We Need to Stop Whitewashing Dancehall Music in 2016

FUSE TV - We Need to Stop Whitewashing Dancehall Music in 2016

It’s time to make one thing clear this year: “tropical house” is not equivalent to dancehall. Throughout 2015 and now well into 2016, dancehall has become increasingly whitewashed as certain pop stars have taken influences from the genre's sound without crediting its origin. Being a proud Jamaican, I'm honestly sick of the whitesplaining that continues to come from people whose idea of our country probably doesn't extend past sipping rum punch on a beach while getting their hair braided.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the popular music you’re hearing on the radio didn't originate in Europe—there are a handful of countries in the Caribbean impatiently tapping their feet as they wait for major artists to recognize their musical worth. As much as we’ve accepted the fact that it’s okay for genres like rock 'n’ roll to be fronted by white artists despite being originated by black ones, it should always be necessary to treat music with respect. It’s completely fine to borrow a handful of musical aesthetics, just as long as you know and acknowledge where it’s coming from.

Tropical house was first intended as "kind of a joke" by its founder, Australian DJ/producer Thomas Jack. The sound picked up speed in the house/dance world thanks to Kygo, Felix Jaehn and Autograf. Soon after, the sound flooded into mainstream pop. In a late 2015 interview, Jack admitted he's become annoyed with what the genre has turned into. 

“Tropical house was two years ago, y’know?" he said. "Then a lot people started copying off it and started changing the style of it. People would go grabbing, like, '90s pop songs and putting fuckin’ flutes over them." 

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