No Dance Is Worth Dying For

OK, I’m not sure of how many of my American readers are yet aware of this, but I read this and had to discuss. There’s a popular Jamaican dance called the Dutty Wine.

I know, I know. Sounds classy, right?

It involves rapidly gyrating your butt, hips, and neck simultaneously. Long hair or a weave is instrumental to the look. Just watch for yourself, but fair warning – none of these links are safe for work, really. I mean, there’s no nudity, but if your computer could catch a virus from skank, this would be the root cause.

I think Beyonce throws in a little dutty wine in the video for Ring The Alarm (the weave-flinging part, anyway), and you can see a TV-ready version in Sean Paul and Keyshia Cole’s Give It Up To Me (in my opinion, this dude does the dance better than all of them).

But women are stepping up their game in the dancehall and taking the dance to extreme and dangerous levels. According to the Jamaica Gleaner, it is believed that an 18 year old girl just died from doing the Dutty Wine.

She reported feeling dizzy and was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

I am fascinated by the Jamaican dancehall scene and I think it’s cool that the culture still has named dances. The tradition dates back to the roots of reggae. The cool and deadly, horseman scabby, the water pump, bogle, and butterfly were popular in the Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties. More recently, there has been the Sesame Street, Wacky Dip, Willy Bounce, and Hot Wuk. All of these dances are fascinating to watch and probably pretty fun to do; I just think women need to think about how we’re represented and how we represent ourselves.

And children should NOT be encouraged in this kind of slackness. Those links are DEFINITELY not safe for work, and not cool in general.

I’m from Trinidad, and our Carnival is legendary. Women get down on the floor to wine and have a good time, and ain’t nothing wrong with that. But I have always hated when children are encouraged to follow suit. Many people defend it as a cultural thing. I’d love to hear your opinions on this.

This is a topic I’m going to return to next week – positive female images in Caribbean music and hip hop. For now, I just have to say that while I’m utterly amazed by these dancers, there’s something unmistakably flawed with the culture when we’re busting out video cameras to capture (and coax) our children gyrating on the floor, or participating in a whore-off so fervent that it becomes fatal.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. Hi Afrobella,

    just wanted to tell you that I love your site, here from the beautiful North African
    Capital, CAIRO.
    I’m an Egyptian Afrobella ( if I’m allowed to use your name:), who is turning into accepting the idea that maybe making the best out of your natural beauty is better ( and easier) than fighting what God gave to me along the way. I did not blow dry or relax my Mediteranean, curly hair for the whole summer and till now.

    Thanks to you and your website I learned a lot and was inspired to try different natural hair styles. Although I dont have access to most of the products you mention or recomment, your reviews inspire me in terms of what to look for in what is available in the local Egyptian market.

    Thanks a million!

    Love,

    GK

  2. I heard about this not too long ago. Pretty scary right? Oh and I have a special love in my heart for Trini’s as I was allowed to Play Mas in the 2003 DC Carnival. I proudly flew the Trini flag (though I am clearly just a random girl from MD) and danced my heart out. Dutty Wine excluded of course.

  3. Your fellow Trini agrees. I don’t appreciate it either when children are engaging in grown up behavior. Then we wonder why molesters are looking at them with lust in their hearts.

    Growing up, we knew there was a time and place for everything. The time for sexually charged dance moves is when they are older.

  4. Great post; looking forward to reading your future entries on this subject.

  5. Hello, I don’t know how the duty wine looks like but, as far as children doing it. You know they are going to do exactly what their mama’s, sisters, and peers do. Since dancing is such a big part of the culture, realistically, they will gyrate, etc, anyhow, maybe not in front of parents, but they will do it. I don’t think children gyrating provoke molesters anymore in general. When people are evil they will do what they want, provoked or not.

  6. Nice blog layout! Came here via Caribloggers.

    On the matter of the Dutty Wine, such violent movments are not safe, common sense should tell us that, but then again common sense isn’t that comon.

    Adults shouldn’t be doing it much more children!

  7. You warned me not watch this at work but I did anyway. I’m very sad. I can’t believe these dances actually exist. And I really hate it when we teach our kids this type of crap. Kids learn how to gyrate before they learn how to spell their names. That’s sad. Thank you for opening my eyes to so many different things. Reading your posts is like reading an excellent magazine…your site is wonderful. You’re a very talented writer and I love your sense of humor and I especially like the way you bring things to the forefront. I know you’re incredibly busy but I hope you continue on for all of us. You’re truly God sent. Please keep on keeping on!

  8. Patrick Jnr says:

    Patrice you continue to make me proud! I enjoyed the article, keep it up! Love and respect from your big brother…

  9. I disagree that children dancing sexily leads to molestation. In fact, most paedophiles are attracted to children because of their innocence. That being said, I don’t believe in children indulging in age inappropriate behaviour be it either sexy dance, sexy clothes etc. Good post Afrobella.

  10. Yay!!!!!!!!One of my big brothers posted on my site! This is definitely a happy day for me. I love you, Patrick, thanks for commenting. Now it’s your turn Dominic!

    HottieHottie and Akilah, I agree with you in the sense that evil is just evil. Rape is about power, and the innocence of a child is what turns these sickos on. But I just get so frustrated by parents who encourage their children in slackness, as if it’s cute. I have an ADORABLE one and a half year old niece who LOVES to dance. I would never ever encourage her even so much as to wine, much less to dutty wine. The same way I would protect her ears from foul language, I would protect her eyes from this kind of behavior. I want to maintain her innocence, not corrode it.

    Because if these kids are starting this early, what can you expect for their future?

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Von! They mean alot on a day like today….

  11. I don’t think it is appropriate for children to be dancing suggestively at all, I remember growing up in Trinidad and the first thing people would say to their children is (show dem how yuh could wine) it was a big achievement to be able to wine before you learned how to read and write. I agree it was done back then out of ignorance but the world we live in today is too enlightened.

  12. what saddens me is this isnt really dancing. Its degrading to women, those who do and even those who dont.Especially Black women…no matter what you call yourself culturally. Whats worse is its across the board with Black men making money aiding and abetting.
    No dont start with it..all the excuses…
    WHEN..When will Black men stop exploiting Black women..
    WHEN will we get some self respect and stop exploiting ourselves. let alone allowing Black men and everyone else…then you wonder why as a group black women are held in such derision,lack of respect.

    I’m through…I know the comebacks will be well aimed aand thought out…wont make any difference.

    I wont even mention the children …what is this????

  13. there needs to be a stop to the oversexualization of children.i don’t think it provokes molesters, Chesters don’t need provacation, but i do think exposure to sex at a young age changes a child.

  14. Coming from London here. The dutty wine’s been a craze here for a long while due to the large Caribbean community here (esp. Jamaicans). I think most of the dancehall dances are cool and all but when it’s risking your life? HELL NO! And there’s nothing uglier (to me) than seeing little kids acting too grown. Whether it’s through sexually provocative dances or singing songs that they’re waaaay too young for. It’s both sad and sickening.

  15. Forgot to add that I’m absolutely addicted to your site. It’s one of the highlights of my day. Truly. May God bless you to keep doing what you’re doing.

  16. jerseybred says:

    For obvious reason most of the children doing Dutty Wine dances have been flagged on Youtube.
    -I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing-
    Did anyone notice in the first kid’s video on youtube (click on children)the 2 little boys on the little girls’ butt and an adult yelling “go Nay go Nay” “get on the floor Nay” and Nay pulled out a chair and put her leg up?
    Adults WAKEUP and stop corrupting our children
    Let them hold on to their innonence as long as possible
    And the definition of whore-off is not suprising giving the current climate of the world.

  17. Just wanted to clarify my statement. I do agree that a molester has a bigger issue at hand, evil is evil.

    However, a child engaging in a grown up, sexually charged manner does appeal to many men or women in a sexually depraved way. It is what it is.

    The same reason why I don’t think ten year olds need to be wearing thong underwear or clothing that is inappropriate for their age. It sends the wrong message and it’s not age appropriate.

    Great post and I love your blog.

  18. BlackHoney says:

    First of all, I love your site. I’m transitioning fom relaxed to natural now, and you have become a resource.

    These ladies are really just dancing but I wouldn’t want to see children doing this (I think that the Chicken Noodle Soup-is cute and age appropiate).

    That being said, to me it’s interesting that no matter where black people were settled in the Diaspora, there is always some version of a dance like this. Maybe not as extreme as the dutty wine (WOW) but certainly containing elements of the dance. I’m from Alabama, and it’s called booty popping or shake dancin’. Cubans have desposlate and timbaleque, the list goes on.

    Are these dances called “cultural remembrances”-throw backs to the fertility dances of ancestors? Do we demonize them because we are Western or are we ashamed of the continued practice of them? I don’t know-just something I was thinking about.

  19. Hey…I just found your site and I am loving it. In response to your article, I have no problem with the dutty wine. I am a Jamaican and I just love our culture and the craziness we come up with.
    But I have to draw the line at taping children to be taking part. I found the first video of the children especially hard to swallow, as the parent (adult) was encouraging them so much. Ugh. Where is your responsibility to raising that child properly.
    I do like the song and the dance but you shouldn’t be so into it that it is affects you so negatively. It’s just crazy how far we take things sometimes.

  20. Hi there Afrobella. Love the blog and the template. Found you thru the CariBlogs mail I got. Hope to see you on my blog.

  21. P.S. I’ve got a similar post about the Dutty Wine on my blog.

  22. Hey Bella! I’ve seen videos of the Dutty Wine on other blogs and was flabbergasted at what I saw. I think it’s highly degrading but to each their own I guess.

  23. I just watched those videos Afrobella. Not cool. And how sad is it that the people whose comments defend the dancing are the ones with the most HORRENDOUS grammatical errors?!

  24. I have done the dutty wine but not to the extent where I am going to risk breaking my neck. I cannot gyrate like the Jamaicans do, so my version is very PG rated. However, I find it vile and disgusting that GROWN PEOPLE would encourage their children to participate in something like the dutty wine. Let children be children. Stop letting ten year old little girls wear thongs and get fake nails and wear make up (I have seen it in NY)! Stop giving perverts a reason to ogle your children. I lived in NYC for my entire life until recently so I saw many females doing the dutty wine at clubs and omg…some of them would even pull their jeans down in the middle of the dance floor. Gross!

    Great post and I love your blog Bella! I see you on concreteloop lol my username there is mizzlizz. That is how I discovered your blog and now I’m addicted!

  25. Blackhoney made a comment about these dances being throw backs to African fertility dances and I have to say I somewhat agree. I think that many western ideals have changed the way many african american and caribbean people may view these dances as disgusting or nasty. Not saying that its okay for children to do these dances because its not, but it is something to think about.

  26. Pink Bella says:

    Bella, you’ve done it again! You’ve addressed so many topics with this one post. First and foremost, no dance is worth dying for!!! I saw a report about this on BET before Beyonce’s video came out and they reported somewhere around FORTY injuries due to the dance (neck fractures, spinal injuries) and three deaths! Astounding. Second, the issue of parents watching what their children are exposed to: using this dance as an example. Not only is it salacious and sexually suggestive but it’s dangerous. And if you wouldn’t smoke a doobie in front of your kid for fear of it being a gateway to more harmful drugs, then you certainly shouldn’t be exposing them to dances that can cause death or put ideas in their innocent little heads. You want them to dance? My sister (a minister’s wife) takes her children to ballet, jazz and hip hop dance classes. In the hip hop classes they play the music to popular songs SANS the lascivious lyrics!

    Keep up the good work Bella. A blog is nothing but empty fluff if it doesn’t inspire discussion that could inherently institute CHANGE!

  27. The dance is hot & looks like it hurts & totally not for kids. If parents are letting babies do this, well you know what they are doing other tna setting a bad example. I saw it for the 1st time this summer at the Detroit Caribbean festival.

    Great post!

  28. iamnotmybody says:

    I am tired on seeing black women shake their asses. Everything is too overtly sexual! It’s sickening to see little girls doing these dances. It’s even more disgusting that their parents encourage them. What are we teaching our young ladies? Nothing wrong with dancing, BUT I am tired of black women using their bodies as a way to communicate.

  29. iamnotmybody says:

    One more thing: Just because something – in this case, dancing (Dutty Wine) – is part of one’s culture, does not make it right. Female mutilation is a cultural practice in Africa, but is it wrong!

  30. Island Princess says:

    While the ‘Dutty Wine’ visually appears very provocative, we must ask ourselves; through which eye is this vision being seen? What I am trying to say is that dancing has long been, and will always be part of Black people’s tradition. When Europeans first encountered Africans, they were ‘appalled’ at the way they were able to gyrate their bodies. As a result, they spoke of how the Africans were sexual heathens. I think that the way you are viewing this dance is through that same European lens. What we must understand, especially those of us who have been heavily influenced by western discourse, is that our judgments are based on a European criteria. I am of Caribbean decent, and we have been conditioned to view many aspects of our ancestral heritage and culture as being backward or distasteful. The “Dutty Wine’ is very similar to a very popular dance in West Africa. The rapid swinging of the neck and movement of the buttocks and lower part of the body is very much like the “Dutty Wine’. We must further understand that our definition of what is tasteful and ‘woman like’ is based on western ideology. The problem is that as Africans, and when I speak of Africans I mean Blacks throughout the Diaspora, have come to embrace and accept this ideology as being the correct and only one. This needs to change!!! Instead of chastising and ridiculing things that are so integral to our culture, we should embrace them. Both adults and children!

  31. Wait a minute, Island Princess – I got lost in your discussion of Eurocentrism. I agree that we often view our Westernized cultural practices as separate from our African ancestry, and we could all stand to learn more about our cultural heritage.

    However, are you saying that both adults and children should embrace the “dutty wine” as integral to our culture??? Look, I’m from the islands too. I love nothing better than to drink a rum and wine and carry on to some tassa or soca. Put on Machel Montano’s “Big Truck” and I will act a fool for you. But I really don’t believe children should be sexualized so early, and these dances are fertility dances. In my (admittedly limited) knowledge of African cultures, there typically is a rite of passage from child to adulthood, wherein participants are expected to pass some kind of cultural rite or perform a ceremony before they can enjoy the pleasures and responsibilities of adulthood. None of the children pictured here are of that age. And their parents aren’t exactly encouraging them to celebrate their ancestral rites. Also, I highly doubt that the women who are participating (and killing themselves) in “dutty wine” competitions are giving props to their African ancestors before they start to shake it. For them, it ain’t that complicated. I’d like to think I’m wrong about that, but I sincerely doubt it.

  32. First, big up on the site…simply beautiful or shall I say in your own words ‘Afrobella.’

    Love it….hafi big up di afrobellas fo real!!!

    Anyway there has been an autoposy done on the girl who is being reported died from doing the ‘Dutty.’ The initial reports have come back inconclusive. I can keep you updated if you like or needed.

    Bless for Life
    LANCE-O
    KULCHA SHOK MUZIK

  33. bahamamimi says:

    Hey I’m from the Bahamas and I know all about dancehall and the dances that come around every so often. In the Caribbean its hard to escape what others may call “vulgar dances”. Its apart of who we are down here. Some people choose to take them to the extreme and get plain nasty. Others of us keep it a little more decent. I have done the dutty wine but not to the point where I need to see a doctor or put my health at risk. It is up to the person to know thier physical limit. Other popular dances like the butterfly and bugle could be risky if you don’t have good balance. As far as little kids doing it – that again is hard to escape. Back home we have a festival called Junkanoo where we get dressed up, bust out the brass and drums make music and dance in the streets. It’s similar to Carnival. There is a lot of gyration going on there. We’ve also got a smaller version of the festival for the kids in school called Junior Junkanoo. Its vulgar to those who have not been raised in our world but its normal to us. Junkanoo came about as the celebration festival to emancipation – the newly freed slaves started it way back in the day and we have not and will not stop.

  34. Micessi 1987 says:

    LOL I had a video up on youtube about that. It was called “You could die from dutty wine” I was addressinf the subject. But i took it down some months ago.

  35. first, i just wanted to say that i love this blog! thank you for creating this.

    as far as the deaths connected with the dutty wine, i would just say i’m skeptical. i’m sure it could happen, but i’ve neither read/nor seen firsthand reports of this. as a jamaican american, i say it’s good to be proud of one’s culture, but not it’s not good to simply accept it uncritically. if a responsible adult wants to dutty wine, it’s all good. (i don’t, but that’s just cuz it’s so headache-inducing.) however, a couple of months ago at the brooklyn west indian day parade, i saw a very pregnant young teenage girl doing the dutty wine on the street. i thought it was a very sad commentary. i agree that we shouldn’t encourage our children to become sexualized at a young age. it is just this sort of thing that leads to kids becoming parents before they are old enough to take responsibility for themselves. and in regards to the post about eurocentrism, i would just say that not monitoring children’s only feeds into unfortunate ideals that black people are oversexed “heathens.” and in regards to the dutty wine in relation to west african dance, we must also remember that there were dances that children performed, and then there were dances that women performed to mark their coming of age. and those dances are very different.

  36. I’ve never heard of this ahead of. I’ll definately need to verify these out.

Speak Your Mind

*