Wed | Apr 8, 2020

Church too judgemental over relationships, says Jah9

Published:Monday | February 17, 2020 | 12:09 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

Reggae artiste Jah9 has pointed the finger at the Church for helping to create a culture in which some members of society become judgemental against others, in terms of when, how and who they choose to be intimate with.

Jah9, whose birth name is Janine Cunningham, was delivering the main address at last Thursday’s 23rd Annual Bob Marley Lecture at The University of the West Indies, Mona, under the theme ‘Turn Your lights Down Low’.

The daughter of a Christian minister, Jah9 told the audience that being in the church posed a particular challenge for her.

“I think how we are raised has a lot to do with it, too, because being raised in the church, I still have issues I have to overcome. There are still issues so deep-rooted in me that even me, who is not a virgin, still has this thing in the back of my mind that I need to keep the number of [sexual partners low],” she said.

“When you go to church, you don’t want to feel like you ascribe to that kind of liberation with promiscuity. That word means a particular thing, and we know how unfair that is. That is not something I want to practise, so I like the idea, and so I live vicariously with some of my friends who operated like that.”

She said that the Church sometimes make people so judgemental, they don’t even realise what is happening, “because you have the platform of righteousness and Christianity to stand on”.


“That is just judgemental, because you don’t know someone’s journey. A woman who has experienced great sexual trauma in her life has a different relationship with sex than I, who waited long before she ‘gi it weh’. We need to have these conversations, and it is something the sisters have to consider,” she told a rapt audience.

“If that is the kind of woman you find that you are, based on what the relationship is with your family, you have to own and know who you are. You can’t be afraid of yourself or it will manifest in some destructive ways. You have to face your wants, needs and darkness to get to know yourself.”