At least one dancehall artiste has voiced concern about the mental health of Vybz Kartel. “This is not the Vybz Kartel we know … bickering on the Internet over numbers when the world has crowned this man one of the greatest in dancehall. Someone needs to check and see if he has his phone,” a part of Aidonia’s post read. Aidonia’s comments were in response to recent social-media posts made from the account belonging to the incarcerated deejay.
But Dr Geoffrey Walcott, clinical director for Psychotherapy Associates Ltd, told THE STAR that it would be premature for anyone to make assumptions about a person’s mental state based on social-media activity.
Walcott explained that in order for anyone to speak on Kartel’s mental health, one would have to first confirm if he is indeed making the posts, and then make assessments to determine changed behaviour.
“Part of the difficulty with our society is that we tend to jump to conclusions quite easily without much investigation. For you to have a mental disorder requires trained specialists to sit down and go through a carefully crafted series of interviews and evaluations. That, at most, can take up to two hours. It cannot be something you ascribe to someone because you are seeing something that’s ‘out of character’,” he said.
He continued, “If you’re having concerns, then those concerns should be voiced through the proper channels. I know the penal system has mental health practitioners who provide care for persons in their facilities and, therefore, the appropriate referrals should be made. I don’t think a public outing is the best thing to do. It carries with it high levels of stigmatisation without going through the proper process and investigation.”
Artiste manager and music consultant, Richard Roach, believes there is nothing untoward about the posts being made on Kartel’s page, as the lyrical confrontation and ‘calling out’ of artistes on social media has become the norm.
“There has been a shift. Over the past couple of years, there has been a decline of platforms to showcase that (confrontations),” Roach told THE STAR. “Of course, you have artistes ‘flinging jabs’ at each other through music in an effort to maintain that mainstream appeal and stay relevant. But one of the main platforms holding that up was Sting, where people looked forward to see who would have the best lyrical comebacks. It died out.”
Aidonia and Roach are on the same page as it relates to Kartel being leagues ahead of his contemporaries in the dancehall space, albeit they expressed it in different tones.
Aidonia wrote “If prison neva stop yuh (Kartel), how mankind fi stop u? Yuh unstoppable dawg.” Roach agreed, saying he did not think Kartel needed to defend his name and title to the younger generation.
“What he has done for the decade, more or less, has held his name and maintained his stature behind bars,” he said. “He has already made his mark on dancehall as one of the greats and nothing or no one can take that away from him – that legacy is locked.”