By L.K. Hewlett
St. Kitts Reporter
Some persons attending the 11th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival last Friday expressed shock and disappointment over the lyrics from popular Dancehall artiste Lady Saw.
The Jamaican singer is known for her raunchy and sometimes lewd lyrics as well as her songs about the empowerment of women and social issues that women face.
Lady Saw constantly used the word b*tch when referring to women and also referred to her breasts as Power and Fame. She addressed the women in the audience saying that they should use their vagina in order to get what they wanted from men. The performer constantly touched between her legs and made several comments about the ‘power’ that it yielded. She also encouraged women to fight with other women when in conflict over men.
The majority of the females in the audience screamed and clapped at the sexual references and explicit lyrics that the artiste spewed.
The Observer spoke to the Festival Chairman Faron Lawrence who said that as a matter of personal opinion, he did not have a problem with Lady Saw’s performance.
“I am of the view that (there are) different tastes for different people. My only concern is that you wouldn’t want kids exposed to that however I must make the point that the music festival does not have a child price. The tickets are all adult tickets so therefore parents are responsible to find out what the artistes are all about before they expose their kids to those kinds of places.
“For me it’s very similar to when there are artistes who may not be as expressive as Lady Saw but they use curse words. So the question is, do you want your kids exposed to that? From where I sit, it is an adult event and different people will have different takes on these things,” he said.
The committee head said that it was a matter of perception whether persons took what Lady Saw said and did as just entertainment or viewed it as sending a negative message. He said it was an individual choice as to how serious or far persons wanted to take the performers lyrics and behaviour.
“We all take in the same information and then come up with completely different conclusions. Some may say she is just talking about what goes on in real life or some may say she is encouraging women to do certain things. In terms of her using the word b*tch, it’s very similar to other artistes using the word N*gga, it’s a matter of how you use it. From what I heard, I don’t think she was using the word offensively but as more of a slang. But on the other hand I can understand other people having really strong feelings about the word itself because they apply it one way no matter the circumstances under which it is said.”
While at the event on Friday, The Observer asked patrons what they thought of Lady Saw’s performances and got some surprising responses. One scantily clad young woman said she thought it was a good performance but felt that the entertainer went ‘a bit far’.
“I listen to her music and she sings about more than sex and man and woman story. She has some pretty deep songs as well. If you ignore some of the raunchy lyrics you will realise that she tells women to respect themselves and not to let men abuse them. I just think tonight she forgot where she was and got a little carried away with the wutlessness,” she said.
One man said Lady Saw was encouraging women to use sex to get what they wanted in life instead of telling them to work hard and earn things for themselves. He added that on the other hand, she wasn’t saying anything that the women didn’t know about or weren’t already doing.
An older woman was approached who said she was appalled that the Music Festival Committee had brought that particular artiste to St. Kitts. She said that it was negligent of them to do so because it would appear that they were condoning what the performer was saying.
“I am all for entertainment and personal choice. If people want to buy her music, fine, they know what they buying. But to come to a festival, not a solo concert, and hear this woman telling young women to refer to their breasts as Money and Fame and their vaginas as Power, is absolutely unbelievable. If you swear a bad word they lock you up, but you could basically promote prostitution and it’s okay. The whole country complaining about how these young girls behaving and they bring in somebody who telling them that they doing something good. The festival people have to be more careful with who they bring into this country and put on display,” the woman said.
Lawrence defended the Festival Committee’s choice of artistes saying that feedback from the public about who they wanted to see perform played a large role in deciding which artistes were hired.
“The last thing a Music Festival would want to do is start censoring or start deciding based on lyrics, who should or should not be on the line up. The people make their choice about whom they want to see and you as an individual can make the choice not to go. You don’t choose to go, knowing fully well what the lyrics are about and then come and complain. The Committee decides the line-up based of several factors like who is available, who has the potential to draw a large crowd, who is affordable and who people have indicated they would like to see perform,” he explained.
Lawrence added that he could say if at any point in the future the Music Festival Committee would decide not to bring a particular artiste because of that person’s antics onstage or the content of their lyrics.