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Volume No. 2 Issue No. 44 - Monday June 30, 2008
Movado Raises Concerns in Dominica

Movado's lyrics have come under close scrutiny.
A prominent radio Disk Jockey turned born again Christian is raising the alarm over the performance of popular reggae artist Movado, scheduled for July.

In an article publication Dj Alfy raises concern about the current social trend of Dominican youth due to various media and other influences.

“This article’s main objective is to seek to explain how our youth are targeted by the violent lyrical contents of the artists they seek to emulate. As a DJ with over 15 years of experience, I can say without fear of contradiction that many youths are attracted to songs based primarily on the rhythmic beat and not on the lyrics.

Artists are aware of this factor, therefore those with a message to “preach” use the beat as the vehicle to capture the audience. One such artist with very catchy beats is the Jamaican artist Movado, who’s real name is David Constantine Brooks. Movado, whose latest album entitled “Gangster for Life” (released in 2007) is scheduled to perform in Dominica in July 2008.”

Alfy states in his article that one of Movado’s trends is his propensity for using popular church songs in order to capture the ears of our youth, but changing around the lyrics in order to preach his own message. A typical example is the popular church song entitled “I am under the Rock.” Movado has changed the word “Under” to “On”, as he chants: “I am on the rock.” The chorus continues: “I am on the rock; go tell my enemy, I am on the rock, Selassi guide me, and a me them cyaaa stop, I will never look back.”

According to Dj Alfy the biblical reference on which the Christian song “I am under the Rock” is based is 1 Corinthians 10:4 which states that the children of Israel “Drank water from the Spiritual Rock that accompanied them, and that Rock was Christ.”

Since many Caribbean contemporary songs tend to convey lyrics of double-meaning, many impressionable minds have interpreted Movado’s inference to “I am on the rock, higher than I and I” as literally meaning “I am high on crack” since “rock” is one of the street names for crack cocaine. Thus, the song is seen by many as a clear glorification of crack cocaine by a musical icon that they seek to emulate.

“In the intro of the song, the fourth line states: “My name is excellent.” This expression is deemed by many pundits as being blasphemous since Almighty God is the only one whose name is excellent. One therefore wonders who’s name is excellent. Is it Movado’s, or is it someone else’s? In Matt.12:32 the bible clearly states that anyone who speaks blasphemously against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven,” Alfy wrote.

“Another popular church song which Movado has rearranged is the cherished hymn “Amazing Grace.” But in characteristic fashion he has twisted it into a “Gun tune”. The chorus of his rendition states: “Amazing grace, shot fly tru face, the bwoy dem a trace, shoot up dem base, have the K’s (AK47 assault rifle) dem in case, dem try fi escape, none cyaa escape, when me gun blaze.”

The violent content of the song is self-evident. Interestingly, our Minister for national security spoke recently of holding consultations to explore the imposition of stiffer penalties on persons having illegal firearms and ammunitions in their possession, yet we are bringing in an artist whose message is a clear undiluted glorification of the very gun culture that we are trying to put a stop to,” he added.

The verses of Movado’s “Amazing Grace” rendition are even more graphical. As a parent, I find the contents very disturbing. Indeed, all parents should, because when shots start flying, it is the safety of our children that we first worry about.

Now some might argue that an artist has the right to freedom of speech. Sure, by all means we have the right to our own opinion, and we also have the right to express our opinion in the form of song. However, we must keep in mind the well known axiom that “Word take on flesh.” Two of hip-hop’s biggest artists: Notorious BIG and Tu-Pac both lived and died victims of the violent songs they sang about. One therefore wonders whether we have learnt anything from their mistakes.

Mel Cooke of the April 27, 2008 edition of the Jamaican Gleaner wrote: “Movado’s often violently graphic lyrics deemed in various quarters as just about the closest thing to Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses.”

In an effort to protect the young impressionable minds of its citizens, some Caribbean governments have taken proactive action by banning artists with such violent lyrical contents from performing on their shores.

In January 2008, the Trinidad Express blamed the music of Movado for the stabbing of a student. As a result of this, some DJs in Trinidad & Tobago have reportedly refused to play his music.

In an editorial in Barbados’ premiere newspaper The Nation, Mr. Haynes, one of the island’s leading reporters called for all radio stations to ban Movado’s music.

At a press conference held in Georgetown Guyana on 28th April 2008, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee told reporters that Movado is seen as a security risk to the country. The decision to blacklist the Jamaican was taken by the Bharrat Jagdeo administration after careful consideration of their track record, reported Radio Jamaica.

As for how such actions will impact on Movado’s career, Jones-Griffiths, Movado’s manager said in the Jamaica Star that “This type of action does not do anything to cease Movado’s momentum and popularity, if anything, it just adds to his legend.”

Artists are clearly using the violent lyrical contents of their songs to lure youths into deviant practices, and are using publicity concerns from media as a step-up tool for gaining popularity. I believe that it is absolutely hypocritical for us to lament the proliferation of crimes, drugs and violence in our country while we open our front doors wide to persons who glamorize these heinous activities.

Food for thought: 1 Corinthians 10:21 clearly says that: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”

Let me reiterate that this article is not meant to condemn anyone, but to educate and enlighten us. Knowledge is power. As the WCK song says, “Either you In, or either you Out.” The choice is yours. May God grant you wisdom to choose wisely. God’s blessings on all." E-mail to a friend

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