Are dancehall artists funding crime in Jamaica? Some senior cops think so.
This would not be the first time the law enforcement officials are placing the high crime rate on the island at the feet of dancehall musicians, but this time it’s different. Back in the day, artists use to blame for crimes due to their hardcore and often gritty lyrics promoting violence and aggression. But now artists are accused of actually funding and being a part of criminal activities.
“Several entertainers are people who are misguided,” Assistant Commissioner Ealan Powell, head of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), said. “They have come in possession of wealth, and instead of using the wealth to promote the good values, they use it to promote the wrong values.”
Just last week Alkaline spent the five days in police custody including staying in jail over the weekend while cops investigate a murder. Vybz Kartel and Shawn Storm are currently serving life sentences for murder. So does police officers have a point about dancehall artists or are they unfairly targeting deejays like Ninjaman suggested in his recent video blog.
ACP Ealan Powell also blames the media for making artists like Alkaline and Vybz Kartel notorious. “Sometimes, we unwittingly glorify people we shouldn’t glorify,” he said. Powell says that Vybz Kartel incarceration was a pivotal moment since his influenced was becoming too wide in Jamaica even in schools. The Gully/Gaza feud between Mavado and Vybz Kartel almost a decade ago was blamed for several gang violence some of them even in schools.
Despite blaming dancehall artists for an upsurge in crime, cops are also calling on some dancehall artists to help them fight crime. Last month, Ninjaman and Bounty Killer gave a motivational speech to a group of lawmen in Kingston that was well received.