DHQ Carlene demands credit for dancehall revolution
When US rapper Saweetie dropped photos of one of the outfits she wore in her latest music video, the ensemble held striking resemblance to designs worn by 90s Dancehall Queen (DHQ) Carlene.
Twitter users placed photos of Saweetie's outfit alongside some of those worn by DHQ Carlene back in her heyday, and jump-started conversations about cultural appropriation and the common practice of US artistes 'borrowing' elements of the dancehall culture, without crediting its creators.
DHQ Carlene, contacted by THE WEEKEND STAR, said that while many foreigners borrow from local culture without crediting the requisite persons, Jamaicans are guilty of not paying homage to their own trailblazers.
"I have never heard a Jamaican artiste big me up for what I have done. They all come with the sex symbol kinda thing, but that wasn't dancehall before me. You look back and see! And none of them have ever said, 'I am doing this because of what Carlene did or what any of the original dancehall trendsetters did'. So why are we jumping onto the backs of the Americans? Is it because we are Jamaicans and we are entitled to it?" she questioned.
"I not saying that I am OK with what the Americans -- or anyone else around the world -- do when they imitate our culture and don't give us credit. I am just saying that if we want that respect, it starts right here at home."
"Go back and look what music fashion was, especially in hip hop before the 90s. It was big clothes, heavy clothes. We changed that. I changed that," she continued, adding that instead of crediting her, persons "more want to put me dung".
The former dancer said that persons overseas who borrow from the Jamaican culture may be minded to credit the creators if they could identify them.
"Way back when, Lil Kim said in one of her interviews that her look (with the blue wig) was inspired by dancehall, and so if they know who to credit, they will," she said.
Speaking about Saweetie's outfits, DHQ Carlene said that "it's clear" that "the look was inspired by dancehall".
"That's dancehall all the way. But I can't bash her for not crediting dancehall because she may not even know who to credit. I have to big up (Culture) Minister Babsy Grange because she is the only person outside of the industry players themselves who make sure that people know who to give credit to for certain things," DHQ Carlene said.