Saturday, June 7, 2014

Research suggests Murder Music is a predictor of homophobia in Jamaica ...........

Did we need another piece of research to tell us and the world something we already know all too well not to put down the work done; the evidence of the effects of this music type has been cemented in our national psyche, the fallouts clear for over some four decades of official LGBTQI agitation the homo-negative feelings that were very slowly being ebbed away via multiple strategies but since the last few weeks the re-awakening of those feelings is pronounced as the "Bain train" rolls on, I much prefer an older paper that delved into the actual timeline of this "murder music" development although some keys songs were left out and important changes, the same thing seems to have happened with this latest study by Dr Keon West as it seems to start the tracking of murder music post Buju Banton's Boom Bye Bye track in 1988 when the trajectory had begun from as early as 1978. We were well set for the present entrenched homo-negative and homophobic feelings generations later. 

recent developments: Murder Music act Capleton Performed despite LGBT Activist demonstration at NY club, Queen Ifrica "I'm Not Homopobic"

The Stop Murder Music has hit some snags over the years including a lull in its activity but the hard lined actions of recent times by removing acts from shows has led to some backlash and the perception of stifling of freedom of speech, see more from Gay Jamaica Watch 

Preview Dr West's study HERE

the older paper aforementioned: 

The Guardian yesterday carried this however:

Buju Banton performing in New York in 2005: he hit the scene with the homophobic Boom Bye Bye back i

Buju Banton performing in New York in 2005. He hit the scene with the homophobic Boom Bye Bye back in 1988 and is now serving a jail sentence in the US for drugs and firearms offences. Photograph: Jemal Countess/WireImage/Getty Images

Jamaica has a bad reputation for anti-gay prejudice. This small island in the Caribbean has become notorious not only for its anti-gay laws, political rhetoric and murders, but also for its broad societal acceptance of severe sexual prejudice and openly hostile music.

Most people remember dancehall star Buju Banton, who hit the scene when he was 15 with the hugely popular Boom Bye Bye. The lyrics go: "It's like boom bye bye / Inna batty boy head / Rude boy nah promote no nasty man / Dem haffi dead." Hard to decipher for someone not familiar with Jamaican patois, but Buju is essentially describing shooting a gay man in the head – he doesn't want to "promote no nasty man".

In the decades after, hosts of other dancehall artists took up the banner, such as the group T.O.K. who proclaimed that "chi-chi [gay] man fi dead and that's a fact".

Jamaica is not alone; sexual prejudice is all over the news at the moment – from the Sultan of Brunei's introduction of Sharia law, to the anti-gay bill in Uganda. And it's worth remembering that in the UK gay people only acquired equal marriage rights earlier this year. But Jamaica has the double problem of being described as "the most homophobic place on earth", but also being one of those places where little or no research is done to explain these anti-gay sentiments.

This is why, in collaboration with Dr Noel Cowell from the University of the West Indies, I decided to conduct the largest piece of research of its kind to date, using data collected by Professor Ian Boxhill.

By interviewing about 2,000 people across 40 communities in Jamaica, we looked at the predictors of anti-gay bias and measured them.

Our results confirm the suspicion that Jamaicans, in general, hold very strong prejudices against gays and lesbians. This was true whether we referred to attitudes, perceptions of gay rights, or prejudiced behaviour. But why? This question isn't easily answered. However, thanks to this research, we can now point to some important variables.

As in other countries, wealth, education and (younger) age were associated with less anti-gay prejudice. Religiosity, which is often the reason offered by anti-gay lobbyists, also predicted more anti-gay bias. However, it was neither the strongest nor the most reliable predictor. When all the factors were taken into account simultaneously, the two that were most reliable were a preference for dancehall music, and gender.

There has been much debate about dancehall in Jamaica. Internationally, many people view artists like Banton, Vybz Kartel and Beenie Man as inciting sexuality-based violence, while others defend these "calls to action" as being much more metaphorical – a litmus test of what is and isn't acceptable in Jamaican society.

This research provides the first empirical evidence that these songs may be harmful, leading to more negative attitudes and anti-social behaviour. We need more research looking at the consequences of anti-gay dancehall, and policy on what we should do about it.

We also found that male gender was an important predictor, trumping education, age and even religion. This raises important questions about what it means to be a man in Jamaica. What it is about those perceptions of masculinity that finds the existence of gays so unbearable? Is it that Jamaican masculinity has become overly focused on toughness and anti-femininity, at the expense of socially beneficial constructs such as responsibility? Interventions aimed at reshaping gender norms in Jamaica may be useful in reducing negativity towards those seen as "deviant".

Research like this is essential to understanding why that is, and how to change it. We Jamaicans are, for the most part, open and accepting people. Although in Jamaica sexual boundaries are rigidly and violently monitored, we integrate readily and easily with different ethnicities, political views and national boundaries. More than our European and American counterparts, we tend to see a boundary as permeable, which encourages a general atmosphere of inclusivity.

The good news is that work is finally being done in Jamaica, by Jamaicans, to tackle this aggressive policing of heterosexuality. And this is integral for change to happen; more than we need western intervention, we need Jamaicans who are ready to take the initiative.

This is a long road, and many would say that we are moving too slowly; but at least it is now an inescapable fact that we are moving. Perhaps we will soon be saying boom bye bye to anti-gay prejudice in Jamaica. I hope so.


Previous audio entry on Queen Ifrica and the SMM:


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