Black Immigrant Daily News
Valiant is again the subject of a fiery debate in Jamaica, this after a letter to the Editor from a university student was carried in The Gleaner, voicing objection to the Dunce Cheque singer performing at this weekend’s UWI Mona Carnival, on the basis that his songs “promote scamming, violence and drugs”.
The letter from the submitter, who gave her name as “Sarah, a UWI student,” bore the headline “Why is dancehall artiste Valiant at UWI carnival?” and was published on Monday.
“I am writing this letter because I am troubled about recent plans to have Valiant, a dancehall artiste whose songs promotes scamming, violence and drugs, to perform on the University of the West Indies, (UWI) Mona carnival 2023. I am saddened and concerned that my university would choose to partner with an artiste like Valiant, whose songs are not even permitted on Jamaican radio,” Sarah had noted in her letter.
In furthering her case Sarah pointed out that she was confident the UWI “would not readily invite an artiste who glorifies rape or child molestation, which are widespread negative features of our society”, and similarly should shun Valiant.
“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,” she argued in the letter.
According to the student, the University ought not to hypocritically promote artistes “who glorify antisocial and illegal behaviour like scamming, which destroys real people simply”, simply because they are popular.
She said it was a “glaring contradiction that a university would elevate an artiste who promotes being “dunce” and choosing a life of scamming, as seen in Valiant’s song, Dunce Cheque, and that “inviting Valiant and supporting his music is a line the UWI should not cross” arguing that it goes against the ethos of the institution.
“It is hard to take the work of the University seriously when, in class, we are taught about ethics but events like these are inconsistent with such an ethical standard. A university is a place to discover truth and promote the flourishing of society,” she had asserted.
However, while a few persons supported Sarah’s comments, many Jamaicans rose to the defence of the University and its Guild of Students, which is promoting the Carnival.
Some sought to remind the author that Carnival was long known for promoting acts of debauchery, while noting that her outrage is selective, and is also an attack on Dancehall.
“Don’t forget the gyrating n carrying on in Soca with same sex to help promote unsolicited ideology of sodom…so hypocritical!!!!” one commenter said, to which another joined in: “Ina di middle a Constant Spring rd a dry hump ina soso g-string wid di 2 batty peg dem outa door”.
“I will never understand the double standard of the Jamaican society, we tend to bash and discriminate against our own dancehall music so much but glorify soca like it’s the best thing since slice bread. The same ppl who want to turn up their nose on a young lady in her shorts going to a dancehall party is the same one in the skimpiest costume in broad daylight during road march,” another woman said.
Another commenter pointed out that it was ridiculous for anyone to think Valiant would be able to influence university students, already highly educated to be “dunces”.
“unnu so unreal. If you’d listen to his catalogue you’d get a grip. And also isn’t the fact that they are enrolled in the institution and not choosing that route of life proof that they may not be as impressionable as you think?” jadetori rebuked.
Another commenter lustxena ripped into the author whom she accused of being hypocritical, since Carnival was not a virtuous event but one of lewdness and semi-nudity.
“Valiant is an ARTiste. Thus the root word is art. It is the intent for him to display his art which lies in his is lyrical prowess. As a Jamaican, UWI graduate and j’ouvert lover. I don’t recall there being any scientific equation, psychology theory nor legal problem to be solved during Carnival. Further, he is not being hired as a lecturer, is he? Correct me if I’m wrong, but what I know happens at Carnival is people gyrating to lewd music and enjoying themselves,” she stated.
“If the scantily clad females and gyrating does not offend your sensibilities I fail to see why the artiste’s song about Dunce cheque offends you so much. The Jamaican in many of us is able to appreciate the ART that he produces and not internalize it as though we are studying for an EXAM. If you don’t have a problem with Carnival you cannot have a problem with Valiant and if you do STAY HOME,” she reprimanded.
Other commenters pointed out that as a university, the UWI is a place where all views contend, and where nobody’s art or speech is shunned.
“Because UWI provides a space for free speech and expression. Also carnival is entertainment. I may not agree with all his lyrics but he is a good performer. I’m not going to bash you for your opinion as we should be having thought provoking dialogue,” brown_sania said.
Another commenter ashikabii, said Valiant’s entire catalogue was not only about nefarious activities and that the Red Hills native has been an advocate for education and youth development.
“He’s an entertainer, not the morality police. They sing about life’s uncomfortable truths but that doesn’t mean you need to follow in their footsteps. Just in the same way these soca artiste aren’t morality police when they sing and perform lewd and provocatively in next to nothing (again it’s entertainment),” she argued.
“As usual, this is just a another attempt to promote divisiveness based on classism (soca provocateur overload is okay for uwi carnival but dancehall, not so much),” she added.
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