Ryan crime report: Soca music breeding criminals

Selwyn Ryan – March 26, 2013

Selwyn RyanSoca, dancehall and hip-hop music are said to be influencing youths into criminal behaviour. This is according to a report by the Ryan Committee on Youth at Risk. The report was laid in Parliament by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Friday. The committee’s report said while it was impossible to draw a definitive correlation between violence or explicitness of lyrics and the level of criminality among youth, the lyrics of 2012 soca hits “tend to support the idea of a contemporary youth culture that is very consistent with the rebellious behaviour of previous generations of youth.”

It added “There is little doubt that American (hip-hop) and dancehall music have been having their impact on Trinidad’s young black males.” The report said a survey of 50 students in two schools revealed that 81 per cent of the students preferred dancehall and hip-hop music. The author of the survey, Marc Jackman, believes the statistics “confirm the powerful effects of dancehall and hip hop music on perceptions of sexuality and an association of violent behaviour in Trinidad.” The 436-page report said there was a need to examine the relationship between the current musical culture of youth and its relationship to violence and criminality. It also pointed out that the alcohol or rum themes in chutney songs in the past decade had “been seen as responsible for the perpetuation of crime in the society, more so, domestic violence in the Indian home and community.”

In its recommendations the Ryan Committee said the media should become a major partner in a “music for change” campaign, adding that the media have a crucial role to play as an influential institution on the young people. It said the media should be invited to provide suggestions and interventions. Another recommendation was that the Pan in School Co-ordinating Council should be encouraged to pursue the use of panyards as extension of schools and community-based centres to learn steelband music, especially in disadvantaged communities. Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas was unavailable for comment when the T&T Guardian attempted to reach him yesterday.

But 50th Anniversary of Independence Calypso Monarch Roderick “Chucky” Gordon said: “I would agree with the point of dancehall and hip-hop music. A lot of the topics and areas dealt with in dancehall and hip-hop speak to the objectification of women, the value of money and materialism. Crime is a by-product of the love of money so these music forms tend to influence the psyche of the young people listening to them— topics based on sex, money, clothes, cars and women. “I disagree, though, that soca music falls within this ambit as this music deals primarily with the festival that is Carnival. You may have songs with sexual connotations, but that is what we’ve always had in calypso music. So, would you say as well that calypso of the 60s-80s influenced crime?

“If one wishes to find a link between music and crime, one needs to look at the development of the popular urban market, from the early 90s. The advent of the urban music caused young people to be influenced by hip-hop and rap music. Youth was also exposed to, and influenced by cable television. It was from there one saw the lack of love and depreciation of soca and calypso music.” National Calypso Monarch 2011 Duane O’Connor said: “I wouldn’t say calypso or soca influences criminal behaviour in young people. Most of the soca music speaks about love and relationships. It is a totally out of place, and an erroneous statement to link the message of soca music to that expressed in dancehall and rap music, and the music influencing criminal behaviour.

“In the old days, people like Sparrow and Duke would sing spicy calypsoes, cleverly using double entendre. Artistes like SuperBlue, Machel (Montano), Destra and Denise Belfon have all only sung about love. Look at SuperBlue this year. His song is a sweet party song that has nothing to do with violence. For Carnival I watched my son and about 300 children under 11 years old just jumping and screaming, and enjoying Fantastic Friday. You tell me what part of that is encouraging violence.

“Other music genres like rap or hip-hop do induce violent thoughts and action, and we definitely don’t have none of that in our soca music.” —With reporting by Peter Ray Blood


6 thoughts on “Ryan crime report: Soca music breeding criminals”

  1. Ryan is spot on I dont listen to these types of musical art forms for the reason he suggested but moreso because it is simply not edifying. Chutney has degenerated with more glorification of the rum and bad woman culture. Even huge prize money for such blatant abuse of human intelligence, soca is no different. What Ryan fail to mention is gangstar rap that glorifies murder etc. There is a whole host of American artiste on this junket heading nowhere but into the empty minds of our youths. This youth culture fuel by rebellion is infecting all youths even the good ones from strict families.

    I applaud the effort to focus on source rather than symptoms.

    1. I disagree with Ryan about the Soca breeding violence. danchall and gangstar rap are the culprits. Soca is listened to for about 3 months of the year and the other 9 months is ja, rap, rock, indian music, and different other variety of american music. The problem with Ryan and the older generation cannot stand the fast pace soca. Tell me how does jump and wave promotes violence. Now if he said soca song leads to sexual promoscuity, you can debate that. But so does all other genre of foreign music which dominate our air waves. HE TOTALLY WRONG

  2. http://elev8.com/799632/dr-ben-carson-family-breakdown-is-the-source-of-innr-city-violence/?omcamp=EMC-CVNL

    They say ,”a mind is a terrible thing to waste .”
    Sometimes ,I wonder , when I see the result of our efforts ,in educating Afrikan folks. Let’s just say , that pandering should be the 11 th sin, and the obvious ,self hatred ,that is daily perpetuated across media circles , finally proves ,that White Massa ,in many respects, was successful, in achieving his initial objective, centuries after slavery allegedly ended.
    As for the characters under review,their numerous escapist observations ,are basically geared towards ‘victims blaming,high octain , publicity seeking ,mantra,’and so they choose to shift responsibility for concrete social action , by our powers that be.
    Sadly however , we in the know , are fully aware, as to the consequential backlash ,that will of necessity ,result from most of their , neo medevial , draconian proposals, don’t we?
    Even with Hiltler, and some of the other ,diabolical European mass murderers in the world , never would a white intellectual,regurgitate some of the utter nonsense ,we hear from these elite characters.
    The record would similaly show , that history is laden ,with the barbaric acts ,by other ‘Euro – wannabe-Afrikan dispising -folks,’ many of us ,are stuck with across the globe,but the facts are , they too ,would sweep their savagery under the table , while using all types of opaque , phony cultural excuses ,to justify them.
    In T&T , por ejemplo ,some too ,choose to point fingers , ‘at the other ,’for all the ills of their society, and likewise ,beat their chest in glee, when a member of aforementioned ,’Kinky head nation ,’say’s something atrocious/ reduculous , they cannot do publicly ,due in great measure ,to political correctness.
    I remain an optimist, that good sense would eventually prevail, and ‘where you at,’my fellow citizens who care ,on these observations?
    It’s a beautiful life, Si?

  3. If these guys are being paid handsomely to produce that report, then I say the government has wasted on taxpayers money to come out with that conclusion. Every generation where culture change differs from the previous, there is always the urge and possible tendency to claim the change in the music is responsible for the behavior. In my day, rock-n-roll was the culprit. Elvis Presly is the iconic figure that can never die till this day thousands still want to look and dress like him, whilst those who were accused of using his music to contaminate the youths are now doing the same to today’s youths. Music is an expression of the current reality. Why have’nt they come to the conclusion that if bad behaviour was arrested and dealt with 40 to 50 years we would have had a different outcome? Our great political leader and father of the nation represented the area which we now condemn as un-controllable for all of his political life and up to today there is still no police station there, the infrastructure is fragmented and discipline is hardly a respected word in that community. Furthermore, people use that word to condemn behaviour as well as attitude. We do not need titled individuals to tell us that. What we need is someone with the guts and forthrightness to come forward and make a difference with changes that understand the true needs of the residents who occupy and come into contact with the crime culture of the surrounding neighborhoods. I have a problem with the make up of the committee. they are all titled individuals who will never find themselves voluntarily walking the streets or even driving through the streets of those communities. Did they include the good citizens who have to endure everyday living in their search for answers? Arent people who live in better communities listening and partying to the same music? Methinks (I stole a phrase from Neal), that if they are serious about finding answers, they should have invited, the professional and semi-professional people from that area to get first hand knowledge of life in the communities. The answers are just too simplistic to what is needed in the neighborhoods to carry any well-meaning conclusions. I think most bloggers could have come up with better arguments than those presented.

  4. Bizarre statement from the goodly Dr.Ryan about soca music. What should we listen to, death metal?
    Just a thought- what if it had been Sat (or any Indo) who had made this remark– what would the reaction have been?

  5. Astute observation , brother Ravi. The sad irony ,is that many who are presently grinning from ear to ear, just like constipated Hyaenas , since this , and similar ,erroneous conclusions, somehow bolster their historically idiotic claims ,and disgusting pursuits ,are unaware , that in many cases ,these sly social scientists, and neo imperialist , elitist ,fast irrelevant ,pseudo intellectuals ,feel’s just as condesendingly contemptuous , about them , and equally blame , well known aspects of their culture ,for every social foible ,and or ill,they exhibit ,on a daly basis.
    It is just that in many cases , said ,’yellow belly cowards,’lack the guts / ‘cohones,’to utter them publicly, for fear of the backlash that might result.

    Tell you what ,it was the great Latin Columbian literature Nobelist , in Gabriel Garcia Marquez , who once said ,and I quote,”Un hombre sólo tiene derecho a mirar a otro hacia abajo, cuando ha de ayudarle a levantarse.”
    This translated , simply means:- “A man only has the right to look down at another when he helps him to lift himself up.”
    Your call guys!

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