Following her teary-eyed revelation on Saturday of how one of the biggest artists in Dancehall ruthlessly beat her with a piece of lumber, whilst she was still a newbie in the industry, Macka Diamond has thanked Tanya Stephens for giving her the courage to tell her own story.
Macka’s revelation, is only a drop in the bucket, as the scourge of gender-based violence in Jamaica continues to reign unabated.
The Cucumber artist’s case which took place in the 1990s when she was still known as Lady Mackerel, is among many other instances of men beating women in Jamaica, even in recent times.
In March and April of 2020 for example, 700 new cases were reported to the Victim Support Unit of the Ministry of Justice.
Macka said she got the courage to relay her story following Tanya Stephens’ account of her own beating and rape at the hands of another big name in Jamaican music, 30 years ago.
Based on Macka’s account, the artist who hung out at the same studio as her, had accused her of cozying up with his arch-rival and “chatting him”, when he cornered her the day he administered the beating, aided and abetted by a throng of about 20 of his ‘yes-men’.
She said that she had established a good working relationship with her abuser’s arch-rival as he was generous and supportive towards her whenever she sought his assistance with dubplates, while her abuser was stingy and unhelpful at all times.
“When mi walk guh inna di studio mi si some whole heap a tuff face man… suh mi si dis big whole entourage a look pon mi like mi do suppm wrong. Suh mi a seh: ‘a weh mi do?” Macka recalled.
“Bout 20 man because di studio eva full up a man enuh and di man dem a look pon mi weird, an di gate a one a dem big high gate deh weh meck outta iron. And mi just si gate lock behind mi – ‘blap’”, she said.
She said the intimidation preceded the physical assault by the artiste, which came almost immediately.
“An di same time di artiste walk out, (saying) ‘hey gyal yuh deh round a studio wid artiste weh mi nuh like an a call up mi name’, and mi a she: ‘a weh yuh a talk bout? A dub plate mi guh look and mi beg yuh dub plate all di while an yuh nuh waan gi mi’”,” the now 51 year old said.
She said the battering that came next was not only one of the most humiliating experiences of her life, but was even more disturbing was that every single one of the artist’s goons stood watching and cheered him along, whilst jeering her and telling her that she deserved the beating.
“Di artiste neva waan hear nuttn. Yuh know weh di artiste do? Him pick up one big piece a board and when him done bruck it up pn mi inna mi back left, right – di artiste weh oonu love and every day oonu si di artiste and people a run him dung… di man teck di board and lick mi right back through di iron gate – right through di gate,” she relayed, as she burst out in tears.
“Oh God,” she wailed. “Di artiste bruck up di board. And di big ol 20 man dem stand up deh… mi seh mi couldn’t believe it…all mi coulda do a run,’” the mother of one added.
Macka, whose given name is Charmaine Munroe, said that the artist beat her so badly that even the board he was using broke across her back, which still bears the mark.
Broken and battered, she said she went to the nearest police station to report the matter, but found herself on the horns of another dilemma, as she found out then and there that the station commander who took her statement, was the uncle of her abuser’s arch-rival. This in and of itself, she felt, would give the impression that she was siding with the abuser’s arch-rival.
She said the station commander identified himself as her abuser’s rival’s uncle and said that “yuh haffi lock him up”.
She said out of fear for her life, and to protect the reputation of the artist’s manager, whom she respected and loved dearly, she later took the hush money offered by the artist’s manager and ‘called it a day’.
“Even him a guh vex wid mi when mi talk, because a him beg me not to say nothing,” Macka said.
Macka Diamond who changed her name from Lady Mackerel to in 2005 worked with several producers over the years including King Jammys, Dave Kelly of Madhouse, Steelie and Clevie, Bobby Digital and Patrick Roberts of Shocking Vibes.
While using the moniker Lady Mackerel, she recorded several songs for a few produces including Cry Over Man in 1998 and Love The Best on the Dengue Fever riddim in 1995, for Shocking Vibes; Run Him in 1997, Miss Maddy Maddy and Pretty Looks and Duppy done in 1993 for King Jammys and Miss Getty Getty for Digital B also in 1993. She also recorded Dutty Bungle for Junjo Lawes and Garfield Dixon in 1998.
Macka Diamond though expressed some reservations about coming public about her ordeal, as she feared reprisals.
“Right now mi can come offa di live today and mi mi nuh know wha a guh happen to mi. But mi haffi talk because mi neva talk because I was paid not to talk. That how serious it is. I was paid not to talk,” she reiterated.
She said that her abuser since then has chit-chatted with her on occasions but has never apologized for his behavior or mentioned the incident at all. In fact, she says, like a true reprobate, since the incident he has even asked her to come have sex with him whilst on an overseas tour several years ago.