“I think the dance was getting too vulgar” —Lady G
“I don’t have anything against da daggering” —Macka Diamond
Last Saturday night in Richmond, Virginia, two dancehall starlets blessed the stage of Caribbean Mingles when Natural High Promotions brought Lady G and Macka Diamond live and direct from Kingston, Jamaica. Dipping into her deep catalog, veteran DJ Lady G dominated the stage with her ladies’ anthem “Nuff Respect” and then brought down the house with her own rendition of Jennifer Hudson’s “Spotlight.” After that it was time for Macka Diamond to hype up the crowd with hits like “Done a Ready,” “Bun Him,” and “Hula Hoop.”
Once the show was all wrapped up, Macka Diamond and Lady G took time out to reason about some serious issues now confronting dancehall music, from “daggering” to censorship. (If you don’t know, now ya know: the urban dictionary defines “daggering” as dancing and gyrating in an aggressive way depicting various sexual positions. And as of Feb 6, the Jamaican Broadcasting Commission has banned all sexually explicit or violent music from the country’s airwaves—a move widely attributed to the daggering craze sweeping the dancehall.) Lady G has a long track record of uplifting and positive music, paving the way for a new generation of conscious female artists like Queen Ifrika, while Macka Diamond’s message of female empowerment tends to be somewhat more risque, but both are strong women with equally strong views on the debate that’s divided the reggae industry. Here is what Lady G and Macka Diamond had to say on the matter: —Text and Photos by Courtney Seaborne
Macka Diamond: I don’t have anything against da daggerin. They say that this is breaking the younger generation, it’s leading them astray. We have kids too and wi haffi show likkle respect and ting. Some of it is kinda bit outrageous, but at the end of the day it’s a new era, a new time, a new millennium. Different type of kids we dealin wit’, y’know. So at di end a di day is like yuh jus haffi take a little control, but it’s really serious and they are really trying to take a stand. It has really kinda slow up di business in a certain way because a lot of tunes they stop playing on the radio.
Lady G: I think the dance was getting too vulgar. I think the dance was getting too outrageous. So they had was to put a stop on it because it was going too far and I have my kids dem and I doh want to see… It reach a stage where it start looking like they are having sex in di dance. It neva right. It nice when di man dem a do di new dance dem like di “Nuh Linga,” and all dose dances. Dat was good, dat’s creative, yuh know what I mean? I tink di daggering come about when they start talking about men not dancing with di ladies but it neva did haffi go so far still. Wi need di man dem dance wid di woman but dem neva haffi do it so vulgar still. Dem have to put a stop on it, but knowing how Jamaican people creative mi know dem a go find something else. We creative so dat cyaan really stop dancehall.
Macka Diamond: Sometimes when you on the stage, you can get hardcore, and we are artist that come from far so we know di difference or how to react on the radio. So the whole system and the whole change don’t affect people like me or even Lady G . . . people who used to the business. Instead of “daggerin” we can say something different and still not be vulgar. We know how to introduce or do our songs differently in certain places. It won’t affect us. I think it’s good for the music right now. It’s gonna save our dancehall because a lot of these songs is not really even going anywhere, and we definitely need a change to really have more uplifting songs, more stand out songs.
Lady G & Macka Diamond [in unison]: Songs that last a lifetime!