Thursday, February 3, 2011

On The Record: Annie Paul

This is an interview i stole off the Gleaner's website of my blog mom Annie Paul tackling every thing from what is choking the Jamaican Fine Art landscape to the launch of her Coolie Snack. Just so you know Annie you can pay me in snacks and I'm still overdue for our cooking lesson. Hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chi Chi Badman Pt. 3

In Dancehall’s short history Bogle emerged to be the most prolific figure to be referred to as a dancer. His untimely death (as with the nature of untimely deaths for anyone in the spotlight) shot him up from a mare famous dancer in a certain subculture to known figure worldwide and dancehall innovator ultimately the benchmark that all other dancers in the particular genre aim for. His name is venerated in songs especially about dancing and he is fondly remembered by even those who are allegedly connected to his untimely demise. At the time his style was unique and for that period considered even a bit outrageous. Black leather, motorcycle boots, studded dog collars and thick heavy chains are usually associated with the more Sado- Masochist gay community instead of notorious Black Roses crew-member. However that was the wardrobe of choice for Mr. Gerald “Bogle” Levi, this inevitable fueled the argument that Bogle to date is the most successful Chi Chi Badman in the business. His statement “Out and bad” is argued to be more than just slang or the attitude needed to wear the gear he chose. Instead it alludes to his status of being a badman “out of the closet”.

Now there seems to be an endless stream of “Dancers” following in the path of Mr. Wakkie however, the chosen style seems more homosexual than Bogle could ever get away with. Ama’s observations are very keen as she states.

“It does not take a cryptologist to decipher the signs given off by the garish hair colour and styles, the loud earrings, the extravagantly designs and coloured clothing, and by the effeminate style of dancing and modeling of certain prominent Dancehall DJ’s and male dancers. They are gay, or at least bi-sexual. But it does not end there…  ..there is even a well known but ‘down-low’, local sub-culture of prominent Chi Chi Bad Men producers and managers in Dancehall Reggae. These ‘reducers’ and ‘damagers’.., interact mostly with the younger and more vulnerable artists, some of whom will do literally anything to succeed.”
“As a result, younger and newer Jamaican DJ’s moving in the wrong circles are now at serious risk of being propositioned for gay sex or even raped if they leave themselves carelessly. This may be one of the reasons for the lyrical fixation on homosexuality by many Dancehall DJ’s. They may have been confronted with a lot of secret gay activity in the business; may have been victimized or solicited into secret taboo relationships; and may be covering up their dual identity by verbally lashing out against gays in general.”

I find myself constantly asking where are the real men? It cannot be that this is all Jamaican women have to look forward to. Don’t get me wrong there is a vast difference between men who are a little Metro (which many women appreciate), and a Chi chi Badman. There is nothing wrong with a who takes care of himself and appearance, there is nothing wrong with a man who gets his nails done, nothing wrong with him going to the spa to get a proper facial and ingrown hairs taken care of and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a nice smelling man. We know the problems, but the important thing is how we fix this dysfunctional situation.

.... Sorry I forgot to post this -__-

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chi Chi Badman Pt. 2

Clearly, Jamaica has a growing culture of latent homosexuals of both male and female. They outwardly seek the company of the same sex, however, due to fear of societal rejection and or the promise of violence they never fully embark in an out of the closet gay relationship. Instead they opt for a more socially accepted version. Therefore, women embark in relationships with men who act and dress in a more female manner. Outwardly the ‘men’ are very in-tuned with their femininity (in the wrong way), they display very ‘delicate’ mannerisms and do everything from bleaching, eyebrow arching and even forgoing male scents opting instead for a flowery perfume instead of a woody male cologne. To fill the void women tend to take a more dominant role and while they may still dress like females their roles have now become that of protector and provider in the relationship. Financially, emotionally and at times physically they do everything in the relationship that the quintessential male figure should do, including but not limited to providing money, directly or indirectly to buy bleaching cream and Clarks and/or walking on the outside during their strolls a position usually only occupied by a true gentleman. Essentially perpetuating a ‘Mine mi fe wine mi’ culture. Something once only a certain class of females would have the audacity to admit to. But instead now songs like Clarks II Vybz Kartel proudly states;
“Gal a mine mi fi wine me she love me off,
She say she a go a town she mi say bring mi Clarks,
She say wah kinda style yu wah,
Me say bring it inna suede, leather every material fi de Boss.”

No doubt women play a destructively encouraging roll in the Chi Chi Bad man phenomena. When before the effeminate boy especially in inner-city communities would be ridiculed and at times ostracized for acting/talking like a sissy now he now has a place in the company of older women who enjoy the company of a young Shebada. They cajole and encourage these boys to act more outrageously, they discuss in the presence of these children their adult/sexual relationships and instead of a functioning adult-child relationship the boys are treated as girlfriends and provide comic relief for these older women, providing the punch line for very explicit situations. Eventually they learn to beg, either implicitly by imitating actions of the elder female or explicitly being told to do so. Thus, begins the erosion as without a real male figure to instill such values as real men work, they protect and provide for their families, these boys eventually learn the hard way there is no such thing as a free ride when they beg the wrong men.

For the uninitiated the Dancehall video light is more than just an avenue to ‘big up’ oneself and friends, it is more than just a catalog of a hype party. A video light especially one from a very well known party is a market of the flesh. Long before e-harmony and the video light acted as a community notice board advertising the best and ‘baddest’ a particular subculture had to offer. Dressed in the finest and dancing in very sexually suggestive ways is a means for one not only to cement one’s place in this subculture but also acts as a means for a ‘big man’ to see a hot girl and say ‘a who da girl deh she bad eeh.’ This may eventually lead to him knowing this girl in a more biblical sense. Therefore, one can understand why some players in this culture would bitterly oppose wasted hours of important video time spent on peacocks. Essentially the culture that sprang up of male dancers; they act in an identical manner to the women they ‘model’ and brag and big up friends and their sexual prowess. And in some cases they beg more than any woman ever could. Where the conflict arise is these Chi Chi bad boys some posing as dancers will muscle out women from the Video Light. In theory these Chi Chi Bad boys compete for the same spoils and have no qualms reminding females that in comparison to what they have to offer a pussy has no value.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Jamaica Blog Awards

Hey yow Ima let you finish reading, but The Phoenix in a Gas House is the Best Personal Blog of All Time !^_^
If you love me and love the blog please don't turn me into the Jamaican Kanye West at the upcoming Jamaica Blog Awards. Don't make have to grab the mic and be a douchebag, So vote  and save me from doing something crazy.

Or worst I will start stealing. Please don't make me angry steal crap ^_^ Just vote for The Phoenix in a Gas House for Best Personal Blog.

Jamaica Blog Awards

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chi Chi Badman Pt. 1

Some days I feel like Rip Van Winkle. I fell asleep for too long and woke up in a strange time warp where nothing makes sense. To be honest I feel like that old man shaking his fist saying,
I'm not saying these men are gay

“Hey you crazy kids turn that garbage off and pull your pants up!”
There is this phenomena set to music by Beenie Man and further defined by Dr Imani Tafari-Ama [Blood Bullets and Bodies: Sexual Politics Below Jamaica's Poverty Line, 2006, Chapter 6, pages 219-220] that I grossly need help understanding. That is, the phenomena of the Chi Chi Badman. Tafari-Ama states;

“In most every way, these Chi Chi Bad Men or bad Chi Chi Men are the ultimate binary opposition to emerge from the concrete jungles of Kingston’s urban slums… No sociologist was able to predict that the product of the most violently antagonistic and consistently anti-homosexual discourse in the ghetto- the bad boy gunmen- who are supposedly the very antithesis of anything queer, gay or funny, would suddenly and voluntarily switch their sexual orientation to become the very kind of persons that they had previously hated so passionately- batty men.”
“In effect, they have become lower class male prostitutes who service upper class gay men for top dollars.”

Usually the inner-city male is seen as the epitome of the Jamaican version of the macho man. Further more there is on other group in Jamaica so vehemently intolerant and opposed to the homosexual lifestyle than that of the Jamaican Shotter/Inner-city male. If you still subscribe the ideal male figure projected in songs from independence to present he is a very strong classically masculine figure constantly facing and overcoming the pressures of being male and underclass. Therefore, the phenomenon of the effeminate badman is an unforeseen paradox of our time. One is very amazed when observing these “men”; bleached faced, very arched eyebrows dressed in pastels that the girliest girl gravitates to because it totally expresses femininity.

If you have a penis then pink is the wrong colour for you

Not to mention the very close fitting female jeans worn strategically below the rump by these men. It gives the feeling of an advertisement of easy access rather than to convey the notion of strong, hard male protector. While generally the idea of a homosexual male is usually that of a tame, fragile, extravagantly flamboyant, RuPaul- esque male, however, today this is definitely not the case with the Chi Chi Badman and no better description could be found than that postulated by Ama in which she states;

“Make no mistake about it. These new inner-city Chi Chi Boys are not your ordinary tame and domesticated/sophisticated kind of homosexuals. These are not the poor, defenseless and victimized Jamaican homos whose cause the British gay group Outrage! likes to champion. No, these Badman Chi Chi Boys are tough young killers who can defend themselves and who will not hesitate to shoot or cut up anyone trying to criticize or mock them for their decision to embrace this still distained lifestyle.”

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 National Biennial

Today was the opening of the National Biennial Exhibition. It will run from December to March and features eighty (80) artist, thirty (30) were invited while the others gained their place through a jury system.

The fifth edition of the biennial was pretty much a snooze fest. It was hard to hear the guest speaker Ms. Kay Osborne, which in this case might have been a good thing as the bits and pieces that you did hear were pretty boring. 

Guest Speaker Kay Osborne in front of work by Phillip Thomas

As opening art shows go especially in Jamaica, it was much of the same. There was so much social masturbation and hand jobs going on, thank goodness the quality of work being shown was so potent to cut through the stink of social climbing. 

L to R: Veerle Poupey, Joseph A. Matalon, David Boxer

David Boxer

"I was the Guest Speaker at the National Gallery and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt."

In spite of  the first day foolishness there are so many great Jamaican artists and I was happy to see so many great works in one place at one time. Some I particularly liked were from Kemar Swaby Hands of the Beholder (Mixed Media), Sekani (Akindele Hickling) The Valiant Warrior, Khalfani Ra Paradise or Tasmanian Devil The Great Taboo(Wax Acrylic on Bible Pages). 

Jody Ann Macmillan- Made in Jamaica (oil on canvas)

Marlon James

Marlon James- Janus (Digital Print)

Raymond Watson

Raymond Watson- Rhythm (Stone Resin Steel)

Omari Ra
In many societies art galleries tend to be seen as being an intimidating place Jamaica is no different, however I do hope you all take the step and go see the show. Find out more about the artists you like and MOST IMPORTANTLY. BUY THE WORK FROM ARTISTS YOU LIKE.  I don't know why people think artist survive on love and weed, they need cash too. 

Gene Pearson, O.D.

Gene Pearson, O.D. - Blue Mountain (Raku, Height 59cm)