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CARIBBEAN EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL

CARIBBEAN ADVANCED PROFICIENCY EXAMINATION

COURSE NAME: CARIBBEAN STUDIES

THEME:

TOPIC: DANCEHALL MUSIC HAS NEGATIVE EFFECTS ON


BEHAVIOUR AMONG THE YOUTHFUL POPULATION OF GRENADA.

CANDIDATE: NIKIAH A. NOEL

CANDIDATE NUMBER: 0802002390

INSTITUTION: T.A. MARRYSHOW COMMUNITY COLLEGE

CENTRE NUMBER: 080200

LECTURER: ANTONIA CADORE-CAL

DATE OF SUBMISSION: MARCH 26TH, 2018


Table of Contents
Introduction................................................................................................................................ 2
Literature review ........................................................................................................................ 4
Data Collection Sources ............................................................................................................ 6
Presentation of Data .................................................................................................................. 7
Analysis of Data ......................................................................................................................... 3
Discussion of findings ................................................................................................................ 4
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 5
Limitations ................................................................................................................................. 5
Recommendations ...................................................................................................................... 5
Bibliography .............................................................................................................................. 7

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Title:

Dancehall music has negative effects on behaviour among the youthful population of
Grenada.

Introduction

Problem statement

This study is geared towards assessing the problem statement which investigates the degree
to which the, ‘rapid popularization of Dancehall music has led to negative effects on the
behaviour of the youthful population of Grenada’.

Purpose of the research

Increasing arguments form on the topic of Dancehall’s negative effects on its listeners, the
purpose of this research is to elucidate the topic and the ills that seem to accompany it.
Dancehall music is one of the most popular wide spread music in the Caribbean. This style of
popular music is created in the Region and it is also widely appreciated by Caribbean people,
especially of the youthful population. There is a growing concern however; that the lyrical
content found in this type of music is of the nature in which it exerts tremendous negative
influence on the behaviour juvenile.

The Value of the research

This research is of value as it can provide individuals within the Grenadian society, with
information on the effects dancehall music carries and exerts on the young within the
Grenadian society. The information obtained can be used to educate individuals on the effects
of this type of music and may also have the power to influence their choice in the music they
listen to.

Although the researcher is conducting this independent study as partial fulfilment of the
Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (C.A.P.E), this topic is of special interest as
the researcher has observed a difference in the behaviour of juveniles who listen to dancehall
music in Grenada.

Also the researcher finds that the knowledge that can be obtained from this research can be
useful for scholastic goals as well as future work interests in the field of sociology.

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Technical terms used in the study

1. Dancehall Music-1a style of Jamaican popular music that had its genesis in the
political turbulence and became Jamaica’s dominant music.
2. Popular Music-2“music that people value the most” or music that is 3“accessible to a
broader range of people,” most often through the mass media.
3. Societal Impact- 4is the effect an organization’s actions have on the well-being of the
community.
4. Juvenile-5 a child or young person who is not yet old enough to be regarded as an
adult.

1
(Cooper, 2004)
2
(John, 1973)
3
(Wade, 2008)
4
(Schwartz, 2017)
5
(HarperCollins, 2018)

3
Literature review

Dancehall music has become a quickly spreading musical phenomena which seemingly has
the ability to influence the behavioural patterns of individuals especially adolescents. Despite
the positive effects Dancehall music might have on our young people, it has become more a
pathway for moral degradation as it encompasses symbols of explicit sexual imagery and
violence. Dancehall is a 6“style of Jamaican popular music that had its genesis in the political
disturbance of the late 1970’s and became Jamaica’s dominant music in the 1980’s and 90’s”.

Behavioural scientist and music educator, Dr. Marilyn Anderson said,7 “some rhythms,
timbres and amplitudes of the music can affect emotional behaviour in humans, particularly
the young and they are often the ones most interested in music”. Many youths get easily
influenced during adolescence and music is highly influential. The lyrics are an important
part of music which contains messages and feelings that the singer wants to convey to the
listeners. The lyrics present in dancehall music have become increasingly explicit over the
decades. These 8 ‘dancehall artistes sing about the current social, economic and political
climate present in their communities, the country and by extension, the world.’ To this end
these songs often expose the realities which existed in these countries, for example Vybz
Kartel’s, ‘Life we Living’ where he states “Mi haffi hide from the landlord because mi owe
'bout four months rent, weekend a come mi nuh have a red cent”. More over these songs have
helped to encourage the nation’s underdogs to elevate themselves such as I-Octane’s ‘My
Life’.

Although dancehall music has promoted some positive messages there is no doubt that the
lyrical content found in this type of music is of the nature in which it exerts tremendous
negative influence on the behaviour juvenile s. 9“Studies have shown that graphical lyrical
music can impact adolescent sexual and violent behaviour.” In the article “Decadent
dancehall”), 10 Deserene Davis argued that “parents can’t talk to their children anymore. The
songs that their children have been exposed to – these so-called dancehall songs – have been
behavioural changes in children being insolent and showing no respect to their teachers”. She
challenged dancehall artists to realise that they are role models – whether they want to or not
– to the youths and insisted that their recordings have a degrading impact on society.

Dancehall music tends to contain explicit sexual content that continuously encourages
violence and promiscuity in adolescents and even adults. 11In an article, political analyst
Tazhmoye Crawford reported that ‘Teenagers are identifying music, mainly of the dancehall
genre, as a trigger for early sexual intercourse’. This is according to a scientific study

6
(Cooper, 2004)
7
(Anderson, 2008)
8
(Martin, 2012)
9
(Crawford, 2010)
10
(Davis,2011)
11
(Martin, 2012)

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conducted by Crawford, at the University of the West Indies, Mona in 2007. Dancehall songs
such as Alkaline’s, ‘Not a Slack Song’, and ‘Conjugal visit’ by Spice and Vybz Kartel with
their sexual disposition bring forward explicit lyrics which exhibit dancehalls degrading,
abusive and vulgar nature. There is not only the glorification of sexual immorality in
dancehall but the other popular theme in is that of violent behaviour. 12Songs with degrading
sexual references tend to have more references to weapon carrying and violence. For
example, Movado sings in the chorus of a song entitled-Squeeze Breast, “She say she wan me
squeeze her breast dem like the trigger of my gun.” The references in dancehall move past
just violent sexual implications but also include downright violent influences. The most
obvious evidence demonstrating the violent influence of dancehall on youth’s is the
veneration of feuds in the dancehall.

Dancehall music with these degrading and violent lyrics helps to build the thought process of
our youths. Based on a study that was done by Iowa State University, leading researcher,
Craig A. Anderson, PhD noted that 13 “violent songs increase aggressive thoughts and
feelings and have implications for real world violence.” Mothers in Grenada should devise a
plan and approach the media houses, the music industry and so forth to resolve the impact of
violent lyrics on our children.

Music has a drastic influence on people especially those of adolescent age. As such there is
question as to the effects which the rapid popularization of dancehall music in particular may
have on adolescents. Although dancehall music can be seen to provide some positive
influences on the youths the negative influence it exerts on the behaviour of youths cannot be
ignored as if far outweighs the positive.

12
(Brian Primack, 2008)
13
(Anderson C. , 2003)

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Data Collection Sources

PRIMARY SOURCES

In order for the researcher to gather appropriate information regarding the current topic at the
Questionnaires were utilised. Questionnaires are a list of questions, usually printed and
submitted to a select number of people for replies in order to collect statistical information. A
total of 40 questionnaires were distributed in T.A Marryshow Community college.

This area was chosen for study as it is known to have students who reside all over the country
of Grenada thus providing a sample that is specific to the topic. A total of 40 questionnaires
which comprised of both open ended and close ended questions were issued to students
through Stratified Sampling, which involves the use of “stratum”, or a subset of the target
population wherein the members possess one or more common attribute (s).Questionnaires
were given to 20 females and 20 males so as to prevent any gender bias from existing also
students between the ages of 16 to 20 were targeted as the research is built around
adolescents.

SECONDARY SOURCES

Secondary sources such as articles, books, journals, websites and films were used to collect
information. Newspaper articles used in the research are found in the Literature Review and
the presentation of data. The best entry point into the public debate about dancehall was
found in three national newspapers, The Gleaner, The Jamaican Star, and The Observer as
Jamaica is the greatest source of information on dancehall.

Online dancehall blogs and websites served to provide me with information regarding events,
photos and video footage of dancehall music, along with a database of lyrics. Song lyrics
were selected because they represent the direct voice of ghetto youth as lyrics illustrate issues
present within dancehall.

Also a visit to the library was undertaken to acquire information from journal articles and
various related books. These provide background information, on the topic being
investigated. Altogether, my variety of sources, musical, visual, and written provided me with
the material needed to tackle my research questions and make a thorough investigation.

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Presentation of Data

Age groups of the respondents

16 yrs 17 yrs
10% 30%

18 yrs 19 yrs
40% 20%

Figure 1: is a list illustrating the ages of the respondents.

Whether persons listen to Dancehall music

No
Yes Yes
45%
55% No

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Figure 2: Pie chart showing the number of persons who do or do not listen to dancehall music
in Grenada.

Figure 3: is an info graph illustrating the responses to the question, “Which of these reasons
explain why you listen to dancehall music?”

Are Dancehall artists or icons viewed as role models to listeners?


Sometimes one wonders if dancehall music and criminality are inextricably linked.
Recently, too many dancehall artistes were brought before the courts for varying degrees
of criminality. This state of affairs does not reflect favourably on a genre struggling to take
its place on the international music scene. Dancehall artistes must know that they play an
important role in Caribbean society, especially when one looks at the impact of dancehall
on the socialization of modern Caribbean youth. When students of the T.A Marryshow
Community College were asked whether they have experienced or observed persons
looking who listen to dancehall music looking towards the artists or icons as role models,
70% said yes while 30% said no. Caribbean youth are tuned in to dancehall. This is a fact
that cannot be denied. Therefore, it is my belief that our Caribbean dancehall artistes need
to be more responsible in their words, thoughts and actions.

Figure 4: text illustrating the responses to the question, “Have you ever experienced or
observed people who listen to dancehall music looking to the artists or icons as role models?”

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Can you relate to dancehall music?

Figure 5: is a diagram illustration the responses to whether dancehall music is relatable.

Figure 6: is a vector illustrating the responses for the question which gender responds to
dancehall music most.

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Do you think that dancehall music today Imagine these people using dance hall to
promotes negative messages? strengthen you,

And your hope and will to live is slowly


returning.
The messages in Dancehall music by
Nikiah Noel

Imagine living in a world where your


house slowly rots,
However, time passes by and these people
Losing its every fibre that created its change,
existence,
The music is no longer the same,
Imagine the look on your mothers face,
The messages could never explain,
When she can’t provide lunch money for a
couple days, The plight of the people again,

Imagine an entire country suffering from Because the music is vulgar,


not just one issue but many, And the music is demeaning,
The police and the government who, “doh The artists who should be leading,
care bout nobody”,
Its only gang activity they are engaging,
Then imagine somehow you manage to
overcome these struggles, Because the lyrics are negative,

And you are kept motivated by the rhythm And the youths it’s affecting,
and beat in your atmosphere,
No longer a sense of hope and will,
Imagine out of dancehall music emerged
But jus sex and kill.
people to look up to,
The music has changed,
People who speak out for the plight of you
and every one you know, Now music 75% of Grenadians sees it as
1negative
Imagine people, who do more than the
police and government, And a mere 25% see it as positive.
People who are also a part of the fight for
life,

Figure 7: is a poem illustration the idea that dance hall music promotes negative messages?

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Recommendations for reducing the negative impact of dancehall
music
Responses Percentages

Ban 15%

Censorship 30%

Fines 30%

I do not think dancehall music has negative 25%


effects

Figure 8: is a table showing the recommendations for reducing the negative impacts of
dancehall music.

2
Analysis of Data

Of the forty respondents that kindly participated, as indicated by figure 1, 10% were 16 years
old, 30% 17, 40% 18 and 20% 19. Dancehall music is a popular genre of music in the
Caribbean. The data in figure 2 indicated the percentage of the respondents who listened to
dancehall music, 55% of the respondents said yes while 45% said no.

Listening to music can serve a variety of purposes for the listeners. Figure 3 reflects why the
respondents listened to dancehall music, 25% said for entertainment, 20% said listening to it
is trendy, (20%) said listening to it is a norm whilst 35% said they do not listen to dancehall
music. People tend to follow examples which are set by others in society. As dancehall music
is so popular people may look to the artists or icons as role models, figure 4 shows the
responses to whether respondents have ever experienced or observed people who listen to
dancehall music looking to the artists or icons as role models 70% said yes while 30% said
no. People may not only look to dancehall music because of the artists but also due to the fact
that the songs are relatable to them. In figure 5 the responses to whether dancehall music is
relatable was exhibited the data collected were as follows, the majority (65%) said yes while
(35%) said no.

In music followers tend to amass based on gender, dancehall’s followers tend to be male.
Figure 6 represents the responses for the question which gender responds to dancehall music
most in which 80% said male while 20% said female.

Music expresses the feelings of the artists and the lyrical content in dancehall music is often o
a negative nature. In order to test this theory the researcher asked the respondents if they felt
that dancehall music promotes negative messages, 75% said yes while 25% said no these
results were represented in figure 7.Negitive promotions in dancehall music is a problem as
indicated in figure 7 thus it is of importance to bring forward ways to curb the problem. In
figure 8 the respondents were asked what recommendations for reducing the negative impacts
of dancehall music would they give, 15% said to ban it, 30%said censorship, 30% said to
impose fines and 25% maintained that they did not think that dancehall music promoted
negative ideals.

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Discussion of findings

Dancehall music has negative effects on behaviour among the youthful population of
Grenada. It is one of the most popular wide spread music in the Caribbean which is created in
the region and widely appreciated by Caribbean people, especially of the youthful population.
The appreciation for dancehall music can be seen in the research data which showed that 65%
of the respondents ages 16- 19 listen to dancehall music.

Music especially dancehall music has the ability to influence individuals as they may feel
they can relate to it. This is supported by, Dr. Marilyn Anderson who said, some rhythms,
timbres and amplitudes of the music can affect emotional behaviour in humans, particularly
the young, and dancehall music is no exception to this. These individuals may thus feel like
they can relate to the music. These statements were backed by the data collected by this
researcher in which the respondents were asked if they often feel like they can relate to
dancehall music 65% said yes while 35% said no.

People may not only look to dancehall music because of the songs are relatable but also
because of the artists or icons who they view as role models. Many youths get easily
influenced during adolescence and this kind of music is highly influential. Not only is the
music its self influential but the artists and icons who sing the music offer up themselves as
role models to the listeners. The research conducted addressed this as it showed 70% of the
respondents have experienced or observed people who listen to dancehall music as seeing
these artist and icons as role models. This goes to emphasize Davis challenge to dancehall
artistes to realise that they are role models – whether they want to or not – to the youths and
insisted that their recordings have a degrading impact on society. The research denoted that
the vast majority of the students sample believe and have knowledge that dancehall music has
a negative impact on them.

According to Cooper (2013) dancehall music is a style of Jamaican popular music that had its
genesis in the political turbulence and became Jamaica's dominant music. This genre of
music produces both negative and positive messages. The lyrical content found in this type of
music is of the nature in which it exerts tremendous negative influence on the behaviour of
juveniles. This idea is supported by the study conducted by Crowford and the research data
collected in Grenada which showed that that 75% of the respondents believed that dancehall
music promoted negative messages. The negative influences of dancehall music need to be
minimized as C. Anderson put it; violent songs increase aggressive thoughts and feelings and
have implications for real world violence.” Mothers in Grenada should devise a plan and
approach the media houses, the music industry and so forth to resolve the impact of violent
lyrics on our children. In an attempt to gather information to do this the respondents were
asked what recommendations for reducing the negative impacts of dancehall music would
they give, 15% said to ban it, 30%said censorship, 30% said to impose fines and 25%
maintained that they did not think that dancehall music promoted negative ideals.

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Conclusion

Dancehall music is of the nature which exerts significant influences on the adolescent
population of Grenada. The lyrics contain sexually explicit language as well as promotion of
violence. Similar to studies conducted in Jamaica where this type of music originated it was
seen that these effects are present in Grenada. Even though the negative effects of dancehall
music are clear to many people they are still convinced that it is not critically negative but
that it has positive influences as well.

Limitations

The questionnaire was handed out in T.A Marryshow Community college. This particular
school chosen because it was easily accessible by the researcher and it encompassed
individuals from all over the island of Grenada thus providing an amount of individuals to
question. However the research was conducted in one part of the college The School of
Applied Arts & Technology (SAAT) as this had the greatest population in the school as a
result, this study is limited by the precise sample size, making it difficult to make
generalizations about based on the information collected. Another limitation was the time it
took for the questionnaires to be collected from the students.

The research presented a large array of Secondary sources of data available for use. While
this was extremely imperial the research was limited in that the information was not focused
on the researcher’s area of study. As a result the researcher had to apply knowledge from
other countries to the country of research and make speculations based on what was
observed.

Recommendations

The lyrical make up of dancehall music is no doubt intoxicating as such there are a few things
to be done in order to protect the youthful population from its effects:

Censorship- monitor what is being said and put strict guidelines in place to control what is
being said in the songs.

Fines- this can be put in place to discourage individuals from putting explicit language in
their songs as they would have to pay exorbitant fines.

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Ban- the banning of certain songs can help to control what people are being exposed to and
also what the artists put out there.

Additionally, the government could provide various resources that would motivate artistes to
promote positive lyrics which would impact on the youths.

Finally, the radio personnel and Disk Jockey (DJ’s) in Grenada can take up the moral
responsibility of not promoting these kinds of music while wider society can contribute by
putting a stoppage to the listening of negative and degrading dancehall music. If it is not
played or listened to, then the negative messages will not be dispersed.

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Bibliography
Anderson, C. (2003, May 4). "Exposure to Violent Media: The Effects of Songs With Violent Lyrics on
Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,. Retrieved
from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2003/05/violent-songs.aspx

Anderson, D. M. (2008, March 3rd). Blame it on the boogie. (S. Michaels, Interviewer)

Brian primack, A. A. (2008). Degrading and Non-Degrading Sex in Popular Music:A Content Analysis.
Public Health Report, 593-600.

Cooper, C. (2004). Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large. USA: Palgrave Macmillan.

Crawford, A. D. (2010). The effects of dancehall genre on adolescent sexual and violent behavior in
Jamaica: A public health concern. North American Journal of Medical Sciences , 143-145.

Damico, A. H. (2008). Pace with Teen Media Use; Implications and Stratigies for Education. The
Journal of Educational Reasearch , 323-330.

Davis, D. (2011). Decadent dancehall . The Jamaica Observer .

HarperCollins. (2018). Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved from


https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/juvenile

John, B. (1973). How musical is man? London: Faber & Faber/University of Washington Press.

Martin, N. (2012, Februrary 5th). The Caribbean Current. Retrieved March 9th, 2017, from
https://www.thecaribbeancurrent.com/the-impact-of-reggaedancehall-music-on-jamaican-
youths/

Schwartz, A. (2017, August 30th ). Center for Social Impact Strategy . Retrieved from Center for
Social Impact Strategy website: http://socialimpactstrategy.org/what-is-social-impact-
anyway/

Wade, P. (2008). African Diaspora and Colombian Popular. Black Music Research Journal Vol. 28
No.2.

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Appendix

Questionnaires

Dear Respondent,

This survey is being conducted to determine how “Dancehall music has negative effects on
behaviour among the youthful population of Grenada.” This questionnaire will be used to
acquire information in aid of a research project for a Caribbean Studies course being
conducted at the moment.

You are required to be honest when answering this questionnaire. You are not required to put
your name as to ensure that you remain anonymous. Most of the questions can be answered
by placing a tick in the box closest to your choice or where necessary write your answer on
the line provided. Thank you for your cooperation.

Yours Respectfully,

Nikiah Noel

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1. What gender are you?

Male □ Female □

2. What age category do you fall under?

16 □ 17 □ 18 □ 19 □

3. Do you listen to dancehall music?

Yes □ No □

4. Which of the following reasons explains why?

Entertainment □ Listening to it is trendy □ Listening to it is a norm □

I do not listen to dancehall music □

5. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being very often), how often do you hear/listen to dancehall
music?

1 □ 2 □ 3 □ 4 □ 5 □

6. Do your peers listen to dancehall music?

Yes □ No □

7. How were you introduced to dancehall music?


___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

8. Is dancehall your favourite genre of music?

Yes □ No □

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9. Which gender of artist do you listen more?

Male □ Female □

10. Have you ever experienced or observed people who listen to dancehall music looking
to the artists or icons as role models?”?

Yes □ No □

11. What mood are you in when you listen to dancehall music?

High in spirits □ Aggressive/Angry □ Relaxed □ Positive/Fulfilled □

12. Do you often feel like you can relate to the lyrics in dance hall music?

Yes □ No □

13. Have you ever attend a dancehall stage show or a party where Disc Jocks (DJ) played
dancehall music?

Yes □ No □

14. Do you use dancehall slang when conversing with friends?

Yes □ No □

15. Do you think the lyrics in the song or actions of dancehall artists have an impact you?

Yes □ No □

16. If yes, how powerful is this impact?

Weak □ Average □ Strong □ It does not have an impact on me □

17. Do you think dancehall music promotes negative messages?

Yes □ No □

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18. If yes why do think so?

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

19. Has your personality changed since listening to dancehall music?

Yes □ No □

20. Which of the following recommendations do you think can reduce the negative
impact of dancehall music?

Ban □ Censorship □ Fines □

I do not think dance hall music has negative effects □

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