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“E- PICK “- by DJ Amber – Its Carnival Soca Season

Mckoy’s News Weekly Commentary By – Dj Amber


“E- PICK ” is a weekly Saturday post on, where Amber Crowl (Radio Personality, Host, Writer and Activist) discusses happenings in Jamaican Music, Entertainment Topics and Cultural Ideas. Amber welcomes your questions and comments on Mckoy’s News. and you can send e-mails to


Welcome to this week’s E-PICK. It’s Carnival season in the Caribbean and in Jamaica. It’s the time that Soca music lovers look forward to. And for a few weeks, Carnival music is played more often than usual at events and on the airwaves.

This is the time of the year when the traditional Carnival parties and parades take place mostly in Kingston; and of course a few do happen in other parts of Jamaica. But not everyone is into Carnival, and the things associated with it.


We saw this last week when “Selector Foota Hype’s” expressed his disapproval of pictures posted on Instagram by Miss Jamaica Universe 2014 Kaci Fennel. Now if you missed it, last week the Miss Jamaica posted a few pics of herself in Carnival costumes, on her Instagram page. And Foota re-posted the picture with comments which basically chastised her for wearing the costume. Now it’s nothing unusual for us to see women in skimpy-dressed-carnival-costumes. But what Foota Hype’s comments about Kaci Fennel dress code, sparked was, a debate on how society views Dancehall versus Carinval/Soca.


It is well-known by Jamaicans that Carnival/Soca is preferred over Dancehall by some sectors of the society. It is embraced by Sponsors & Uptowners. 


Dancehall versus Soca
Carnival in Jamaica

Indians, Chinese, African and Caucasians who live in Jamaica, all attend Carnival activities – there are rarely or never any problems for carnival events to take place. Carnival promoters are given special permission by the authorities to block of sections of roads, then take over the streets with the parade trucks, while droves of people march, wine and revel  in the streets to Soca Music from dusk till dawn.


For Dancehall events the scenario is somewhat different in many cases. Sponsors are hard to come by.


Uptowners continue to frown upon Dancehall, blaming it for some of the ills of the Jamaican society.  We mostly see the African Jamaicans at Dancehall events, as the other ethnic groups are not well represented at a Dancehall event. Generally the feeling is that the Dancehall/Reggae ( “our,” Jamaica’s local music) is “poor people ting.”


Dancehall Versus Carnival Soca
Jamaican Dancehall Dancers
Dancehall events are highly scrutinised and criticised. Unlike the Carnival Soca events permitted to be held from sun-up to sun-up; permits for Danceall sessions usually have restrict time for the events. Another interesting thing to note is that Soca/Carnival music is highlighted roughly once per year, while Dancehall/Reggae music is highlighted 12 months of the year.


So there you have an analysis of how Soca is viewed and how Dancehall is viewed in Jamaica. Is there a bias?


For me, I do understand what Foota Hype was trying to say. Though his comments did not come across in the best way, I would agree that when women dress skimpy for the Dancehall scene they are viewed as lewd or ‘slack,” while when women go on the road in broad-daylight, half-naked, in carnival costumes, they are viewed as sexy and hot. So yes, I would say that there is a bias. This along with the other things mentioned above, do point to Soca being the more ‘privileged’ genre, while Dancehall continues to struggle to gain acceptance by most of the Jamaicans in the private sector and uptown Jamaica.


Dancehall Versus Carnival Soca
Typical Jamaican Dancehall Fashion
The arguments coming from the people who do not support Dancehall range from saying, that Dancehall promotes violence and lewd behaviour, to actually calling our local music “noise”. Unacceptable, but true and this public opinion has existed for some time now.


Until the Jamaican Government adjusts the legislation which governs music, until we fix up the violent side of Dancehall Music, and cut back on the R- rated behaviour in the Dancehall – we will continue to see the public opinion as it is.


Dancehall will continue to get a fight, while Soca makes “it’s annual return to Glory” at Carnival time. The fight for the uplifting and recognition of our music on a large-scale is gonna be a journey which requires support from the Government, private sector, music industry stakeholders, and the people who enjoy Dancehall.


For now the Carnival lovers are basking in the glory of infectious Soca beats, and the good ole’ carnival vibes which like Dancehall, is embedded into our culture.


That’s it for this weeks guys. Thanks for stopping by. Join me next week for another edition of E-PICK. Don’t forget to log on to for weekly updates, like, comment and share on Facebook & twitter. You can also e-mail questions to and you can find me on social media: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @djambeririefm

Disclaimer: Editor at Large, Mckoy’s News: The views expressed on this post are that of the writer and not  that of Mckoy’s News

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