What does this generation really know about dancehall?Wednesday, November 10, 2021
There is no denying dancehall culture in Jamaica as the genre is inherently Jamaican, despite the culture vultures in America and the Middle East.
Dancehall is the part of our culture that most Jamaicans are ashamed of, as, to them, it's too loud, raunchy, explicit, and represents the ghetto. For some, it is 'slackness' personified. But whether we like it or not dancehall represents us – the good, bad, and in-between.
In recent years we have seen the negative impact of our music on the younger generation – and the ties between gangsters and entertainers. But dancehall is not all bad. Some good things do come from it, such as international recognition, awards, and even Orders of Distinction from our local government. Even corporate brands are spotlighting the genre. One spirit brand, in particular, has caught my eye as one that commits itself every time to uplifting dancehall culture using innovative means.
One such innovation had me on the edge of my seat for weeks – Magnum's Weh Yuh Know Bout Dancehall? online trivia game and game show. The game seeks to educate and test the dancehall knowledge of Jamaicans. I prefer the game show series on their YouTube channel because the host Trippple X is hilarious. His witty personality brings added excitement and makes the game interesting. Tuesdays and Thursdays will definitely not be the same because season one is now complete. But, after the show ended, I thought to myself, what does this generation really know about dancehall?
Weh Yuh Know Bout Dancehall? is a dancehall-themed trivia game, which I believe is a suitable way for this generation to learn about the culture. The way people are educated is changing and I'm worried that our country is not moving quickly enough to keep up with the unpredictable media of the Internet and digital learning.
Studies show that over 50 per cent of young people today shared that online learning platforms play a crucial role in how they consume information. The youth of today are digital natives and so we will have to change the way we teach them.
The truth is, a lot of them don't really care about their roots or culture and what makes us unique. And why should they care if we don't care to make the information more appealing to them? Greater focus should be placed on meeting them where they are, and motivating their interest. We cannot simply stand by and watch our culture go down the drain.
The Internet is so Americanised that, if we are not careful there will be nothing left of us and generations will just be copying and pasting and borrowing culture till, eventually, we become the culture vultures in the equation.
We need to see more innovations like Weh Yuh Know Bout Dancehall? And whether it is corporate Jamaica or the Government it doesn't really matter because someone needs to do something before it's too late.
We need more cultural websites, podcasts, Instagram pages, blogs, games, and YouTube videos about culture to make learning bearable for this generation as the information is already dated and in need of creative touches here and there.
The younger generation is straying from its roots and we need to be the guiding light to reconnect the youth with their culture.
What do they know about dancehall – or anything else for that matter?