Bounty Killer seconds a Jamaican senator’s take on the correlation between crime and music.
The ongoing debate in Jamaica concerning the impact of dancehall music on the country’s high crime rate has welcomed opinions and arguments from figures in both the entertainment and political industry. While the members of the proposition and opposition seemed to be clearly established as the government and dancehall community, respectively, a opposition senator recently did an interview on a very popular music entertainment platform where he shared an opposing view to the Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s controversial take.
According to Damion Crawford, who is the vice president of the opposition political party, there are no statistics to support the notion that music has negatively affected the crime rate, not just in Jamaica but anywhere.
In his recent interview with On-Stage’s Winford Williams, Crawford said the government’s attempt to lobby the public to believe dancehall music has influenced crime, particularly murder is baseless and makes for an excuse for the industry to continue to suffer from a lack of government support.
“If it is positioned in the minds of the public that it is a negative industry, that is a covid contributor, that it is a crime contributor, it’s a murder contributor then that impetus, that push to have government protect it will not come,” he said. “And the government will always have a satisfactory excuse to the public to say this is why we have not embraced this industry in the same way first place.”
He continued, “So that is why I’m out here to say that all the signs suggest that there is no true causal relationship between music and crime – in particular murder.” He went on to say countries like the United Kingdom, Norway, and the United States have done the research as it relates to rap music and other genres affecting national crime rates, and it yielded the result that there is no correlation.
An excerpt from Crawford’s interview with On-Stage has been circulating online since it premiered on national television. Bounty Killer was among those influencers who reshared the clip on Instagram, making light of the strong argument that in the grand scheme of things, dancehall is but a scapegoat in a much larger issue that the government does not appear to have a handle on.
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Like many other dancehall artists, Bounty Killer has previously acknowledged the government and Prime Minister attributing the crime spike to music in his social media posts where he strongly disagreed that dancehall is to be blamed. In November 2020, the deejay highlighted major contributors to the crime during a speech at a conference with members of the Jamaica security force. He pointed out some social issues that drive the crime rate up, including unemployment, impoverished communities, a lack of morals, stable homes, parents, and self-worth.
As Damion Crawford suggested in his recent interview, the government could be laying the foundation for an excuse to perpetuate their lack of positive attention and funding to dancehall music. Ironically, Bounty Killer believes all the funding that goes towards national security is hardly a fix as he believes the high crime rate is a matter of social dysfunction in the society rather than a critical security issue. The dancehall veteran says in order to really start tackling the root of the crime epidemic in Jamaica, a sharper focus should be placed on social development.
What’s your take on the role of dancehall music in society and the ongoing debate on whether its influence has been negatively impacting the crime rate?