Popular culture

Carolyn Cooper | Vybz Kartel fi national hero | Remark

CHAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

Inna mi column last week, mi seh wi should follow a Barbados and mek Louise Bennett a national hero of Bob Marley as Rihanna. Check out the post from ‘Marcus Garvey II’ on Gleaner’s website: ‘I’m pretty sure Dr. Cooper wouldn’t object to Kartel being named a hero. Pon but, I never draw fi dancehall inna di column. I had no idea seh dem would be a seh mi a national dancehall hero. Mi seh “popular culture“. Do music, dance, style and fashion, flim, theater, all kinds of things.

Mi did seh dat di one a few people dem weh a pick hero fi wi “have no vision of the kind of modern hero that is needed to inspire young people.” Nuff yute born long after Bob Marley’s death in 1981; an Louise Bennett inna 2006. But I also said: “Of course we have to teach young people to appreciate the culture of the past.” I never thought seh mi woulda afi a howl and write it seh dat mi woulda ‘object’ if dem try fi mek Vybz Kartel national hero.

Mi woulda gwaan bad, same as how nuff a wi a fi rail up wen di mad smaddy dem made gi national honor to Al Miller. Dishonorable and irreverent convicted criminal! Always for all, if Kartel never became criminal, mi tink se im could obtain the national honor. Same as Shabba Ranks, Lt Stitchie, Sean Paul, David Rodigan and a few more artists! Kartel writes a whole bunch of gun lyrics. But I also write conscious lyrics.

‘POETRY REGGAE’

A student dem inna mi ‘Reggae Poetry’ class at University of the West Indies (UWI) mek mi start listen to Kartel’s lyrics. Wi has studied Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Buju Banton, and Tanya Stephens. Every year, students complain about wa mek mi nuh mis Kartel inna di cours. I’m well. Mi say dem seh everyone cyaan deh inna di a course. I am satisfied with them, I invited Kartel fi gi to give a conference at the UWI in 2011. Earlier, some people continue to swear at me.

I wonder how Adidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer’s life would have turned out if Calabar had a music lesson in the recording studio; a dem teacher did serious dancehall tek. A Calabar nuh. All high school students regard their subject as an education and see how they can reach the students. Adidja should never have gone to skull school to go to a studio. A dat mek I’m kicked out. And, maybe, I wouldn’t want a prison. Adidja Palmer could have had a next job, with a dancehall DJ we could have tek Vybz Kartel off a rough patch.

PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN

Ina mi kalam laas wiik, mi se wi shuda fala baka Barbados an mek Louise Bennett an Bob Marley nashinal iiro siem laik Rihanna. Luk wa ‘Marcus Garvey II’ puos pan Gleaner said, “I’m pretty sure Dr. Cooper wouldn’t object to Kartel being named a hero.” Pan porpos, mi neva jraa fi daansaal ina di kalam. Mi don nuo se dem wuda se mi a promoted daansaal nashinal iiro. Mi se ‘popular culture.’ Dat a myuuzik, daans, stail an fashan, flim, tieta, aal kain a ting.

Mi did se dat di wan an fyuu piipl dem we a pik iiro fi wi “have no vision of the kind of modern hero that is needed to inspire young people”. Nof yuut baan lang-lang taim aafta Bob Marley ded in 1981; a Louise Bennett in 2006. Bot mi also said, “Of course we have to teach young people to appreciate the culture of the past. Mi neva tingk se mi wuda afi a baal out an rait it dong se dat mi wuda ‘object’ if dem chrai fi mek Vybz Kartel nashinal iiro.

Mi wuda gwaan bad, siem laik or nof a wi did afi riel op wen di mad smadi dem did gi nashinal ana tu Al Miller. Disanarebl, irevrent kanviktid kriminal! Still far aal, if Kartel neva ton kriminal, mi tink se im kuda get nashinal ana. Siem laik Shabba Ranks, Lt Stitchie, Sean Paul, David Rodigan an nof muor entatiena! Kartel rait uol iip a gon liriks. Bot im rait nof kanshos liriks tu.

‘POETRY REGGAE’

A di styuudent dem ina mi ‘Reggae Poetry’ klaas a University of the West Indies (UWI) mek mi staat lisn Kartel liriks. I’ve done Stodi Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Buju Banton, and Tanya Stephens. Evri ier di styuudent dem komplien combat wa mek mi no put Kartel ina di kuors. I’m good. Mi tel dem se evribadi kyaahn de ina di wan kuors. Fi satisfied dem, mi did invait Kartel fi gi lekcha at UWI ina 2011. Aal nou, sortn piipl stil at kos mi.

Mi wanda or Adidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer laif wuda said if Calabar had done av wan rikaadn styuudiyo fi dem myuuzik klaas; an di tiicha dem fit tek daansaal siiriyos. One step from Calabar wan. Aal a di ai skuul dem afi kansida di sobjek dem a tiich fi si or dem kyan riich di styuudent dem. Adidja shuda neva a fi skol skuul fi go a styuudiyo. A dat mek im get ekspel. An, paraps, im wudn de a prizn. Adidja Palmer maita did some work av wan neks, tapped a dj daansaal, we kuda did tek Vybz Kartel outa badnis.

For an English translation, visit carolynjoycooper.wordpress.com

– Carolyn Cooper, PhD, is a professor of English language and literature and an expert in culture and development. Email your comments to [email protected] and [email protected]