Dancehall artiste Valiant is receiving backlash after he was booked to perform at the upcoming University of the West Indies (Mona) Carnival set for this weekend.
A student from the university wrote a letter to the editor of the Jamaica Gleaner where she questioned, “Why is dancehall artiste Valiant at UWI carnival?” The student said she was troubled that the artist who “promotes scamming, violence and drugs” was being allowed to perform at the educational institution.
Valiant received much backlash from the public, including government minister Robert ‘Nesta’ Morgan, who called him out for the ultra-popular song, “Dunce Cheque,” which said the artist was at the “back of the class, nah no subject” but goes on to speak about him doing lottery scamming since he has no education.
“I am sure that we would not readily invite an artiste who glorifies rape or child molestation, which are widespread negative features of our society. We would never justify songs with this type of detestable content with the assertion that ‘music is just a reflection of life.’ What we sing about matters, and what our youth are entertained by matters,” the young woman said.
She added, “We should not hypocritically promote artistes, just because they are popular, who glorify antisocial and illegal behaviour like scamming, which destroys real people. It is a glaring contradiction that a university would elevate an artiste who promotes being “dunce” and choosing a life of scamming.”
The artist declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Urban Islandz, but the student said her letter was sent to the Guild of Students and the officers of the Principal and Vice Principal but did not get a response.
The young also called for Valiant’s performance to be canceled and for the Guild, which is planning the event, to be more conscientious about the kinds of messaging it wanted to spread as an institution across the Caribbean and to potential Jamaican students.
In the meantime, the letter drew mixed reactions from news readers and fans of Valiant, most of whom supported him.
“Lol if a day comes where some of these soca songs are dissected and evaluated with the same scrutiny, you’d see how similar they are to dancehall, lyrically. Next,” one person wrote on Instagram.
“This submission is fully dunce, how about that?! If you listen to his FULL catalogue, you will see where he explains his efforts and the struggles faced by people that can tempt them to follow less desirable paths. If you followed him personally, you will know he’s an advocate (captured at least twice) for education and encourages the youth to take full advantage of their education,” another said.
One UWI student said, “Go and have children and control what they listen to. Unu too holy and righteous… sincerely, all of us from back a the class at UWI.”
“Valiant also has a host of positive songs that society chooses not to gravitate to. Enjoy the show and drink some water,” another said.
Valiant previously responded to the backlash to “Dunce Cheque” with another song, “Scholar,” which is similarly catchy as the first song but spoke about his regrets at not taking his education seriously and telling others to make use of their opportunities. Despite that, the catchy and now viral “Dunce Cheque” remains extremely popular among the artist’s fan base.