLASH: JAMAICAN DANCEHALL CULTURE AT LARGE 75 (2004) [hereinafter COOPER, SOUND CLASH].232 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal [Vol. 17:231 were ruminating upon places to which they might travel as an out gay couple. They referenced Jamaican dancehall music2 as “hateful” and the reason for their reluctance to vacation in Jamaica. I had to admit, however, that in Jamaica, as in many places, being closeted was likely the easiest and safest strategy. While American tourists are privileged to some extent in Jamaica due to the currency and passports they carry, gay tourism has yet to become a niche market in Jamaica as it has elsewhere.3Indeed, recent media attention driven by skilled gay rights activists in the United Kingdom and the United States4 has brought much unwanted attention to the island previously known more for its beaches and rum than for social marginalization. Jamaica, a country whose musical productivity far outstrips its population,5 has come under the glare of the Western progressive gaze and been dubbed “one of the worst” countries with respect to homophobia6 due to the unsolved murders of two gay rights activists,7 2 “Dancehall” describes a location primarily used for hearing music in Jamaica—it is the space so named, despite the fact that it is not typically a hall but rather an enclosed space where a sound system is set up to play reggae music. The second use of the term “dancehall” is to define a genre of reggae music that emerged after the roots reggae success of groups like Bob Marley and the Wailers, Third World, Burning Spear, Culture, and Black Uhuru. “Dancehall” as distinct from its predecessor genres of reggae is seen as “slack,” sometimes base and certainly “downtown” as opposed to “uptown.” It is the “people’s” music, just as roots reggae before it, but with an even more urban feel and a less spiritual aspiration. The hallmark of dancehall is the often rough DJs voice performed over prerecorded rhythm tracks. In this vein, it has a distinct similarity to American hip-hop but with a Caribbean, and indeed, a distinctly Jamaican flare. See STEVE BARROW & PETER DALTON, THE ROUGH GUIDE TO REGGAE: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO JAMAICAN MUSIC FROM SKA THROUGH ROOTS TO BASHMENT 446 (Jonathan Buckley ed., 2004) (1997); LLOYD BRADLEY, REGGAE: THE STORY OF JAMAICAN MUSIC, 121–22 (2002). 3 Out Traveler, the travel magazine produced by the publisher of Out Magazine, recently discussed several popular Caribbean tourism destinations for gays, but considered Jamaica a “nexus of negativity” towards homosexuals. See Kenneth Kiesnoski, Caribbean Snapshot: Gay and Lesbian Travelers Continue to Frequent Caribbean Ports Despite the Region’s Less-Than-Welcoming Reputation, OUT TRAVELER, Nov. 15, 2006, available at http://www.outtraveler.com/exclusives_detail.asp?did=531. See also Michelle Higgins, On the Seas and in the Mainstream, N.Y. TIMES, Oct. 29, 2006, at E6 (“There are still destinations that gay cruises avoid; one is Jamaica, where two gay-rights activists have been murdered in the last two years.”). In 2004, Sandals Resorts ended its twenty-three year policy banning same-sex couples from its couples-only resorts in Jamaica. It had turned away a lesbian couple as recently as 2003. See Katie Zezima, Sandals Resorts Ends Single-Sex Policy, N.Y. TIMES, Oct. 24, 2004, at E3. However, Sandals still does not plan to market to gay and lesbian


Download 17-2 Nelson
Our administrator received your request to download this document. We will send you the file to your email shortly.
Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view 17-2 Nelson and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view 17-2 Nelson 2 2 and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?