Ishawna is breaking the long cycle of males dominating dancehall with certain lyrics. She has instigated “Equal Rights” for women as the left-winger of the future and other men would better serve themselves, dancehall as well as Jamaica if they chose not to spout negative tales of violence against her and the women or men to whom she sang her lustful gratifications.
The prejudice that has comfortably settled in the dancehall fraternity due to misogyny and hegemony have always been openly displaying its ugly head. But one can state that its root lies within the norms of our culture. For boys tend to be able to elude the scrutiny and scorn of society by the using of certain words and conducting particular activities. Females are constantly told, “you cannot do what a man does and still be a lady.”
So it is okay for a male to refer to his genital as “dick or cock,” but a female is met with disdain for referring to her genital as “pussy or pum-pum.” The same words that men used in the lyrics of their songs and when addressing their women sometimes during heated sessions of passion, which are accepted by the masses.
Ishawna further utilized clever metaphors, to itemise ‘bag juice’, Pepsi, french fries and “cutliss” (machete) to compare with the kind of heated encounter she expects from the experience.
In keeping with dancehall lingua, and irony Ishawana expressed her willingness to return the favour among other things, should her desires be met by her lover.
Based on the culture of dancehall and males spouting lyrics of wanting women to satisfy their sexual desires, one would be led to believe that sensible and intelligent men would know that the secret to happiness in a relationship is to make their woman happy, but surprisingly the lyrics to her song has angered a few male dancehall artistes.
“Equal Rights” led to the reactivation of a few male dancehall artiste prejudices and old narratives of violence against women and misogyny.
One artiste, Prince Pin, stated in the intro to his song.: “ How some man so silent and when man talk dem say we violent?” His lyrics went on to lash out for the “real Jamaican dem” in distasteful banter.
This is a new era and these “real Jamaican men” spoken of by Prince Pin in his song are of an era in dancehall where masculinity was the order of the day, and to the degree of their portrayal of masculinity, they would receive many roars for encouraging the atrocious treatment of women and their genitals.
Interestingly, whenever a man sings about such sexual acts there is no opposition from these “real Jamaican men.” Their sense of morality becomes silent like their careers to conveniently give their male counterpart a pass on the same subject of oral sex in dancehall.
We tend to adapt a lot of things from America and I believe it is time some of the males in the dancehall fraternity follow their American counterparts. I have never heard an artiste in America throwing jabs at female rappers for been too sexual.
An obvious reason that some of these artistes are not generating greater waves in the dancehall arena or music for that matter is that the content of their songs and their minds rest in the comfortable expressions of patriarchy disguised as Jamaican morality.
Dancehall cannot reach its full potential into the mainstream if the topics remain the same or if the female voices are not given a space to express themselves freely? Let us work together and not against each other. Silencing the women is also silencing the entire culture; because males cannot expand the dancehall fraternity on their own.
Recently, women of dancehall are creating more image and appeal than most of the men. They are outspoken and have undertaken the risk on topics that expands their artistic abilities. Female dancehall artiste must play their fundamental part in the development of dancehall.
Learning the attitudes and behaviours of her audience Ishawna went against any expectation of dancehall purists. This is why the song is more favoured than it is bashed.
Ishawna as a dancehall artiste has the duty to her fans to maintain relevance been that she is renowned, she must boldly be an indicator of things that are to come -“Equal Rights” for all in the dancehall fraternity.