“A Yah So Nice” Nuh Nice At All : Rape Lyrics Disturbing
Rape is a serious issue and must never be trivialised. Homosexuals have sex because they choose to, a woman has no choice in being raped. Tonight on Twitter, I came across the lyrics of a popular dancehall song which has been making the rounds on local airwaves. The song, titled “A Yah Suh Nice”, contains a line where the artiste declares “Before mi tun a battyman, mi wudda tun a raper”. I find the lyrics deeply troubling, not only because the artiste has poor grammar (I’m not aware that “raper” is a word), but because of the alarming message. I wish to share my thoughts on this.
A letter to the Editor of the Gleaner which sought to condemn the lyrics received mixed reviews. One reader commented that the artiste was “comparing two acts that are disgusting… and choosing the lesser of the two evils.” The readers weren’t quite finished. Another reader went to on to point out that it is simply a “hyperbole” and “the context in which Potential Kid says it makes it acceptable.” I was stunned.
I believe these lyrics bring to our attention the chronic and widespread homophobia which exists in Jamaica. So severe is the hatred of private sexual conduct, it is being used as a excuse for rape. There can be no justification for condemning homosexuality in favour of raping a woman. Do we actually understand what that means? First of all, homosexual conduct, illegal or not, is between consenting adults who have chosen to subject themselves to that. Secondly, the raping of a woman is a reprehensible violation of her dignity as a human being. No comparison should ever be struck between the two, they are mutually exclusive. The words further convey the idea that women exist solely to provide sexual gratification for men, and where a man cannot obtain consensual sex, which apparently may lead to homosexuality, it is then legitimate for him to rape. While I understand that he was recording his disgust for homosexuality, which is his right, he crosses the line when he compares it to rape. The two cannot be compared. I repeat, one is consensual, the other is a violation of human dignity.
The words fuel dangerous stereotypes and myths which already exist in the Jamaican society about women, their sexuality and the relation to rape. Chief among them the idea that a man’s sexual prowess must never be curtailed. Jamaica already records an alarming trend of rapes, abduction and sexual violence against our women, it is unacceptable for DJs to be suggesting that it is justifiable to rape.
At the same time, we must not lose sight of the fact that our society is to shoulder blame too. The dancehall audiences that readily accept these lyrics must be called to task. Our people need to challenge our artistes to find creative ways of expressing themselves, without advocating homophobia, sexual violence and murder. These lyrics again bring into question the co-relation between dancehall and criminal deviance among our young people. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, when artistes who are so revered advocate these kinds of behaviours, our youth are susceptible to accepting them as legitimate. Our society has to guard against this.
Female dancehall goers in particular must stand against this and other forms of sexually violent lyrics. Women must set a standard by which men must treat them. That standard is not to suggest that it is ok to rape, or ok to become a “raper”. I sincerely hope the Broadcasting Commission removes the song from the airways – whether it be the clean or raw version.
Finally, I recall sometime ago a local poll was conducted which found that the majority of the respondents considered rape a much less severe offence than homosexuality. This says something about our people and our society. Something alarming and deeply, deeply troubling. A Yah Suh Nice nuh nice at all. The artiste should apologise and revise his offensive lyrics. Right yah suh just not nice.