Inna di Dancehall- “Popular Culture and the Politics of Identity in Jamaica”, written by an academic scholar in the field of dancehall culture- Ms. Donna Hope was published in 2006. ISBN number 979-640-168-3. The book title plays an important role as it shows how Donna Hope dives deeper “Inna di Dancehall” as she sought to explore Jamaican popular culture generally and dancehall culture specifically. It contains 5 chapters that range from The Historical Moment where the dancehall stage was set, to a definition of what dancehall really is, along with the issues that arise as a result of the music and lyrics portrayed by the artistes. Some of the more prominent issues seen were those like violence, gender and sexuality, crime and personality. It is 168 pages based on the evolution of dancehall culture and music from the 1960’s onward. It also draws reference to how Jamaicans use the dancehall music as a means of expression and identity. Donna Hope focuses on youth development, black masculinity gender, identity and power. The lyrics are associated with the economic, political and social changes that took place within Jamaica in the specified time period with regards to reformation and transformation of the Jamaican government.
Inna di Dancehall is used to explain the roles of dancehall to its consumers and more so people like myself who have a greater appreciation of and liking for dancehall music, as a form of escapism from inconsiderate conduct of the realities of the ghetto and as a rout of economic well-being. Dancehall emanated from the poor and continues to receive its creative sustenance from them1.
The PNP was the first national party to be formed in Jamaica in 1938. As the PNP came in to power there was a major decrease in the economy as there was a devaluation of the currency between 20 to 40 percent. This was as a result of the PNP wanting to redistribute finances gained by the country. This caused the foreign reserves to decrease negatively as it ended all ties and the high level of dependency that Jamaica had on foreign countries. During this period Donna Hope states changes Jamaica underwent with respect to a worsening of services, a population increase leading to greater poverty especially with regards to the class/status hierarchy that existed which inevitably led to a decrease in the standard of living within Jamaica. This meant higher rents and mortgages with a decreased income. The hierarchy was divided up into 3 categories with the white men and women at the summit of the triangle, coloured men and women or the working class to the middle of the triangle and black males and females at the bottom. The stress and frustration was expressed through words in the form of dancehall. This was the grounds of dancehall’s evolution
Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican popular music, male dominated, that stemmed from a composite of other music genres like dub and roots sock reggae that have existed in Jamaica since slavery. Dancehall was created by local sound systems playing popular Jamaican recordings within dance halls that took place in the inner city of Kingston or also known as the ghetto. By the 1980’s the genre contained lyrics about the social, cultural, political and even economic issues around that time period. It was not only a means of survival from the poverty lifestyle but also a way for the poorer black men to express themselves. Some of the key elements within Jamaican dancehall are those like deejays, sound systems, stage shows and energetic dance moves and are categorized as the “Affectors” and “Affectees” of dancehall.
The Affectees are also known as the consumers of dancehall and are separated into gendered groups to make it easier to understand how they are affected by the Affectors but for this instance the description of the groups is not deemed necessary.
The Affectors were mainly those associated with the creation of the dancehall culture....
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