“To Ban or Not To Ban”: Michael “Beatbopper” Hudgins speaks
The news of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica ban on music glorifying the use of illicit drugs, illicit guns, and lottery scamming, comes like a sudden roadblock to players. Those who are caught off-guard vent their feelings by taking to social media, while others chuckled away the news.
The Commission says the directive to radio stations reinforces its commitment to keeping airwaves free of harmful content given the important role traditional media still plays as an agent of socialization. The use of the public airwaves broadcast songs that promise/glorify illegal activity could give the wrong impression that criminality is an accepted feature of Jamaican culture and society.
Michael “Beatbopper” Hudgins, who has been dealing with reggae artistes in Jamaica for more than 10 years, believes “artistes need to be given the avenues to express themselves in a way which does not incite violence or any other societal ills.”
Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, has been distancing himself from those who keep supporting lyrics that he considers violent.
In recent months the PM has been asserting his views that violent lyrics from artistes are helping in fuelling the crime rate.
According to Beatbopper, “Bob Marley was telling his stories, but he (Bob) wasn’t telling any of us to get a gun and shoot people. And, because Bob’s lyrics were so carefully crafted, his music is still among the best and most listened around the world.”
“These younger artistes in Jamaica are definitely telling their stories of unemployment, poverty, and violence surrounding them. They are using an avenue to get people to listen to them. Maybe, someone may just hear their pleas and bring help to them.”
“In America, gangster rap started with artistes who were telling their stories of life as they see it. There were people all over the world who never knew what was happening in their communities and their lives. People who are unhappy really don’t want to hear happy songs.”
“I do agree with PM Holness that gun lyrics do influence people to think negatively and to be engaged in wrongs. But again, the government needs to ask themselves, are we doing enough for our youths? Social programmes should be sustained to raise the standard of discipline which is of paramount importance in schools and communities.”
“So again, let me re-emphasize. We should not suppress the views of entertainers but suggest and help them to better express their lyrics without abandoning their creativity.”
Regarding his albums, Hudgins says, “I have 2 albums now promoting – a 19-track album titled “Miungu Ya Muziki” which has tracks including Epixode’s “Jehovah” feat. Stonebwoy and Lahjihkal’s “To The Team”.”
The track “Jehovah” features God and how important it is for us to serve him, while Lahjihkal, who is from Jamaica, is talking about unity and teamwork which is important in all aspects of life.
“Miungu Ya Muziki” has achieved 4 no. 1 spots, including Cuba-Caribbean Amazon international charts, and No. 2 (behind Bob Marley’s “Legend”) on US ITunes international reggae charts.
The other album, “Certified Gold” has 16 tracks and the messages are great. For the rest of the year, Hudgins will be producing a few singles which features young and established acts.
(Photo Michael Hudgins courtesy of Beatbopper Music)