Music

Dancehall is tough for females — Kenny

Sunday, November 05, 2017

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Television producer Mark Kenny is calling for a study to be done to look at the disparity in the number of females in the local dancehall music industry when compared to their male counterparts.

Kenny, who is executive producer of Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall, the local televised talent show, made his comments against the background of the inability of female winners on his show to break into the mainstream market. Only two weeks ago, came word that 2015 'King' Devin Di Dakta inked a deal with New York-based label Downtown Records, making him the most successful winner of the competition in its 10 seasons. Other male contestants have over the years emerged from Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall with varying levels of success. Acts such as Tanto Blacks, Poor and Boasy, Singer Jah and Deep Jahi are among the acts who have made it beyond the competition. However, the same cannot be said of the women.

“It's hard for females in dancehall in general... it's a very tough situation. It's a hard space for women. Dancehall is a very tough, male-dominated, patriarchal space. The whole studio system is very male dominated, which makes it hard for women to break into that, so it is something that needs to be studied more in depth than I can do in the context of Kings and Queens of Dancehall. All we can do from the perspective of the show is hope that we give females the platform to at least showcase their talent alongside the talent to men,” he said.

“All you can hope is that when you put on a show like this is to showcase people's talent that they will or can or maybe get to another level. You can't predict that and you can't do anything more than put them on that stage. Obviously we have been very lucky with the fact that Devin just signed with Downtown Records, which is a fantastic story for us and great for him. I would hope that going forward more of that will happen,” he continued.

In the meantime, Kenny maintained that the public spat which emerged on air two years ago, between the show's host Yanique “Curvy Diva” Barrett and resident judge Khadine “Miss Kitty” Hylton, did nothing to help or hinder the brand.

“We are not particularly interested in manufacturing anything on the show. If controversy arrives, it comes via what happens on the show, it's not something we would even encourage. But the nature of dancehall is that it is a controversial arena and it does beg for controversy sometimes. When it does happen, it's not that it we shy away from it not do we encourage it, especially if it is negative. I don't see situations like the one that occurred as helping or hurting. The focus of the show is the artistes and that certainly didn't help or hinder the artistes on the show so, therefore, to me it was a non-entity... just something that happened. What happened is something we can all titillate ourselves about, but is hardly relevant to the showcasing of talent,” said Kenny

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