queen ifrica - reggae raising issues

Salute to Queen Ifrica for releasing singles that create conversation around practices that are widespread and taboo, namely skin bleaching and child abuse.

Now, bleaching or lightening skin is common practice from asia to africa. In the west indies, all that cultural mixing has made for a color scale that is embedded into society. My aunties give me bleaching cream both because and inspite of the fact that they love me.

In Jamaica there is an interesting twist; "homophobic" sayings are littered throughout dancehall music and particularly at a dance there is a certain amount of related audience participation (flash you lighter if yuh no battiman or lesbian, etc.) BUT there will invariably be present a few groups of young men dressed in flashy jewelry (fake diamond earrings and rhinestone beltbuckles), tight pants (acid wash, tapered perhaps), sunglasses (bejeweled maybe,) stylized hair in patterns or designs and nasty, patchy, blotchy bleached out skin - standing around sipping guinness looking like strange, iffeminate, freaky ghosts ("gay" by western standards - true, our norms are pretty limited; in cuba heterosexual men can sit on each others laps). Either way, their dress is a little incongruous to "burning down" or "burning out" gays. Note that I love dancehall and have spent a post explaining the cultural context that could breed anti-homosexual attitudes. Check out the video

The next video is more self explanatory - there have recently been more and more reports of child abuse across the west indies. When I was last in Trinidad a mother and her boyfriend were arrested after it was found that both were running a sex operation with her young daughter for years including male family members and men in the neighborhood. Child abuse is especially taboo - the explicit nature of her lyrics and the video is all the more outstanding - good works, Queen Ifrica, good works.

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