Professor Caleb Das
English Composition 101
6 December 2011
“Music and Globalization”
What is globalization? Globalization is the integrated beliefs of certain cultures and values on a nation and/or people. In different ways, music can be a part of globalization and its process. Music can either go along and agree with globalization, or it can reject it. An example of this is shown in Lynn Hirschberg’s “M.I.A.’s Agitprop Pop” and Ilan Greenberg’s “Murder Music”. In Lynn Hirschberg’s article, she explains how famous pop icon Maya and her music relate to globalization. Agitprop pop has the ability to relate to globalization in a way that, in using her music, brings nationalism into the conversation through the way she combines different genres of music and incorporates her political views. In Greenberg’s “Murder Music”, he describes dancehall music and how it reflects a discomfort with globalization and a willingness to reject any change.
Dancehall music has the ability to make Jamaica reject globalization for fear that if they accept it, they have to accept homosexuality and that this acceptance has the power to change their national culture. So both of these types of music, though different from each other, each have a hand in forming a globalized community.
In Ilan Greenberg’s “Murder Music”, Greenberg introduces the art of the music of
dancehall and its effect on globalization. Though to some it may not be a beautiful art because of the meaning behind the words and the music, it is a form of living for many people. Greenberg describes dancehall music as “a beatheavy, lyrically dense, energetic, and synthesizerdriven music that has much in common with American hiphop” and is
“accused of fomenting viscous antigay violence.” Dancehall music in Jamaica is a way of being antigay. People prove that they are not gay by listening to and participating in dancehall music and concerts. In such concerts, their heterosexuality is exaggerated and some people attend wearing things like “genderbending jewelry and accessories.” And though dancehall targets homosexuals, it is not limited to them. The men and women of
Jamaica, even if straight, try to prove their heterosexuality in order to survive. An example of this is of men who do not sit next to each other on a public bus for fear that they will brush up against each other accidentally and portray themselves as gay and therefore endanger themselves to the attacks made by antigay extremists.
The hatred of these dancehall participants towards homosexuals stem from a point in history during slavery and thus makes them fear globalization and acceptance of homosexuality. In Jamaica, and other parts of the world, men were raped as a form of punishment and as a way to keep slaves in line, and so the relationship to homosexuality is thought of negatively. Dancehall reflects Jamaican culture in that they do their best to make sure that they have the most ‘straight’ and heterosexual environment as possible. In dancehall, it is the only environment in which a person can feel protected, where they can be themselves and not have the fear of being labeled as gay. In a society in which homophobia takes precedence over all other fundamental issues, it makes them feel
united to agree on it together. Everyone in the community has and accepts the idea that gays are bad people and that they need to be killed. The influence of music, in addition to the influences of evangelical churches that claim homosexuality is wrong, magnifies the homophobic ideas of dancehall. And because the dancehall has become so a part of their culture, Jamaica is now at a cultural crossroad. All other countries in the world are progressing while Jamaica stays stuck in a state of confusion and victimization. They come to a point where they have to make a decision to either give up their national identity and progress with the