Uptown Mondays in Kingston Jamaica Essay

Uptown Mondays in Kingston Jamaica Essay

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Over the past 50 years, numerous dancehall events have emerged in Kingston, Jamaica and therefore have become more ubiquitous. Uptown Mondays, one of the more recent ones, is considered a “sound system dance (Stolzoff 2000), and is held every Monday night at Savanna Plaza, Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10. Stanley-Niaah (2004) posits that such a venue represents a “cultural system in which the sacred and the secular, politics and economics, merge in celebration.” This paper seeks to relay observations noted on a visit to the popular dancehall event, Uptown Mondays, and to validate such observations against a backdrop of previous studies done by prominent dancehall scholars.
Stanley Niaah (2004, p. 110) clarifies that dancehall events’ appeal and consequent power converge around their names, which take the form of the latest dancehall and/or inner-city lingua. The name Uptown Mondays seems a bit controversial – controversial in the sense that even though patronage extends to other classes, “dancehall remains an inner-city phenomenon resulting from the location of key actors, spaces of operation, and production.” (Stanley-Niaah 2004, p. 107). Analyzing the name deeper reveals that it may just be a mere appeal tactic, hinging on the idea of Stewart’s (2002) pre-eminence of the external, in the sense that the name will attract core-participants who seek to detach themselves from the label of being ghetto/downtown and who (seek to) identify with an uptown lifestyle regardless of realities they have to face. By means of characterizing Uptown Mondays, Stolzoff’s (2000, pp. 194-195) “juggling” dance is applied, in which tunes are played in a non-competitive manner, as opposed to a “sound system clash”. This sort of characterization is ...

... middle of paper ...

...rious scholars of dancehall culture and typifies the average dancehall event of this nature in Kingston, Jamaica. Dance events such as Uptown Mondays are but avenues through which multi-dimensional benefits – whether from the social, cultural, economic, emotional, or physical band of the dancehall culture spectrum – are brought to fruition to a number of persons in the Jamaican society.

Works Cited

Stolzoff, N. (2000).Wake the town and tell the people: Dancehall culture in Jamaica. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Stanley-Niaah, S. (2008). 'Bogle ah di order fi di day': Dance and Identity in Jamaican Dancehall.
Stanley-Niaah, S. (2004). Kingston’s Dancehall: A story of space and celebration. Space and Culture, 7(1), 102-118.
Stewart, K. (2002). “`So wha, mi nuh fi live to’: Interpreting violence in Jamaica through the Dancehall Culture” in Ideaz, 1 (1)

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