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Rise and Fall of an Empire

A Progressive Caribbean

Jerome Teelucksingh

Rise and Fall of an Empire: A Progressive Caribbean emphasizes the significance of literature, media, history, slavery, culture and ideology which helped shape the Caribbean. This interdisciplinary work includes lesser known events, individuals and organizations that have emerged from colonialism and contributed to the foundations of a Caribbean Empire. Furthermore, these personalities and groups made valid contributions to the improvement and betterment of Caribbean societies. There are obvious contradictions within the Caribbean region that denote noteworthy progress whilst other indicators reflect a regression. Undoubtedly, these are features of a dynamic people and stable region that should be considered an Empire.

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6 Relevance of Dancehall Culture

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Relevance of Dancehall Culture

Dancehall is usually associated with the island of Jamaica. During the early decades of the twentieth century, artistic creations as plays, songs and musicals emanating from the United States were assimilated into the Jamaican society. The transmission of music from the United States to Jamaica, a former British colony, increased after the 1950s, particularly via the sound system. The types of dance music imported from the North America and played in dancehalls in Jamaica included rock and roll, rhythm and blues and jazz.1 During the turbulent decade of the 1960s in which liberation movements were blossoming, there was the emergence of a unique brand of Jamaican music known as ska. Gradual changes to ska resulted in it being transformed from rock steady to the now popular reggae.

The eclectic art form of dancehall has undergone a metamorphosis resulting in a unique vocabulary and carved a niche in the music world.2 This musical genre has a global impact and is identified by various names such as ragga, DJ (deejay) style and Jamaican rap. And, rapping is known as chatting, toasting and chanting. Dancehall has been wrongly stereotyped as being mostly “gun talk” and “slackness.”3 The ←113 | 114→disciples of this music include artistes as Capelton, Shaggy, Lady Saw, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Merciless, Bounty Killer and Snow.

There is often misinterpretation by uninformed persons who are not aware of the lyrical flexibility and unique cultural expressions. Some overlook the fact...

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