Music & violence - Ninjaman rubbishes correlation
BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
IF you are what you eat, do you become what you listen to? Well, according to recent findings, this is the case.
A new study by the American Psychological Association reveals that songs with violent lyrics increases aggressive thoughts and emotions. The findings appeared in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
A series of experiments was conducted with over 500 college students from Iowa State University and the Texas Department of Human Services. They were fed a diet of seven violent songs by seven artistes and eight non-violent songs by seven artistes. The students listened to the songs and were given various psychological tasks to measure aggressive thoughts and feelings.
So, is there a link between Jamaica's violent crimes and violent dancehall music?
Controversial deejay Ninjaman says no.
According to the 'Don Gorgon', the violence present in cartoons and movies far outweighs what is in the music.
"Cartoon nuh violent? Movie nuh violent?" the deejay questioned. "There is a greater level of violence in these. When a man see something, the effect is greater than when him hear it. Movie show you how fi pull down gun and set it up; how to plan, executive, and get away with a robbery. When nuff man a deejay 'bout violence, a what dem see inna movie," he told the Jamaica Observer.
"Music just can't influence a man fi go do badness. If him go do badness, it's based on what was already happening in some of these violent communities," said Ninjaman, whose real name is Desmond Ballentine.
Turning to his own music and the influence some of his lyrics may have on society, Ninjaman stated that it was all about fun.
"When we sing 'bout one house a gun, it was fun and drama. Dem yout' now a sing 'bout shot off yuh head and all the things what they see in the movies — the Matrix-type killing — or things already happening in their communities. Dem a build lyrics based on what dem see on TV."
Consulting psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj argues that anything consumed transforms the individual.
"Don't just think of metabolism as what you eat. We absorb through our pores, our nostrils, and what you eat," he said.
Semaj said proponents of violent lyrics like to ignore reality, but they can't.
"Why on earth we wish to believe that we have something called violent music that does not do what all other forms of music do, in terms of predisposing behaviour along the path that the music sets? All evidence indicates otherwise," he said.
"More often than not, they have a lifestyle that mirrors that which they perform. We see this in dancehall, we see this in hip hop. They are in and out of jail. They now mirror their music and we have had many quotes from those artistes both in the rap and dancehall world saying they would not allow their children to consume their music. We must stop lying to ourselves.
"Whatever you consume affects you," he said.