Dancehall Music

8 August 2016

Music is used to relax the mind and give comfort to the soul. All around the world, there are different types of music and in Jamaica dancehall music is the one of the most popular types enjoyed. My theme is dancehall music because of my growing concern to the negative impacts this type of music has brought upon the Jamaican youth population. The intention of this project is to investigate and expose the effects of dancehall music towards the Jamaican youth population.

I am personally interested in this theme because I enjoy music very much and being in the music club at my school has influenced me to explore different genres of music. I am academically interested in this theme as I am currently attending afternoon classes at the Edna Manley School of Music. This theme also relates to my work-related interest because I would like to become a musician in the future, and as a future role model I want to give a positive contribution to my country.

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For my reflective, I have composed a narrative piece entitled; “Salecka’s Downfall”.

The theme is brought out through the main character, ‘Salecka’ whose life was led in the wrong path after being negatively influenced by dancehall music. This genre was the most appropriate medium for me to fully express the changes in the life of the main character. Preface The purpose of this project is to investigate and expose the effects of dancehall music towards the Jamaican youth population. The intended audiences are the Jamaican adolescents, ages 14-17 that are exposed to this type of music to remind them to never forget who they are as well as to the parents to guide and help the teens to the right path.

The general context of this project portrays young people who use dancehall music as a ‘Bible’ to guide their lives rather than just another genre of music listened for enjoyment. Meaning they forget about their original personalities and try to emulate the characteristics described in the ‘dancehall world’, whether it is the actions being sang about or using a dancehall artist as a role model. The specific context of the prose in this project is about a teenage girl who had the potential to have a successful future but threw it away after being negatively influenced by dancehall music.

Salecka’s Downfall The dark room she laid in night after night was now to be called her home for years to come. With mistakes Salecka now lives to regret, she has 25 years to sit and wonder, what would her life have been had her actions been different. Salecka Martin was a short, light colored, frizzy hair, nerdy girl. She carried a draw string bag pack, huge glasses like those from the 80’s and all her uniforms were double her size. She wasn’t a people person, always preferred to stick by herself, especially since every time she went in a crowd, people would step a distance away from her.

Above all of this, Salecka was intelligent and outspoken when it came to school work, she always maintained good grades and was seen as a young girl with a bright future by her teachers. That all changed as the ninth grade arrived. Danielle, a dark brown colored, coolie hair, curvy girl who wore short, tight uniforms was practically the opposite of Salecka. She did very poorly in academics and had a nasty attitude to her teachers. She always walked with a group of girls who went everywhere she did and they would sit all day and talk about the last party they attended.

Everyone seemed to like them though, especially the boys. “Yow Trish, di social ago shot todeh enuh! A bare tings ago gwaan man,” said Danielle as she boasted to her friends in the bathroom, “yuhsi all Prince, I going mad him head todeh. ” Salecka, coming from one of the bathroom stalls, overheard the girls talking. She was ` not very fund of these girls because she knew they were bad news. “As a member of the key club society, I would prefer if that type of behavior was not displayed at our social, thank you,” said Salecka as she exited the bathroom with a straight face.

At the end of school, the hall vibrated with music and the students rushed to the gates to claim their positions. Salecka had never attended a social before and what she overheard the girls saying this morning aroused her curiosity. She decided to just go and observe what would take place. “Bruckbruckbruckbruckbruck i dung!!!! ” was what met Salecka’s ears as she stepped inside the hall. The students were gyrating like wild animals against each other and the excitement in their eyes as they danced was shocking to Salecka.

As she stood and observed the students, she wanted to feel as alive as they did. After about half an hour, Salecka felt so comfortable and vibrant in the music that she started to ‘church rock’ since that’s the only dance she knew. Being so caught up, she ended up staying for the entire function. When the social was over, she headed straight through the school gate because she now realized she was going to get home late. When she arrived at the bus stop, she noticed that Danielle and her friends were there too waiting for their usual ‘hype’ bus.

After about twenty minutes, there came a bus approaching the bus stop, more colorful than butterflies and belting music loud enough to cause an instant headache. With her two hands over her ears, Salecka followed the girls as they entered the bus since this was her only option as she was already late. School children were packed in the bus as tight as sardines and every boy had a girl in his lap and some even two. Salecka couldn’t even hold on to anything as the bus moved off immediately. “Gyal sidung, sidung, sidung!!” was one of the songs she heard, and as it played, the girls jumped up and down in the boys’ laps and gyrated all over them. Some of the songs even uttered expletives and descriptive sexual content and the students couldn’t care less. This experience was new to Salecka and she was now beginning to like dancehall music to the extent where it became her favorite genre. She started to go to parties and ignore her school work and her manners to persons she encountered with started to deteriorate. After three months, Salecka and the girls she was never fond of became good friends and she was a whole new person.

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