Thu | Nov 21, 2019

It’s a sound clash, not a bad word clash–Wee Pow

Published:Sunday | August 18, 2019 | 12:14 AMYasmine Peru - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Veteran sound system owner, Winston ‘Wee Pow’ Powell of Stone Love, hold uu his Reggae Gold Awards, wh ich he received earlier this year at the National Indoor Sports Centre.
Veteran sound system owner, Winston ‘Wee Pow’ Powell of Stone Love, hold uu his Reggae Gold Awards, wh ich he received earlier this year at the National Indoor Sports Centre.

Winston Powell, owner of the immortal sound Stone Love, is today standing up on a platform of moral integrity, as he rallies against calls for Jamaican bad words to be made ‘legit’ in the dancehall space, more specifically, during sound clashes. The legendary selector and CEO of Stone Love Movements, the most decorated sound in Jamaica’s history, is adamant that the original sound system clash culture must be preserved.

“Originally, it (cursing bad words) was not a part of the sound system clash culture. To my memory, it was about the mid-nineties when the foreigners started to gravitate towards the dancehall culture and they used to like to hear these cursing words, so it started then and continued and has gotten worse. It is called a sound clash, not a bad word clash,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.

Powell’s history lesson comes against the background of a general outcry after a recent incident in which the police pulled the plug on a clash at Fully Loaded because the selectors had used expletives. PNP senator, Dr Andre Haughton, subsequently offered sturdy defence of the use of Jamaican bad words in dancehall space and made known his intentions to move a motion seeking to allow bad words at dancehall events.

“The dancehall needs a space for itself and we can start by rating the specific events like R, X or triple x. Certain words are just an expression nothing is wrong with them,” Haughton wrote on social media.

Powell, however, is not here for that kind of reasoning. “Bad words or cursing words should not be allowed to be used at any sound clashes. There are many people who would attend these events and support it but just because of what these morally bankrupt guys choose to say, many people stay away,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.

“If you observe, when the foreign national selectors clash with us they come clean. It was evident at Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay when they won comfortably. I will raise my cap to selector, David Rodigan of England, who has probably won more clashes than anyone else and he does it clean, so let’s preserve the culture of the sound and be clean in our doing,” the Stone Love owner stated.

Another sound system legend, Jack Scorpio, of Black Scorpio sound, was even more strenuous in his ‘no badwud’ stand, and lashed out against selectors, and artistes for using expletives to get a ‘cheap forward’.

“Mi nuh support no bad wud. Me and Jammys, for example, have sound clash and a di nicest thing and we don’t curse no bad words. I don’t business who want vex. Music is a message, it suppose to elevate. I am a family man and have a moral responsibility. The bad word and the gun thing, a dat mash up the music. A dat a destroy the younger generation. I would tell the Government to take a stand now,” Scorpio said, without even pausing to catch a breath.

“The music can do without that. Calypso songs have them thing. Sparrow will say salt fish and as a child, you think him talking about the food, is not until you big that you realise what him talking about. That is the kind of creativity we want to see in dancehall, in sound clash and in the music as a whole. There is a whole heap of things out there that dem can deejay about.”

Acclaimed clash selector and Sound Trooper owner, Ricky Trooper, while batting for the use of bad words in a sound clash, pointed out that ‘appropriateness’ is key. “Sound system was a downtown, ghetto activity before it evolved into an international phenomenon,” Trooper told The Sunday Gleaner. “A lickle bad word or a lickle curse word a no nutten, but some of the selector dem go overboard.

“Dem need to understand that a clash is different from a juggling. Some a di man dem deh a one street dance and a juggle and a curse like dem deh a clash,” he said.

In closing, Wee Pow had nuggets of advice. “It should also be observed that most of the players on the platform representing as sound systems are not really sounds, so they don’t care about nutten.

My advice to them is to stop being personal in their doing and think about the preserving the legacy of the sound system culture that was built by people who really love it.”

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com