Wrong Number, JCHS.
Church lobby groups are a strange group these days. On one hand, they claim to hold the morals and ethics of a society while on the other, they often hold.... strange beliefs. The latest "outrage" for them is the Jamaica Yellow Pages directory which showed a Dancehall scene on its cover.
The directory has always shown Jamaica's culture with an interesting photo on its cover and the results were positive. Well, positive in that we still collected them and kept them as souvenirs, who uses a directory anymore? Google is a thing people, but I know my Grandmother is quite fond of her directory as a smartphone/laptop might as well be a grenade to her. But I am off topic here, the new cover seemed to have ruffled the feathers of the Jamaica coalition for a Healthy Society, whose Dr. Wayne West complained that the cover didn't display anything that was beneficial to society and it was encouraging behaviour that was not ideal. An interesting statement yet when we approached the 200 murder mark in St. James, they were missing from any national conversation on that issue. But who knows? Maybe they were busy reading scriptures or something. Yet this mass absence on many other issues which are arguable higher on the ladder of importance highlights a problem our churches are facing: Relevance. It is no secret that church numbers are falling and the Youth of today are moving towards what these churches term “Worldliness,” and in this they have began questioning the orders of the Church who cannot provide answers and are relying on the age-old “walk by faith” saying.
But the JCHS might have bitten off more than they could chew with attacking Dancehall. Dancehall has always had a mixed reputation in Jamaica, it’s the in your face and cuss yuh out cousin of Reggae and a voice founded in the Downtown which the Uptown disliked but can’t help but feel drawn to.
When the JCHS attacked the Yellow Pages for their representation of this aspect of our culture, they didn’t just attack a genre of music… they attacked an identity, a way of life, a fighting force of the downtrodden and everybody knows Dancehall takes no prisoners in a clash. Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, you came to the wrong sound clash. Pack up and go home. Ring di alarm, another church is dying.
Bonus: Twitter user @Leinova has taken it on himself to assist the JCHS with suitable church friendly covers for the directory:
And for those of us who loved the first cover: