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“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.

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16 responses

  1. simplyidiotja

    The issue with society not challenging these lyrics is that society itself is the inspiration for most dancehall artists writing these lyrics. I mean, without knowing that society would approve of them. As I have come across in my research for my one of my own School Based Assessments, the moral grounds on which society stands, influences the media that the entertainment industry puts out. One such example is when the gay tolerance commercial that was to be put by former Miss Jamaica Christine Shaw being blocked from TVJ with Kay Osbourne citing that “the culture of good, moral and ethical Jamaicans, does not support homosexuality at this time.” Reputation trumps Character I guess.

    February 8, 2012 at 11:32 pm

  2. @FOXALOT_Will

    Good article… Agreed.

    February 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm

  3. I couldn’t sit through all the song – that I feel is another issue. Truly though, good post! Re that persons response I’m just as stunned!! What’s wrong with the world!!!??

    February 9, 2012 at 12:07 am

  4. lateisha1100

    Well said!

    February 9, 2012 at 8:08 am

  5. Suh wi nah go talk bout di blasphemy? “Yuh pussy tight, mi tink a Mother Mary?” <—– Da man yah fi crush up & dash weh,

    February 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm

  6. Shanice

    I agree. People don’t understand the very dangerous lines being with lyrics like these being distributed nor do they understand the ideas they are putting into the minds of children growing up. Respect to the person who made this article.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm

  7. U have some good points, but to me it’s just song suh I neva tek it too serious.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm

  8. Floydie

    I agree with Christina. I neva tek it too serious either but with the points that you have highlighted, you got my thinking. Thumbs up on the article

    February 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm

  9. Al

    So how about you guys call the radio stations and protest?

    February 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm

  10. When I was younger, I used to think “why them love bash music suh, as if people dont have enough common sense to see its just words”… but now that Im older, wiser and more mature, I realize media (tv, music etc) has a HUUUUGE influence on society becasue common sense is not so common after all and people will just follow any and everything.

    Group think is more acceptable and from I heard the lyrics about Mother Mary (as another poster pointed out) I was already wondering what else the song had to offer. Honestly I didnt even hear the line about rape in the song because half the song is mumbled… I long for the days where I could listen to a dancehall song and not be utterly disgusted and offended by the lyrics….Sadly the few who hear what’s so blatantly wrong with the lyrics will be overshadowed by those who don’t because the lyrics are simple and catchy which means lots of airplay and big tune for the summer.

    “If you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything”

    February 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm

  11. Pingback: Potential Kid-A Yah So Nice

  12. Pingback: Yah Suh Nice, Not Suh Nice! - Ride And Whistle

  13. Teach

    I remember watching a movie some time ago with a male police officer working in a police rape unit.

    Everyday that police officer would go to the precinct and down played women stories of rape and even ridiculed them. The women felt dirty and he gnawed at them and make matters even worse. One night while he was off duty and on his way home, he stopped to apprehend a thief. The thief ran into a dark abandoned building and he gave chase. He was later over powered by the thief and raped………he had to go through the shame those ladies went through. He then realized the aura of rape, being a victim himself. It is very traumatic for the victim, be it male or female. Let us speak out against these atrocities.

    The chicken always come home to roost.

    “A comb becomes bad when it hurts you.”

    March 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm

  14. Pingback: Another Multinational Caught Promoting Rape, Violent Homophobia in Jamaica | Care2 Causes

  15. Reblogged this on Jamaica LGBT Forum.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm

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