Dr Semaj finds the 'Cure'
Jah Cure

NOTABLE psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj says dancehall artiste Jah Cure's second criminal conviction was expected, due to the trajectory the embattled singer's life was on.

“My involvement with Jah Cure goes back to when he was released from prison the last time. I had a vision of a rehabilitated and transformed person coming out to lead a new life. And I said to myself, I had the privilege, I would share the saying that 'Confession precedes salvation.' Of course, I looked at references in the Bible that spoke to confession preceding salvation, like the prodigal son…One of the first things that stood out to me the last time he was in prison was that he never acknowledged guilt. I heard the victim in an interview saying she could no longer listen to his music because she would hear his voice; but he insisted he did nothing wrong,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“I was coincidentally asked to be guest speaker at his album launch following his release from prison. My message was that forgiveness precedes salvation. The reality is that Jah Cure's life was topsy-turvy since his release. Some people use the word hype [to describe him]. I am not surprised how things turned out. There's a popular saying that goes 'If you can't be a good example, you have to be a horrible warning.' Even if he doesn't learn from this, others will take it as an example,” Semaj continued.

The reggae singer — whose given name is Siccature Alock — was sentenced to six years in prison in a Netherlands court on Tuesday for attempted manslaughter. This came after a stabbing incident involving event promoter Nicardo “Papa” Blake on October 1, 2021 at Dam Square, in the city centre of Amsterdam. Jah Cure was in Amsterdam for a performance.

This isn't Jah Cure's first slip-up with the law. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1999 for illegal possession of a firearm, rape and robbery with aggravation. He was released early in 2007 after serving eight years. Four years later, he went on trial on drug possession charges after police found a small quantity of marijuana in the artiste's motor vehicle during a spot check in St Andrew.

Jah Cure rejoins a slew of other local entertainers behind bars. Also incarcerated are Vybz Kartel, Shawn Storm, Ninja Man, Laden, and Tommy Lee Sparta.

Semaj added that in his view, most times artistes manifest their own destinies through lyrics. In other instances, they get caught up in the fame.

“It's incredible how art and life can intertwine. Desmond Ballentine created Ninja Man but, based on his testimonies, he became the lyrics of his songs. You see the same parallel in hip hop, but you don't see that in R&B. You can create music and then become the lyrics of your songs. It's incredible that Cure's music doesn't reflect his behaviour. So, it appears it can be more than lyrics. The life and influence of artistes over other people can get you to that point where you start to believe in your own hype — and it causes you to act a certain way,” he said.

The psychologist believes that this detrimental trend in dancehall needs to be nipped in the bud by reinforcing effective parenting.

“Address this from early in the game. There is something known as opposition defiance disorder, where young men without fathers present become belligerent and take orders from nobody…they end up in prison. If you are not able to control your behavior, the system cannot. It goes back to parenting, and active fathering. Fathers are needed in shaping the behaviours of their boys. The State (schools, church, law) is their backup,” he told the Observer.

Dr Leahcim Semaj
BY KEDIESHA PERRY Observer writer

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