Arts & Culture

No to #*#@

Yasus opposes expletives in dancehall

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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Dub poet Yasus Afari does not believe Jamaican expletives should be allowed in the dancehall space. He was speaking with the Jamaica Observer at the ninth Jamaica Poetry Festival, held last Sunday at Louise Bennett Garden Theatre in Kingston.

His comments follow Opposition Senator Dr Andre Haughton's declaration to move a motion in the Upper House that would give Jamaican 'expletives' liberty in dancehall realms.

According to Yasus Afari, one of the major issues with Jamaican profanity is that these curse words are used to degrade and disrespect women.

“If we check what we mean by expletives and if you know the Jamaican expletives, it often times utilise the women as a victim. If we check the history of some of these words, it's totally not something that we must celebrate and identify with,” he said.

“While some of the words are proper words, but even some of the descriptions you would describe a man in a particular way and in that word you would go home and besiege your woman for that very same thing that you call that man. What kind of twisted mentality and meditation is that? Why you want to use a word to express your anger and then describe your woman anatomy? That cyaa be right,” he continued.

Yasus Afari (given name John Sinclair) says his perspective does not mean he has no regard for patois, but his understanding of the language has made him aware that these 'bad words' are nothing to be lauded.

“We can give respect to wanting the patois, that's why we doing patois talking because we overstand the respect that we need to show for our language, but we want to do it in a respectable and socially acceptable way,” he explained.

He added that although people across the world might say these words in jest, through his own experience, there is an undertone suggesting they understand that it is derogatory.

“I travel the world doing workshops among children, and adults in prison and children in schools, and sometime even with some of the movies and the dancehall lyrics and the way they would disrupt the class with some of those words, is a form of stigmatising as if to say 'that's what we are', and the way they giggle and laugh and the attitude and the energy. We have concerns about that,” said Yasus Afari.


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