Demons & Sparta : The Tommy Lee Curse
I believe art is one of the most powerful forms of communication, mobilisation and ultimately, indoctrination. I’ve always been mindful of the influence of music, particularly dancehall music, on the young and impressionable minds of our society. Those who have been following my blog for some time now would know my personal objection to “The Gaza Empire” and most, if not everything it produces. The latest “talent” the Portmore based empire has produced is the now infamous Tommy Lee. Since the incarceration of their god, Kartel, on murder charges the fans of Gaza have consistently repeated the refrain “Free Werl’ Boss”. When it became evident that the wheels of justice would turn desperately slow for the self styled “Werl Boss”, his fans craved a saviour for dancehall, a rebound figure to continue the influence and impact of the Gaza, that task fell to Tommy Lee. His methods have proven even more controversial than those of his boss. Of all the themes available, why choose a demonic one? And is that really “art”?
My first thought was that perhaps Tommy Lee chose to focus on demons for the shock value it added to his music, audiences everywhere would be “shook” by the demonic theme. Uncomfortable as it is for me to admit, the idea of demons and the devil is always a fascinating subject, particularly in a superstitious culture such as Jamaica. I don’t think anyone has ever really explored the goth culture in Jamaican music, so his approach is certainly novel, and it appeals to our culture because of our heavy “duppy” leanings. I suppose that is all well and good, controversial entertainment usually sells faster. If it’s true that sex sells in the United States, then it’s definitely true that violence and deviance sells in Jamaica.
The problem I have, which is the problem I had with Kartel, is the absolute abdication of responsibility for the content of the music produced and sold. While having a conversation with a Gaza fan, he pointed out that Tommy Lee’s music is not aimed at minors, or even teenagers, but towards adults. I don’t know if that’s true, in fact I flatly disagree. I believe the fan base of the Gaza is comprised mainly of teenagers, and the deviant message is geared towards them. As a society we will have to guard against the influence of any force which promotes negative behaviours disguised as adult entertainment so as not to bear the burden of responsibility for the impressionable minds that are exposed to their “art”. His fans are quick to hide behind the argument that parents need to step in and ensure their children are raised properly, it isn’t that simple. Parenting is now an exceedingly difficult task, further compounded and complicated by the widespread access to information and content of all kinds, both violent and sexual, which are available to children. A parent can only do so much and no more. The society at large which aids in the child’s socialisation must step in at some point and guard against perceived harms. Tommy Lee’s music is one such harm.
This demonic theme is dangerous. As a friend of mine pointed out, Tommy Lee’s young fans may end up being a part of something he himself isn’t a part of. They may be led into something far more sinister, something far more real. The reality is that many of these children, some as young as seven years old, based on what I’m being told, are re-enacting Tommy Lee’s music videos and the themes in his music : demonic possession and murder. These impressionable minds aren’t always able to distinguish between whether the music is purely for entertainment, or whether Tommy Lee may really support and/or worship demons. It is a very dangerous gamble to take. I did a bit of research on the connection between murder, sadism, sexual cannibalism and demonic music. I found that some of the most notorious serial killers in history admitted to having extensive exposure to “demonic music” and violent themes in music, from Ted Bundy, who murdered countless women, right down to Ronald Defeo, who murdered his entire family as they slept; they all claimed some kind of demonic influence. Defeo actually claimed to hear voices from the radio, telling him to murder his family. His exposure to music with demonic themes was extensive and sustained, much like our children’s exposure to Tommy Lee’s music.
I was blasted for not taking into account the fact that the fault may not be with Tommy Lee, but rather with our society. A Caribbean Studies teacher pointed to the fact that we are a violent and murderous people, and if that inclination didn’t already exist within us, Tommy Lee would have nothing to play on. The teacher concludes that we are drawn to the demonic and murderous message because ultimately it speaks for us, at the end of the day, we all want to play villain. Is that true?
In the final analysis, Tommy Lee may prove far more harmful and destructive than the “Werl’ Boss”. Tommy Lee’s influence encourages murder, it encourages the ‘worship’ and endorsement of demons. This is harmful, and I can think of no way it qualifies properly as entertainment. I repeat, his music and the influence is dangerous. I perhaps should wrap this up now, lest he sends one of his demon gyal dem from Sparta fi suck off mi cocky and murda mi, or worse – set duppy pan mi. That would certainly leave me SHOOK. 😐
This post was co-authored by Kingsley Morgan.