The Ghetto strikes back…and Satan Deconstructed…

An innovative video on class, race and other matters in Jamaica as well as a really acute quote from songwriter/singer Tanya Stephens…



When i got back to the rock from Trinidad last week the big news was a protest that had erupted on the University of the West Indies (UWI) campus. Students who owed fees were not allowed to sit final exams and a bangarang ensued. Public opinion was divided on the matter but the most creative, trenchant critique i came across was the video retort (above) to statements by a UWI student who had been interviewed on the matter. It brings to the fore many tensions simmering just a skin away from the surface regarding class, race, privilege and education. It’s well worth a watch.

And not at all related but equally provocative and nakedly intelligent was this Facebook post by singer Tanya Stephens…yes, she who wrote These streets don’t love you like i do…. Talk about Satanic verse…

I feel compelled to apologize to Satan on behalf of all humans this evening. For generations you who dont even exist have been criminalized, blamed for every thing we humans do and feel stupid about because we know it’s not in our best collective interest. I want to apologize especially on behalf of the clergy who earn so much off your name yet haven’t enough gratitude to say thanks. Let me also take this opportunity to thank you for taking the blame for the stupid shit i’ve done, and let you know it wasn’t in vain for I have learned from them and wont be needing your services anymore. I simply MUST apologize for you bearing the blame for wars and hunger, poverty. Ironically, the collective wealth of organized religion could solve these problems if redistributed with the love they profess, yet they who are righteous say you’re the bad guy… My humblest apologies!

Now if that doesn’t tell you why Tanya is one of the most innovative songwriters in Jamaica today i can’t imagine what will…she cuts to the heart of darkness at the centre of most religious belief and human endeavour…would love to know what you think….

Author: ap

writer, editor and avid tweeter

8 thoughts on “The Ghetto strikes back…and Satan Deconstructed…”

  1. Tanya Stephens is brilliant! I love her work.

    The Jamaican agnostics/atheists are coming out. Full time now.

  2. Tanya Stephens is a born poet. I’d love to meet her and pick her brain.
    Also, I was offended by this guy’s “ghetto” statement on the news recently. I thought it was unnecessary since he doesn’t know who participated in the protest (granted I don’t agree with the actions of the protestors but I don’t know anything about them and can’t classify them as ghetto). And you are right, it’s simmering under the surface, waiting to erupt. It won’t be pretty.

  3. For some reason, the ghetto video never roused the populist in me. I say this as someone who is from the common class of poor Jamaicans.

    I don’t think pointing out that we would expect a particular kind of behaviour from ghetto people is the same as saying we believe ‘all’ or ‘most’ persons of that class/group behave in that way.

    While the original interviewee’s comment seemed a bit classist on the face of it, the fact is, the only group of people in JA that we’d expect to behave in that way – protest in a raucous and disorderly manner, where the circumstances do reasonably require it – are ghetto people.

    For me, I think this video segued from the bigger issue: the inability of university students at the regions premier institution to figure out solutions to well established challenges without resorting to extremist tactics which do more collective harm than good.

    1. agree with you on the lack of creative solution finding by the students…but on ghettoes surely not everyone who happens to live in a ghetto is loud, boisterous and disorderly? thanks for visiting and commenting btw…

  4. Sweet! Tanya is a beautiful blend of brilliant artistry and sharp intellect. She stands out from the pack because of her creative courage. As for that UWI student who sought to equate lack of intelligence with living in the ghetto, he reminds me of part of a gem I learned in the ghetto at Trench Town Primary: ‘He who knows not, and knows not he knows not, is a fool; shun him’.

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