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A Study into the Negative Influence of Dancehall Music on the Morals and Sexual Behavior of Teenagers

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A study into the negative influence of dancehall music on the morals and sexual behavior of Teenagers


The negative effect of dancehall music on the morals and sexual behaviour of teenagers in Mandeville.

By: Kristina Russell

ID#: 18075276


According to Music in our life (2005)music is sound arranged into pleasing or interesting patterns. It forms an important part of many cultural and social activities. People use music to express feelings and ideas. Music also serves to entertain and relax. O'Donnell (1999)states that responses to music are able to be observed.Music influences humans both in good and bad ways. These effects are instant and long lasting. He continues to opine that music is thought to link all of the emotional, spiritual, and physical elements of the universe. It can also be used to change a person's mood, and has been found to cause like physical responses in many people simultaneously. Music also has the ability to strengthen or weaken emotions from a particular event such as a funeral.

Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican popular music and it is a descendant of roots reggae music. Its genesis in the political turbulence of the late 1970s and became Jamaica's dominant music in the 1980s and '90s (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011).A sparser version of reggae it also speaks on politics and religion but not as direct as roots style, which at the time was associated with the Rastafarian movement, and which had dominated much of the 1970.Dancehall music and reggae are sometimes referred to being the same, however King(2008) indicates that Dancehall like Reggae is message music. The significantly different message (its materialistic outlook) is because of the era in which it was formed. Jamaica gave birth to Reggae music in a gentler ("cow-towing") though no less oppressive time, the language was therefore revolutionary but not so violently irreverent. The privileged sons and daughters of Jamaica in politics, business, academia, religion etc. had done by then irreparable damage to the prospects of rapid upward mobility for the lowest classes.Salewicz and Boot (2001) describe dancehall as "the marriage of digital beats and slackness: that moment in music in which lyrics about guns, women's body parts and men's sexual prowess come together...". In recent research (Hill, 2010) studies indicates that Jamaican popular culture has been greatly influenced by the music of the dancehall through the music of several artists such as Lady Saw, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer and most recently Movado and VybzKartel. The messages within the music portrayed in the dancehall emphasizes the flaunting of masculinity and virility and also celebrate the female's ability to "keep her man" through the fulfillment of his sexual desires.

The World Health Organization defines adolescence as the period between 10 and 19 years of age and refers to people aged 15-24 as 'youth'. Adolescence involves rapid physical growth and development, physical, social and psychological maturity, but not all at the same time. Recent studies (Crawford,2010) shows that's adolescents' psycho-social response to dancehall genre has become a national and public health concern, and has raised policy debate in terms of adolescent's sexual and violent behavior (with respect to pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STI) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).According to Watson some of these dancehall lyrics promote immoral acts.The artistes fail to realize is that they are role models and teenagers listen to the lyrics and actually doing what is said. Teenagers are participating in sexual activities even more than adults.

Statement of the Problem

The study intends to highlight teenagers'morals and sexual behaviour being influenced by dancehall music. This research will be taken place from October 2011 to march 2012. The survey will be done around the Mandeville area with the use of Questionnaires and observation during a one month period.

Purpose of study

The researcher became personally interested in this topic, as there are numerous debates and questions in 'the air' that captivated the researcher's interest. It come to the knowledge of the researcher that teenager are highly influenced by dancehall music. This research is geared at highlighting the extent to which teenagers' morals and values are shaped and molded by this genre of music.

The different things that teenager hold in high regards, such as how rich you have to be and how quickly, the number of girlfriends one has to have in order to be a 'man' and how popular you have to be, are all or mostly conceived through the lyrical content of dancehall music.

Research Hypothesis

The researcher intends to focus on the following hypothesis:

1. The effect of dancehall music is affecting the morals of our teenager.

2. Violent behavior is a result of dancehall music influence

3. Dancehall music is triggering early sexual behavior in teenager

4. Students who are at- risk are prone to the negative influence of this music genre

5. Teenagers view dancehall artist as role models


The educational value of this study is to alert readers on what is happening on the music scene pertaining to teens in Jamaica. It will make the teens more aware of what is happening around them and help them to prevent the effects of popular music on teens. Therefore, they will not find themselves engaging in these behaviors as they will probably listen to decent lyrics or make a stance in warning the music industry. It will cause the music industry into promoting more conscious lyrics. The cultural educators in Jamaica will benefit also as more persons will be interested in participating in the development of the industry.

The study is aimed at putting forth the effect of dancehall music on the lives of teenagers today.

Definition of terms

Teenagers-A teenager, or teen, is a young person whose age is between thirteen and nineteen (13-19). They are called teenagers because their age



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