The Dancehall Doctor, Dr. Donna Hope, of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus’s, is contending that the misgivings sounded by Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison about Vybz Kartel being a contributor to juvenile delinquency, is unfounded.
According to the lecturer and socio-cultural analyst in the Institute of Caribbean Studies at the UWI, Vybz Kartel is not just a favorite artiste of wayward juveniles but is simply “a favorite among young people” in general.
“I did my own research around that discussion in 2009-2010 and Vybz Kartel at that time was the most favorite artiste among young people, both children who were in problems as well as children who were not,” Dr. Hope said in a Sunday Gleaner article.
“So he was the favorite artiste, full stop. Because we gave them a list of other people – role models, like teachers, pastors, parents … the different groupings who are a part of the socialization networks in the country,” she added.
Vybz Kartel has unleashed his ire in two posts aimed at the Children’s Advocate after she made recent statements at a church function, that a study conducted by her department among children who were either charged or accused formally of having committed criminal offenses, had revealed that he, Vybz Kartel was their “undisputed role model.”
However Dr. Hope says artistes like Kartel, in the UWI survey, “came up as role models on how to be popular and how to get a career” because a “lot of young people are very attracted to careers in the music industry, because it looks not just sexy and popular, but also rich” and young people have a tendency to gravitate to people who are popular.
In the meantime, another child advocate, Betty Ann Blaine, founder of Hear The Children’s Cry and Youth Opportunities Unlimited, said she is aware that children look up to Kartel, and is hoping that given that fact, he makes it a point of his duty to create more wholesome music.
“I really want to speak to Vybz Kartel through this conversation to say look, since you know that there are young people, teenagers, young adults who are so easily influenced, who look up to you as a role model, do the right thing. Whatever you put out, let it be wholesome,” she told The Sunday Gleaner.
“Already he’s serving time, he’s being punished for a crime, and what he should do is use his experience to help young people turn their lives around,” Blaine added.