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Sunday, 5 December 2010

In Jamaica, one popular radio host regularly pushes lesbophobia

Source: Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender & Queer Jamaica

In recent months there has been a sharp rise in serious concerns by members of the lesbian and bisexual women communities about the path being taken by radio personality Ragashanti and his tambourine crew on his new home at Nationwide Radio. This is coming on the back drop of several unconfirmed reports of several cases of rape and sexual abuse including corrective type incidences across the country with two suspected murders. Please bear in mind the incidents have not been confirmed to be outrightly lesbophobic but the word on the street just by observation suggests people are talking about lesbian lifestyles more disparagingly in a long time.

There are real concerns that his continued push with these sensationalized stories are having an impact in the recent rise of incidents towards lesbians ranging from forced evictions to alleged corrective typed rape."


Usually in Jamaica lesbians never experienced such a backlash either on the airwaves or otherwise and as Ragashanti is widely listened to between 1pm – 5pm following the controversial cut from Newstalk 93 FM where he was unceremoniously booted. There was a problem with the content of the program he hosted there at the time but he has found a place at his original home at Nationwide.

Here is another slew of innuendos and sensationalism from Ragashanti’s suss column:
“Crazy big up to mi tambareen fambily an mi mix-up an Blenda massive. Mi seh di lesbian mix-up topic did shot like wow! All now unu jus a rinse di tings dem. Yow, a whole heap a lesbians deh a Jamaica! Fi real!

Aywayz, mek mi shot dem lesbian mix-up ya weh fahwud inna mi inbox.

Lesbian Wifey an Matey War

“Raga, big up uself! Dis is Lady Mizterius. Mi wah big up di lesbian gyal weh dust har matee wen d woman carry di two a dem go a waan club ova Portmore. Wen d wifee hear a matee tune bus she get up an gi d gyal sum rahtid lick! A police escort dem outta di club.”

Mad! Noooo sah! A how da matey deh brite suh? How shi fi a walk out like shi a wife wen di wife stan up right deh wid har? Mi seh wen nuff a dem hear Liquid song ‘Wifey walk out an Matey stan up’, nuff a dem get too hype. An see it deh now, di wife beat her out. A weak! An mi can jus imagine how it mussi sweet di lesbian weh carry di two a dem go a di club. Draaaamerrr! Nuff a dem nuh waah banana again, a jus straight cho-cho dem a pree!! Raaaaeeeeee!

Montego Bay Lesbian Drama

“Hey Raga. I am from Montego Bay and I used to attend a prominent school, where a lot of those kind a species attend (lesbians). However I was approached by one, who asked me what’s my flavour? I didn’t reply, I just walked away. Another day, my friend and I were sitting and just hanging out together. While talking to her I observed her telling someone to come to her, so I asked her who was she talking to? She replied and said, “nuh deh bwoy deh” so I ignored her reply and continued talking.

After we had finished talking and ready to go home, two girls approached us and then my friend said to me, “A deh bwoy deh did a call mi,” and I said to her, “Afta anno bwoy dat.” When the two girls came over, one of them started talking to my friend but she wasn’t answering, so the girl said to me ” my girl, mi friend like yuh enuh” so i said “who?” When I turned around it was her companion, so I replied to her saying “my girl, mi nuh lesbian!, mi straight!”. The girlstarted cursing and saying that no straight girl isn’t in Montego Bay. I was so upset with her so I looked at her and said ” if yuh kno wah good fi yuh, yuh come outa mi face” and I walked away.”

How di baxside shi fi a say no straight girl nuh eena MoBay? Shi BROIITE eeeh! A wa tek har? Mi know nuff straight woman fram Bay. But that just speaks to her attitude that she should have lesbian access to all women. She’s quite likely the type of lesbian who wants respect and justice as a lesbian, but do not want to give heterosexual women the same. Thankfully, indications are that most lesbians are NOT like her, cause shi a luu wid dem pap dung talk deh. Watch yuh back an yuh front. DWL!

Wrenking Lesbian

Raga mi know this girl we use to go high school together. So mi buck har inna wah taxi and she ask mi wah mi name so mi tell har wa wrong name. Raga yuh can believe sey the gal say she wah mek sure sey mi reach home safe. The gal mek the taxi pass har house and come a mi yard. She all did a ask mi fi mi number so mi give har wah wrong number, cause mi nuh wah she hold mi dun inna the taxi. So everytime she see mi she a ball out the wrong name..lol Raga mi nuh kno why them always deh approach mi?

Mi a DWL wen yuh say yuh neva waan shi hol yuh dung inna di taxi! So wait deh yuh really tink shi woulda jus tek it right deh so inna di cab? Nooo sah!! Shi woulda cold fi do dat. Anywayz, mi really nuh know wa fi tell yuh is di reason why lesbians always a approach yuh. Is eida dem tink yuh have a gay vibe bout yuh, or yuh a propa-propa goodaz weh jus hot suh, or yuh come ova as smaddy weh weak an woulda easy fi overpower. But you fi careful an watch yuh back an yuh front too. LOL.”
Reach Ragashanti at mixupraga@gmail.com or PO Box 5866, Liguanea PO, Kingston 6.

As I asked on the blogger edition post in part one (see below) is this ratings at any cost for Nationwide as the new kid on the radio block? and to think the owner of the station is known to be a tolerant public supporter in the discourse on LGBT issues as the station carries entries on the issues periodically but to also carry the almost if not covertly inciteful presentations by Raga the motive couldn’t be otherwise. Ragashanti I need not remind you was unceremoniously booted from his former home at NEWSTALK 93FM owned by the University of the West Indies where he, Raga complained of elitism causing the forced removal from their airwaves.

I am very concerned myself as the sisters are as the power and pull Ragashanti has now as his show grabs the most listener-ship between 1pm and 5pm out doing RJR’s Fluffy Diva, HOT 102FM’s Richie B and even veteran disc jock Barry G, the man who single-handedly shaped afternoon radio format as it is now. Impressionable teens and young adults listen intently to Ragashanti this may set the stage for a whole new thinking towards LGBTQI people and how we are treated in real terms although he stressed that his show is for entertainment purposes only.

Yes Jamaicans love suss and mixup but not everyone easily differentiate the two and knowing how thin the line of tolerance is versus anti gay sentiments it may be so easy to stir up opposition to LGBT lifestyles with the ever weird misconceptions about us. There are LGBT people who readily support the show ironically and defend Raga to the ground, Ragashanti himself seems hip on the latest language and culture of Yard gay life as well as he uses the effeminate tones intermittently on his show.

A second question that comes to mind is Ragashanti going off on an intellectual masturbatory trip given his anthropological discipline? if this is so then it’s a dangerous way to go about it.

[Part one]

Ratings at any cost?

He has had guests who are introduced a lesbians and gays with very sensationalized discourse over the airwaves and with the broadcasting commission monitoring he has been careful to reduce some of the original verbiage that obtained when he was at Newstalk FM. He also has a column that he writes mix up pieces and gossip columns in the Jamaica Star. A steady stream of lesbophobic and stereotypical pieces have been coming both on air and in print as shown below, he supposedly answers a write in query on lesbianism:
More Lesbian Mix Ups
Mad respek to all a mi Tambareen Fambily linky-linky an mi Mix Up an Blenda massive. Yow!... di Lesbian Mix Up topic a mad up di place. A crazy tings a bust out inna Jamaica ya. Fi real. Gwaan pree dem two vibz ya pon di topic:

Who is really a Lesbian?

Raga big up yuh self. Luv yuh show! I am a lesbian and have been so since high school, at least that's when I became conscious of it. A lot of people seem to believe that a woman becomes a lesbian because she was abused by men or had very bad relationships resulting in heartbreak, been raped, lacked love from her mother and the list goes on I am sure. I think a woman that started dealing with women becuz of some sort of abuse is not really a lesbian and I think they should try again with men, but do it differently, like spend more time knowing the man and actually DATE and so on. I have never been molested, raped, heart-broken, never lacked love from my mother. In fact she was an ardent follower of God. I never grew among lesbians, nor did I know any, or knowingly encountered any. No family member I knew of was so inclined so I was not socialised in it. I have never been sexually attracted to a man. I can appreciate a well dressed, handsome, well-spoken, intelligent,sexy bodyman but to think "oh God him sexy eeh me woulda dash it out pon him," no. I have tried dating men when I was much younger. I had a steady boyfriend, very, very nice guy, I had real, real feelings for him but when it came down to sex I just couldn't do it and out of respect for him and his feelings I had to tell him where I stood. He and I are still friends. So my point is that the equation: abuse+loveless childhood+heartbreak by men = lesbian, is wrong, probably not entirely but for the most part.

Thanks for educating us. You're right. Many of us assume that if a woman is a lesbian then she must have gone through some terrible ordeal that turned her away from men. In a mature, secure and articulate manner, you've made us know that such is not necessarily the case. Not all lesbians are psychologically and emotionally wounded. Bless up yuh self.

Lesbians in School

Mi se Raga mi hav a bag a mix up fi gi yu. Mi use 2 go 1 all girls skool. Raga a bear drama dem gi yu. One 8 grader use 2 deh wid 1 eleven grade girl. But d 11 grader a d butch. She did a gi d 8 grader bun wid a nex 11 grader Raga. Wen mi ask d butch who a wife, she se if a wife dem a run down dem beta gwaan cuz she deh wid a gyal weh work a bank. Anyway, d gyal dem find out bout dem one another n d gurl lef d 8 grader. D 8 grader nearly mad, she all write luv letta n bear tings. Raga any way dem did deh bak n ting. But d other 11 grader find out bout it n knock out d 8 grader wit a chair. And d same evenin a nex girl cum a skool gate fi d butch girl n beat up d 11 grader...lol...dwl.

Dr. Kingsley Stewart aka Ragashanti

Nuh feel nuh way still, but mi naa go run mi usual joke dem wen di mix up involve children a roll dem way ya. Fi years now me a get a whole heap a mix ups bout a whole heap a lesbian drama in many of our high schools. Mi cyaan too support dem violence deh mongst di school girl dem. Mi jus hope seh di authorities will stop walk roun like dem a eediat an nuh know wa a gwaan, an start come up with effective interventions aimed at decreasing violence amongst students grappling with sexuality issues. Bless up.
Serious concerns:
Many ordinary lesbians have been expressing outrage at this new and steady stream of commentary on their lifestyles and by extension putting them at risk. The obsession with the butch dynamic is also not going down well for many in the community as they fear there maybe serious repercussions. Bearing in mind that Ragashanti whose real name is Dr. Kingsley Stewart is an Anthropologist and while there maybe some validity to his use of the colloquial and street culture to examine humanity he may be going overboard much to the detriment of the folks who he makes fun off. Not everyone knows how to separate the seriousness from satire.

Shebada - comical roots play character loved and hated by his effeminate dialogues and shenanigans on stage played by Keith Ramsey who has been stigmatized as gay.

Ragashanti also has been seen however at Shebada's parties on several occasions bearing in mind there is a strong suspicion by the public he is gay yet Raga finds it necessary to get ratings by playing on the stereotypes in Jamaican society. Nationwide radio like it or not is owned by Cliff Hughes an erudite reporter turned radio owner who has signed on Raga and is also known for his gay friendly stance on LGBT rights yet we have Ragashanti out of control on the airwaves?

Some more outspoken lesbians have suggested bombarding the lines with calls condemning the way Raga has been going on and present a more positive light on lesbian and bisexual life.

Ironically there are many MSMs and some members of the GLBTQI community finds the sensationalism funny and there have been vigorous debates on social network pages about ignoring the problem and some defending Raga to the ground.

Good to see ordinary folks getting in on a strategy to deal with this new problem but will it get off the ground? as many moves as discussed before just lie there after much planning and hot air.

Women for Women has issued a soft caution to ladies to be careful out there in light of the news of incidents happening and unverified cases.

How do we measure this? let's see what's to come.

Is the answer to Raga's contribution to lesbophobia a yes or no?

What say you?

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