Friday, November 09, 2007

NFFAP - Not Fit For Air Play

For those of you who know me, you know I like my music and though I do have a soft spot for dancehall - yes, my village upbringing as a friend of mine likes to remind me - I do like a wide variety. Was on my way home the other day and was listening to my favourite evening programme - the DJ was playing his hip-hop section and there in the middle of the song was this American rapper telling anyone who was listening what and where he wanted to do to this girl. Now, I am by no means prudish, but I really thought that this was certainly not appropriate - neither the time nor the place! Kinda strange coming from a dancehall fanatic I guess, but yes, I strongly objected.

That said Jamaican music has certainly had it's moments in this field - from the suggestive, to the downright explicit - and it still does. A couple years ago when it got so bad and had just reached to the height of in-appropriateness I remember that the radio stations - or was it the censors ? - introduced this concept of 'not fit for airplay' . I remember too, there was a time when half or more of the top twenty that used to be played on a Friday evening was classified as such and therefore all one could listen to was the rhythm. Of course everyone knew the words and would sing along anyway. In Jamaica, you learn early what can be sung in public and thought of as 'cute' and what should best be omitted from your vocabulary. I still remember being about eight or seven and coming home from school and singing the latest hit which at the time was ' Soldering a wha di young gal want'. Needless to say my Mother was not even slightly amused and by the time she was done with me I knew what was fit for airplay in her house.

And yes, while I will still go to a dance even now and 'rail' with the rest of the crowd, there are some things I don't want to hear on my public radio station, whether it be in patois, or the best America-gansta rap. I do think that radio DJs have a responsibility to check what is appropriate and what is not, and if it isn't then yes, do not play it. The funny thing about it was that later in his programme the same DJ was playing 'Ganja Farmer' sung by Marlon Asher - he actually bleeped out the word 'ganja' during the entire song! Guess that is a lot more harmful than having children hearing at four o'clock in the afternoon about a ' ni--er f---ing a girl real good' .

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