“Browning” forced to disembark Bus …………..plus the K12 matter

The male skin bleaching phenomenon seems to have not gone down well with a set of female passengers on a coaster bus that plies the Spanish Town to Half Way Tree route today August 19, Black Friday for the Jamaica Public Service Company as they are facing a backlash and possible Black Friday as well for gays as a dubious email said to be sent from a group calling itself K12 demanding the beatings of gays in Jamaica.

While not being able to fully confirm if the gentleman who was the butt of ridicule is actual a member of the MSM community the sequence of events seems to hint to such as he never responded to the taunts and his demeanour was quite the opposite and not unique to the typical aggressive Jamaican male response to an accusation such as being a homosexual.

Typical coaster bus interior

This is the second such incident on a bus while in transit separate and apart from crews and loaders in the occassional squabble with members of the community due to profiling or persons.

Brawl on Coaster Bus from Portmore … man accused of riding another’s ass while in transit, was the previous post that highlighted an incident earlier this year in Portmore and also an crew to crew incident in Half Way Tree as well with another Spanish Town coaster where a gay joke almost went horribly wrong.

Gay joke goes wrong … bus personnel escapes thrashing

The bus this morning came to a stop just a few yards from the Sherwin Williams Paint shop office on the Kingston bound side of the dual carriageway as the arguments between the man and passengers heated up, the “very brown” man who also has tattoes on his arms, neck and face was well dressed in tight jeans and a obviously unisexual t-shirt that may have sparked curious looks from the passengers especially the protesting women who uttered references to same in the arguments I could have gleamed. This business of profiling is high on the agenda for many as usually when there is alot of public discourse on homosexuality the examination metre rises and any suspicious look, act or speech is judged severely or heavily scrutinised leading to persons forming their own conclusions. The soft spoken man though very muscular realised he would not have won the argument so he retreated as quickly as he could while onlookers jeered or laughed or  chased him away with the colourful Jamaican badwords with the battyman addage included.  Unlike the gentleman on the aforementioned linked story about the brawl where he was prepared to create a scene while the bus was in transit in defending himself this incident the bus came to a complete stop as passengers seemed to have agreed that he should disembark, maybe some thought for his own safety he should it was difficult to hear the actual discussion as my vehicle was some yards away from the bus parked at an angle on the inside lane thus obstructing left lane traffic. Thankfully it ended peacefully in a sense as it lasted for about ten minutes at the time when the bus stopped obviously there was some exchange before that juncture.

(not the actual bus) – Example of a typical former NTC Coaster bus, they still keep the Blue colours but notice the dark tinting, it is under those tints that very strong allegations come forth that school girls sometimes willingly go to be involved sexually with bus crews and other men, the transport authority has since attempted to curve the tinting practice.

Since the whole public discourse on homosexuality as mentioned before, homelessness and the problematic JFLAG tolerance ad campaign with TVJ (see the response to the ad below)

As for the suspicious email that was reportedly sent claiming a threat here was the original hint as widely circulated by JFLAG operatives which was to have originated at the above photoed mall, were we all duped and who is doing the duping???

It reads:

Email received from an ally warning of a proposed homophobic attack:

“What is happening..? Me a see too much Battyman and Lezbian in a HWT and Barbican, how the fuck dem a move so daring!? Dem naw hide nuh more..man a look man and gal a suck out gal tongue In a public, the upcoming generation a see dem ting ya an a get confused! We need to take a stand..we need to start beat dem again and run the waste material dem.

Bargain Mall has become the main hang out spot for them, we need to take that step in getting back our country.. send this BC and let us Unite!! On 19/8/11 K12 group will be beating all Homosexuals that visits the Bargain mall! We are taking back our country step by step! Play your part and Re-Broadcast to all “straight” contacts if u wish to participate contact the K12 unit at 372-0290.. –K12– –K12– –K12– –K12– Make K12 apart of your name if your against homosexuality.”

See what you make of it, in the meantime several reported incidents have occurred in the Half Way Tree area and in Central Village which may or may not be related to this K12 threat, as at this post many including myself were questioning the validity of the threat and both numbers listed in the message when called are not answered or go to voicemail, due to the difficulty in confirming such attacks it is hard to track but we will see what we can make of it.

more original audio commentry

Peace and tolerance


Down low life in the Gleaner: Is my fiancé gay?

pic from http://chroniclesofdownlowbrotha.blogspot.com/


Doctor, I am a 32-year-old woman and I recently met a wonderful Jamaican man. But I would like your medical opinion about him. I am foreign by birth, but have lived here for several years.

He has now proposed to me, and we plan to get married later this year. We are talking about having three children, and having a marvellous life together. Sex with him is great, though he does not seem to want it as often as I do.

I am currently having a wonderful time making arrangements for the wedding, and inviting relatives, etc. He tries to help me, but he is very busy, particularly in the evenings.

What worries me is that he has quite a lot of male friends, who don’t appear all that friendly towards me. He was talking to one of them on thephone the other day, and I am almost sure that his friend made some sort of derogatory comment about me.

Also, I heard him say ‘I’m looking forward to being “down low” with you,’ or something like that. Later, when I asked him what ‘down low’ meant, he just laughed and would not tell me.

But my main concern is his lack of sex drive. Do you think I can help him increase it when we are married?


No, I do not. Women often think that marriage will somehow ‘change’ a man in some way, but it rarely does. Certainly, there is no likelihood that getting married will ‘pep up’ his sex drive, and make him more enthusiastic about having intercourse with you.

Another point that concerns me is this. You heard him use the phrase ‘down low’ to his male friend.

Presumably you are not aware of this, but in some parts of Jamaica, and indeed in the United States, the phrase ‘down low’ has a special meaning. It refers to the situation where a man marries a woman (or perhaps lives with her) in order to achieve ‘respectability’, but secretly sees other men for sex.

So ‘down low sex’ is a homosexual activity practised by a married man who is pretending to be heterosexual.

Now I do not wish to be unfair to your fiancé. It is just possible that he used the words ‘down low’ to mean something else. After all, those two words could refer to a meeting place that is further down a hill, or something like that.

But we must take into consideration the fact that he apparently doesn’t have much interest in having sex with you. Also, he seems to have a lot of male friends who don’t like you very much. And it sounds as though he spends his evenings with them. All of this appears to add up to potential trouble.

Therefore, I do not think you should go ahead with this wedding until the two of you have seen an experienced marriage counsellor. And maybe your first move should be to ask your fiancé to tell you honestly whether he is going in for ‘down low sex’.



This letter writer sounds too simplistic for me to be a real write-in query but be that as it maybe or not the media is at it again on gay issues since the recent Charter of Rights uproar and the ignoring of discrimination of sexual orientation coverage from the document which is to replace section three of the constitution.

The response seems guarded at first but the speculation that the male friends may be a problem in the future without any further particulars provided is too speculative for me, after all Jamaican men in general are homosocial, if she even had a problem such as what is purported here why would she write to a newspaper column about this just like that? couldn’t she have consulted her family and so on or a trusted friend or a private consultation?

I always doubt these letters as presented to us sometimes in the press with these simplistic queries that don’t add up in some cases and even more far out responses.

What you think?

Peace and tolerance


Donna Hope on Masculinities in Jamaican Dancehall


Donna Hope, senior lecturer in reggae studies at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, knows more about these confusing shifts in dancehall fashion than anyone else in the world. She recently wrote a book called Man Vibes: Masculinities in Jamaican Dancehall, which is an in-depth study of the thought processes that govern the behavior of the average fashion-conscious dancehall star. Let’s learn more about all of this.

Vice: So dancehall stars are bleaching their skin and dressing like the gay guys they’ve spent their entire lives being afraid of?
Donna Hope:
Since the turn of the millennium we’ve seen men’s fashion in the dancehall scene move from being a very hardcore representation of masculinity to something far more flamboyant. These days dancehall artists and fans are a lot more poised and pay more attention to how they dress.

Anything in particular?
They make a big fuss about how they do their cornrows, for example, while some have even started fashioning their eyebrows into different patterns and wearing clothing that, not so long ago, would have been considered almost gay. Pastel pinks and peaches have become very popular, as have wonderfully patterned shirts and pants that are what we call tights—very close fitting to the male body. These are things that traditionally in dancehall have been sort of anathema to how a hardcore male should look. Shoes are often the same color as the shirts, say purple or orange, and this getup is coupled with a lot of intense jewelry. Body piercings and tattoos are all becoming very popular with men in dancehall. This is far removed from traditional views of how men from working-class backgrounds in Jamaica should look.

Where did this glamorous and somewhat effeminate styling come from?
The dialogue is more between dancehall and the fashion houses of Paris and “high fashion” than it is with another black music, such as American rap. It is a more European influence. It has a lot to do with people wanting to look beyond their actual physical location and wanting to prove that we can hold our own on a runway in Europe.

How does that tie in with dancehall’s association with virulent homophobia? How does the scene settle with seeing its stars with belly-button rings and tight trousers?
These potential clashes in dialogue are part of what makes dancehall so special. Dancehall has gained a lot of notoriety in the international arena for its extreme and graphic denunciations of male homosexuality. But at the same time, these new waves of dancehall fashion seem to borrow from the impulses that speak to a gay man. From the perspective of my own work it is not a clash because it projects the same kind of dualities we find throughout dancehall.

I don’t exactly follow.
Men who are hardcore can be that way while at the same time borrowing from influences that are considered far removed from “hardcore.” A hardcore man walking around in a pastel t-shirt and orange pants with a hairstyle more elaborate than that of the woman he is walking beside, with piercings and chunky jewelry, can remain hardcore because of the way he carries himself. It’s in the attitude, the talk, the walk, the screwface—the combination of all these elements presents a very conflicted picture of masculinity to outside observers. It has also led me to question where the Jamaican concept of masculinity is heading.

So essentially it comes down to the old “if you are hard enough to dress gay you must be pretty hard” mind-set?
Well, it should be noted that not all people involved in dancehall are dressing this way, but there has been a surge in the number of people who look like this. Also, male dancers have become a far bigger part of dancehall culture—far bigger than they were a few years ago.

Which musicians are leading the charge?
Vybz Kartel is currently one of dancehall’s biggest artists, and he is going to great lengths to present himself in this way—with piercings, tattoos, and skin bleaching. This has been the trajectory since the late 90s. Elephant Man, as part of the group Scare Dem Crew, had a song, “Bad Man Nuh Dress Like Girl,” which included the lyric “We nuh bore nose an we nuh bleach face an we nuh wear drop curls.” But then he actually started doing all of these things himself. He did indeed become colorful and flamboyant, with piercings and intricate hairstyles, but back then hardcore meant dark clothes. Wearing bright colors was not even up for discussion. Vybz Kartel is a representation of this shift we see now, and it is in part his dress sense that has brought him so much attention and made him so popular.

You mentioned the skin-bleaching issue, and Vybz Kartel is one of the main characters in this debate. I can only assume that for such a racially proud genre, the idea of dancehall stars bleaching their skin is as controversial as effeminate dress, if not more so.
The issue of skin bleaching at present is now thrown into the public domain by artists like Vybz Kartel who are lightening their skin and publicly admitting to it and in a sense suggesting it as a good thing to do. Vybz Kartel has been advocating what we call cake soap in Jamaica, a type of soap used especially by poor Jamaicans as a part of laundry. It’s a very rough type of soap, cut from slabs and sold, and the blue version of it has become immortalized by Vybz Kartel because he has suggested that his skin looks the way it does now because he has been washing it with blue cake soap.

What does the public have to say about the trend?
There have been huge amounts of discussion about this, and it is something I looked at some years ago in my work—the way that men have started this skin bleaching that had previously been seen as something women did. We already knew that women lighten their skin with all sorts of products to hide blemishes and so on. In terms of dancehall, not so many years ago it would have been something far, far removed from anything a man would ever do, but now it’s very popular among men.

Over-the-counter soaps and lighteners don’t sound so awful.
People use a range of products to do this, from household bleach to soaps bought from informal vendors that contain too high a chemical level for the customer’s skin. Then there are other products, like corn meal and curry powder, a condiment added to the skin in a paste form. And when you ask these people why they are doing it, they give the reasons you might expect: Everybody is doing it, it makes them look better, it makes them stand out, and so on.

Does this reflect any lessening of the extreme homophobia in the genre?
Dancehall has a preoccupation with what men do, and as a result there are very strong feelings about any act that transgresses what men are supposed to do or what is associated with traditional masculinity. In terms of homosexuality, there has been a retreat in dancehall from the “murder and kill and burn out of existence”-style lyrics. But you may get softened versions of that. Again, remember that this resentment toward transgressors of masculinity does not come from dancehall, but from wider Jamaican culture and traditional feelings of gender codes and culture that were then taken and hardened by dancehall into these harsh lyrics.

Does it translate for non-Jamaicans who listen to this music?
The response recently to such lyrics outside Jamaica has resulted in far more subtlety—you would have to understand lyrics of a very contorted and metaphoric nature now to even know that they were discussing male homosexuality.

So these rappers are using language to convey things that are not so obvious!
Yes, there has been a change in how these lyrics are used. Now we have a lot of lyrics name-dropping Vybz Kartel, everybody is calling for him, he is the figure people love to hate, and there are also songs about society and the things people want to see happening and so on. It is rare to hear someone talking explicitly about male homosexuality. The extreme and graphic denunciation of homosexuality that we saw so much of in the early 21st century has evaporated.

What are going to be the next big looks, do you think?
Well, there are a lot of different things people are doing now: false lashes, painted nails… But it’s hard to see any creeping signal of a move toward a new major style. What I am watching, though, is what Vybz Kartel is doing. He is so locked on transgressing all the codes of polite behavior in Jamaica and being very defiant about it. I want to see what he will do in the next 12 months. There are rumors in circulation that he has a tongue piercing—though piercings have become more accepted, men with tongue piercings are generally considered to have gone “over the edge” and to have crossed a social boundary.