Garrett Godwin: Your documentary on music in Jamaica is similar to music here in America — especially with rap and hip-hop: sensitizing sex, violence, and objectifying women. Whatever happen to using popular music — music in any genre — as social and political commentaries?
Claudja Barry: Music has long been used as a tool to comment on life as it is seen socially and politically, but today it seems that the artists are dictating to their fans what social behavior should be. The music is not commenting on what is happening in society, artists are directing the show and the fans are following. In many cases, it seems that violence, the gun culture, disrespect for women, homophobia, moral and sexual breakdown is coming directly from the artists who expound such behavior in their music and lyrics. That is coming from their personal preferences.
GG: How and why Jamaica can be a “Losing Paradise”? Can that be the same for America?
CB: The physical beauty of Jamaica is overwhelming, and the magnificent power of the United States cannot be denied. One can see the downgrading of morals in both countries. So, on a certain level, we are losing paradise and much of it is very apparent on television as well as in the music. Music culture is the barometer that measures the soul and culture of a country so what is today’s music saying?
GG: Does this documentary compares Jamaica to America — especially with the recent violence that has taken place for the latter over the last few months?
CB: I do not compare Jamaica to The United States in the documentary, but I believe there is a definite correlation between the gun culture and the violence that is occurring on a regular basis among young people in the two countries.
Why do we have so much of that type of lyrics in music today?
GG: What do you believe is the difference between reggae music and rap/hip-hop, or is there none at all?
CB: The reggae music of Bob Marley was to unite, empower, to love and respect each other. Reggae music usually has the message of building up the listener not breaking down. Reggae music of Marley helps us to see where we were and where we should be going. Most hip-hop lyrics is not very uplifting, it’s for the moment. I believe all artists have a responsibility to help to build up not break down the spirit and soul of the listener to their music.
GG: Where can people find your documentary, as well as learn more about you?
CB: You can see the trailer for “Losing Paradise and Music” on YouTube
My website: www.claudjabarry.com