Mon | Nov 23, 2020

Erotic dancehall acts will be ‘purged’ - Selector compares music to Mother Earth

Published:Wednesday | October 28, 2020 | 12:14 AMShereita Grizzle/Staff Reporter
Tony Matterhorn
Tony Matterhorn
Section of a crowd at a dancehall event.
Section of a crowd at a dancehall event.

It is no secret that the already thin line that exists between highly sexualised dancehall content and full-on soft porn has eroded even further, as more dancehall entertainers say that they are embracing their sexuality, sometimes in eye-popping ways. With the adult platform, OnlyFans, seen as a viable option by a few, erotic live sessions on Instagram and songs touting an array of fetishes, the music space has once again been transformed into the ultimate porn site leaving many to fear that dancehall could be sliding into a place of no return.

Speaking with the The Gleaner in a recent interview, popular selector Tony Matterhorn and PR guru and artiste manager, Cara Vickers, said that if the players in the dancehall space do not scale back on the theatrics, particularly those of the erotic nature, the industry will suffer the consequences.

Matterhorn acknowledged that the line between racy dancehall content and porn is thin, but said that artistes can choose not to cross it. “People love theatrics and sex sells so nothing is wrong with mixing the sexy, provocative content with the music. It’s just the artistes have to understand there is a level and a way to do it. For example, a woman can wear sexy clothes and talk a bagga things, but dem have to know how far to take things,” he said.

The controversial selector advised female artistes that they should not put up themselves for sale on the Internet and behave as if they were ladies of the night. According to him, that sort of behaviour is taking things too far. Matterhorn, however, said that the eroticism being embraced by some artistes will hurt their own careers more than it will affect the industry on a large scale. The selector explained that music acts as its own cleanser and will eventually flush out those who mean it harm.

“Weh dem a do a go hurt the one dem who a do it because a one thing wid dancehall music, it’s like Mother Earth, it purge and cleanse itself. The lickle one dem weh come and a show up themself a go get a five minutes a fame and then the music a go just done with dem. Two years down the line we nuh wah see dem.”

Vickers, on the other hand, was adamant that everything comes at a cost. That price, she says, could be the respect dancehall has longed desired from entities that can give it the backing it desperately needs. “Why do you want to bring porn into the dancehall space when we can’t even get nearly enough corporate backing or sponsorship? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Dancehall is dancehall and porn is porn. There are limits and you have to decide as an ambassador for the country and for the culture what it is that you’re doing. This distasteful behaviour weh dem a keep up, it is bad for dancehall.”

Vickers said that while both the former and current dancehall queens, Lady Saw and Spice, respectively, have been labelled hardcore owing to their image and their content, they understood boundaries. “Lady Saw was the baddest thing in dancehall and we nuh know how her breast dem stay. Spice is the hardest dancehall female artiste right now. She is sexy and provocative but you will never see her wid her assets outta door and she have two kids a go school. We have to draw the line somewhere or lose dancehall forever to these porn stars,” she said. “Yes, sex sells but if you have to be naked or support nakedness to get people’s attention, you have no strategy and zero belief in your talent.”