Emboldened by Reggae, Jamaican Writers Bust Out

The story comes at you with hurricane force and an irresistible title, "How to Beat a Child in the Right and Proper Way." It is the creation of the Jamaican writer Colin Channer, who is also the editor of "Iron Balloons," an anthology of a new kind of Jamaican writing published by Akashic Books in May. On a recent Saturday, Mr. Channer read a section of the story at Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe in Harlem.
"The Right and Proper Way" is a big breath of a piece, 54 pages long, and something of a tour de force, spoken in various registers of Jamaican English by Ciselyn, a 68-year-old Jamaican woman who works at Macy's and is giving a talk in a speech class she is taking.
One day in Jamaica in 1972, Ciselyn relates, she went to pick up her daughter, Karen, from school and Karen wasn't there. When Karen finally appeared, she was very rude.
At Hue-Man, Mr. Channer read Ciselyn's child-rearing philosophy as told to her speech class: "Sink them down again below the grass, and stand up over them like you have a machete in your hand. If they push up they head again before they time, don't hesitate. Take one swing and chop it off." "The Right and Proper Way" reaches a terrible and inevitable conclusion. "I paint her body red," Ciselyn cries. "I look at her and say, 'You think you is a woman in this place?' Whap. 'You think you is woman, eh?' Spa-DIE. 'What you have to hide?' Whap" And so on. And on.DINITIA SMITH


*Despite earlier reports which have been circulated over the internet, dancehall/reggae artiste Baby Cham’s hit song Ghetto Story (a song in which he depicts some of the unfortunate incidents that he experienced while growing up in a Jamaican ghetto), has not been banned here in Jamaica.
Ghetto Story which has been impacting on the Billboard R&B Hip Hop Singles & Tracks chart, spent eight weeks at number one here in Jamaica a few months ago. The song was sent to radio here in Jamaica in November last year and has been receiving strong airplay even though its no longer on the charts here.
According to sources at the Broadcasting Commission here in Jamaica, the government organization which monitors songs and makes recommendations whether they are fit for airplay or not, Ghetto Story was never considered for any form of banning. Some members from the media here in Jamaica, have viewed the allegations of a ban as a mere publicity stunt to drum up support in the American market.
Efforts to contact Baby Cham for a comment on the issue, proved futile, as his Jamaican cell phone was consistently turned off.


Jamie Foxx is Bob Marley

Remember how absurd it sounded when Jamie Foxx was cast as Ray Charles? Well, prepare yourself for another outrageous announcement: Foxx is said to be starring as Bob Marley in a biopic directed by Oscar-nominee Rachid Bouchareb (Dust of Life). The film was conceived by Bob's widow, Rita, and Bourchareb says that he wants to show the reggae icon's life from childhood (he didn't lose a brother, did he?) through to his young adulthood and interest in Africa. by Christopher Campbell

Reggae star draws government ire in Jamaica

"At first they were trying to fight it in Jamaica, but now it's the biggest thing," Cham says. "The radio started playing it like probably two weeks after they said, 'No, no, no.' The fans were letting them know that it was the biggest song in the street. But that's how it is in Jamaica, they tend to draw a curtain to the real things going on."

"Ghetto Story" isn't Cham's first song to draw the government's ire. Both of his earlier tracks, "Desperate Measure" and "Ghetto Play," were banned, as was Bounty Killer's "Anytime," which Cham wrote with longtime producer buddy Dave Kelly.

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Reggae star Cham's hot new tune "Ghetto Story" explicitly describes the poverty raging through Jamaica, and has been banned in its homeland.

"The government wrote me," Cham says regarding "Ghetto Play." "I was saying to give me the country to run for a day. And they said, 'We need to stop the bashing of the government.' That's not bashing, it's just showing up the government. There's no free speech there. They say you have free speech, but it's not free speech."

Cham's gritty video for "Ghetto Story" features him rhyming into a cell phone and children enacting his verses of sticking up store clerks and sleeping on foam squares. The entire video was shot in about a day. Then MTV came calling, airing the clip on "Direct Effect" and "MTV Jams." Cham also tapped Akon for the "Ghetto Story" remix, which recently went to radio.

Aside from the "Ghetto Story" single, which originally debuted in Jamaica last November, an album of the same name is slated for an August release on Atlantic. - By Hillary Crosley