by Jodee Brown
Embattled Dancehall superstar, Adidja Palmer, more popularly known as Vybz Kartel, has been dubbed several labels, good and bad, since his mainstream debut in 2002. However, a new nickname issued to him by a French publication may just take the cake.
French news agency, Le Monde recently did a feature piece, published on Monday, regarding Vybz Kartel and the growing skin bleaching epidemic in Jamaica. The title for said piece is amazingly titled, Le Clown White De Kingston, or when translated, The White Clown of Kingston.
The article, written by Arnaud Robert cites Kartel as the main reason for the growing skin whitening problem in Jamaica; implying that’s he led locals astray for quite a while now. Robert outlines a night a the formerly known nightclub The Building (now Club Riddim) where several girls with bleached proudly crowded the stage when Kartel entered while a boy grabs a girl as they simulate oral sex.
Robert claims that Kartel, who’s currently incarcerated on murder charges and obstruction of justice charges stemming from separate incidents last summer, triggered his own demise through misogynistic lyrical style; blaming the deejay’s Jamaican fan base for encouraging his behavior.
“In an insular argot, (fans) there singing the praises of vodka-apple, grass smoking, gangster’s capitalist and precise p***y pleasing. By expanding his legend of a thug judicial legitimacy, Vybz Kartel has become what he always claimed to be: A scarecrow which an entire country can not detach his eyes,” Robert writes.
Additionally, Robert points to the much talked about University of the West Indies (UWI) visit that Kartel made last March as another example of Kartel’s influence on Jamaican culture. Robert intimates that Jamaica has abandoned the message of “Black Progress” set by Reggae icon, Bob Marley where locals learned to appreciate their culture and color.
When Robert recently interviewed the director of the popular Jamaican film, Better Mus’ Come, Storm Saulter, the filmmaker echoed said sentiment.
“In the 1980s, the influence of the United States turned a certain pride to be black in Jamaica, and even reversed. Today, is the point where it becomes difficult to say to someone who whitens it should be proud of its color. If the Jamaican government had continued to base its exercise of power on our history of former slaves, I do not think we would find so many people to whiten the skin. It would be socially condemned. We are the children of this Americanization. We are the children of MTV, ” Saulter said.
Prior to his September 2011 arrest, Robert interviewed Kartel about accusations that he has negatively influenced Jamaican culture.
In a defiant tone, the Portmore Empire leader responded, “People’s minds are easy to control. People need to fear something. They want puzzles; they want the scandal and controversy. And I filled the mission. “
Kartel continues, “Even if I could be as white Eminem and I my hair straightener, I would stay a Black. I am black. The rest is the entertainment, the show. I’m not a political leader, religious or social. I get paid to entertain. It has nothing to see with racism, a hatred for the black race or any psychological analysis that claims that I want to be white. Vybz Kartel is smart enough to know it’s impossible. I’d have to change my DNA. And in the current state of science is impossible. “