By Romell Eubank
Jamaica’s political atmosphere has been heated for the past few weeks. Fortunately, it has been ignited with excitement from all the dubs and debates. Despite restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, politicians have found creative ways to reach a majority of their voters. This has been successful due to the advancement in technology. Social media is one of the main forms of media that has been used to educate and motivate voters.
In an age of memes, both politicians as well as political bloggers and activists have been able to add ‘spice’ to their campaigns and to their political analyses. Even though we have been hearing of few instances of political violence – some of which are yet to be confirmed, more attention is being given to the memes, comments and various forms of ‘shade’ that have brought forth laughter as they are shared on Instagram, Facebook and shared on WhatsApp. This seems to be an election with a difference.
The ‘Dub’ Factor
We saw dubs from high-profile politicians like Lisa Hanna. Her dub was done by fast growing female Reggae artiste Shenseea. This was followed by Stylo G’s dub for Central Manchester MP Peter Bunting. Surprisingly Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillip had his own dub done by Dovey Magnum. This dub was met with laughter from many social media users as the original song carried a more erotic flavour. Many waited for the Prime Minister’s dub, and we can admit, the wait was worth it. Mr. Universe by fast rising dancehall artiste Skillibeng was one of the first dubs that rocked the political atmosphere for persons who were interested in dubs. We are seeing rural and unpopular candidates using dubs to add a little spice to their campaign – most notably candidates like Dwight Sibblies, Horace Dalley, George Wright and many others. I believe going forward, dubs should be a main campaign tool.
The eagerness for the debates was high and might even have been higher than for the dubs. Young people waited for the memes and all the ‘shade’ while the intellectual class waited on the statistics and other facts. The supporters on the other hand, spent the debate getting angry at the panel members for asking questions that made their leaders stutter. On the first night of the debate, we saw political jabs being thrown by both sides. The night ended with memes and photos that are still being used to solicit laughter from younger citizens on social media. The second night ended with disappointment for the economist, but young people had their memes and hashtags, the most notable of which was perhaps Finance Minister Nigel Clarke’s use of the excerpt: “Likkle bit a money”, from dancehall artiste Govana’s single Likkle Bit a Money. The final night had Prime Minister Andrew Holness referring to Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips as Peter ‘Papa Tax’ Phillips. These debates have produced joy and laughter in the midst of a serious pandemic.
Dubs and the recent debates without a doubt have brought forth laughter and to some extent, happiness. This election has been a spicy one that will be remembered for decades to come. As we remember the bloody 1980s election, we will remember this 2020 election as one in which we had fun while choosing our future leaders. Some analysts will say we are diverting from the real issues with dubs and debates but you have never heard them speak out against political violence. We want a fun election, not a bloody election.
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