Realistically speaking, it is something that needs addressing because the reality is evidential. First, I must share condolences to the hurting family of Clive “Lizard” Williams, for whose murder Kartel is serving a life sentence.
As a youth who grew up in the same Waterhouse community (4A Dewdrey Road to be exact) before moving to Portmore, it forced me to look at Kartel’s positive early recordings.
I realized that a large sector of society is broken due to his incarceration. We are fully aware of his situation and many of us view him as a murderer, which has resulted in his incarceration.
That said, starting with irresponsible households, protocol of some sectors of society, schools, the entertainment fraternity — including radio personalities and social media platforms — an artiste is as great as people make him or her.
We all know Kartel is one of dancehall’s most prolific, controversial and phenomenal performers. His lyrical transformation from good to bad is in part credited to the media which did not gravitate to his positive freshman lyrics or played such songs.
Sure, he shares the responsibility as a brilliant lyricist to be morally conscious of his art. He chose to use his creativity in an explicit manner to secure stardom through those who consume such music.
I say that to say this: We all are entitled to a mistake and, therefore, the same to forgiveness. As such, his recordings in prison must not be an excuse to judge and condemn him, because he is only allowed to record behind bars with the approval of the correctional authorities just like Jah Cure did.
At the recent Youth View Awards Kartel won in five categories. But it was his winning Song of The Year which continued to draw much attention and led to a fellow artiste walking out of the ceremony after hearing the announcement.
The question is, why doesn’t radio feed the youths with positive songs of Kartel and others?
Obviously, he is an artiste with genuine fans. He is another youth from the ghetto who is in prison, but there are artistes who are free with the same charge but get no attention. It’s a reality that exists and is of great concern both in Jamaica and the global music industry.
See Vybz Kartel through your own spectacles and judge him if you are without flaw. He is not and never was a favourite of mine, but as a human being who continues to influence the minds of others, it persuaded me to take a look and see the good through the bad