Dancehall stunt gets int’l attention - Industry players divided after 50 Cent posts video of Jamaican dancers
Stunts have always been part of the Jamaican dance culture. From leaping off rooftops to climbing atop trees, male and female dancers alike have engaged in some over-the-top dance moves over the years, all in the name of entertainment. Many videos capturing these dancehall shenanigans have gone viral in recent times with some capturing the attention of the international press or that of a foreign celebrity.
One of the most recent viral dancehall videos was picked up by US rapper 50 Cent. Last weekend, the rapper shared a video of a Jamaican couple dancing on a tree with his 23 million followers. Fascinated by the display of agility by both dancers, 50 Cent captioned the video, saying: "Jamaican people are different. He put the b**tch in a tree."
The video was viewed more than five million times and caught the attention of even more international celebrities, including R&B singer Mario and actor and TV host Mario Lopez.
Despite the video's undeniable popularity, there were mixed reactions in the comment section and some persons in the local entertainment sphere. While some believe the video means more visibility for the dancehall culture, others say the negative attention the video has garnered is not what the dancehall culture needs.
Local dancer Keiva Di Diva said that she was disgusted by the video. She pointed out that with all the positive inroads dancehall has made, a video like that will only set the culture back.
"This is not what we want people to think of dancehall. You know how bad mi feel now. I'm a Jamaican, and fi hear 50 Cent a class a Jamaican as a b**ch, come on. A young girl like you, why you woulda want fi a behave like dat and have somebody a throw yuh like dat. It don't look good. A time fi dem dance pan dem two foot. That's why God give yuh two foot. God never give you yuh body fi yah fling yuhself inna tree and throw yourself offa rooftop and fi free," she said.
She also urged persons to dance with class.
"Yuh can't bring dem type a dancing yah pan BET. When Beenie Man and Elephant Man did go pan BET, nobody never did a behave so. That is not dancing. Yuh can't wave the flag and a do these madness. It a get outta hand, and dem need fi stop it," she said.
However, Gold and Diamond-selling dancehall artiste Charly Black sees things differently. The entertainer said that while these types of dance moves may seem extreme, it is an authentic representation of dancehall culture.
"Is nothing bad. Dem always hear about the craziness weh happen at our parties, so they're putting a highlight on the happenings in our culture. It's amusing to them because they don't dance like that at their parties in America. We are different, and that's why everybody love to come to Jamaica and that's why Jamaica is one of the most talked about places. Our culture is so rich. Everybody wants to be part of it," he said, adding that tourists come to Jamaica for hardcore dancehall.
"Dancehall is not the cool rock, reggae weh Tarrus dem and Bob Marley and Chronixx dem do or the Tony Rebel or the Buju dem do. Dancehall is harsh. It's rough. It's excitement. The people dem weh a comment negative are those who just want to bash dancehall, and dancehall has always been getting fight over the years. Anybody from America side weh love dancehall nah ever make a bad comment."
International Dancehall Queen Danger agreed with Charly Black. She said those who believe the videos will paint the country in a negative light, do not fully understand the dancehall culture. Like Black, she believes the video is an authentic representation of what happens in the dancehall.
"Dancehall change so many tourists' lives and make dem become part a we. Weh dem come from dem never experience anything like this, and dem love the excitement and all a di drama weh come wid it. Look at Kiss Kiss. She's a Japanese, and she come a Jamaica and practically live here now because of dancehall culture," she said.