For the past couple months a release by Iwan entitled ‘Oman Ova Battyman’ (Woman Over Battyman) on the Ay3 riddim has been getting some traction on radio (and sound systems naturally) by an unofficial edited version apparently though not official as my checks revealed an original radio version was not released on the promotional CD.
“Nuh Battyman Sex ....” was the line that seems to get the ‘forwud’ more than the hook “Oman over battyman ... is Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve” The ideological imperative of the unnaturalness of homosexuality and the naturalness of heterosexuality is at work here. The closely related, primary imperative is that which broadly asserts that homosexuality is contrary to the sexuality nature has inscribed in the human, and for exclusively procreative purposes. That this imperative manifests not only in secular popular song. The audible sounds imitating gunshots were clear from some of the men nearby in agreement with the lyrics although Iwan seems to have been very careful to stay away from the usual prescriptive call for our execution via shots, burning or at the least a sound beating. Probably he realizes the implications for his career as a newcomer to the business and the pressures faced by more established dancehall acts such as Beeniemen or Buju Banton.
My question to Iwan is then women do not have an anus too and where is his abhorrence to heterosexual anal sex?
The misogynistic narrative is clear reducing women to mere sex objects and available upon a man’s request with or without her consent; Cecil Gutzmore from his paper on Policing Homosexuality ....... said it best “Disapproval is strategically deployed not only against such traditionally designated social ‘perversions’ as homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestism, trans-sexuality, and so forth, but also against a number of more ‘day-to-day’ activities relating to the sexed – especially the female – body, particularly in respect of its un/dress, hair-styling, and the like. Iwan does this while emphasizing the procreation imperative both on the part of Iwan himself and that of having a woman in the first place.
One of the stanzas says it clearly:
“Mi see pump um, mi nuh fancy nuh backside” (I say vagina I do not fancy backside or the anus) with the religious condemnation imperative infused:
“Mi nuh fancy nuh evil ...... Satan can play me like noodle,” clearly saying homosexuality is wrong and is condemned by God while nicely condoning illicit sex, multiple partnering and randomising use of women for sexual purposes all of which the same God in his word and over used opinions by apostles/theologians such as Paul professing monogamous relations.
“Mi neva know a man mother as a man ....” also adding to the procreation ambit as well but if our brethren Iwan was aware the traditional thinking and practice of procreation via copulation has changed and that even same gender loving couples or heterosexual couples wanting children or those who have difficulty having them can do so via stem cell reprogramming; while even choosing the gender of the child instead of adoption or foster care routes. The use of such songs to gain attention is not uncommon Beenieman did it when his career was slouched in the 2000s but he released “All Battyman Fi Dead” and he was back in the game.
TOK’s ‘Chi Chi Man’ for example came at a time when previous releases were going virtually nowhere except tracks like “Eagle dem fly” and other minor hits for them at that time.
The inherent masking and double standards I dare say hypocrisy is glaring and homophobia becomes more entrenched than ever. The models in the video and dance moves very suggestively too are part and parcel of the skewed sexualising if you will that has come to dominate dancehall, I aint no academic but it is clear to me that many of our problems of unfathered children, crime and related societal problems stem from the narratives over the decades that give rise to them. While it is clear that dancehall came from behind Reggae as a rebellious genre for the non musician to still be in the business make hits and by extension make money, it is in that vein that we see the badmanship, bravado and so on are used to sure up or compensate the marginalization of Jamaican men just by being poor and from the ghetto.
“Mi nuh inna battyman talk, mi nuh inna battyman walk, mi nuh inna battyman flex, nuh battyman keys no battyman sex” (I am not into gay men’s talk [cadence of speech] I am not into gay men’s walk [effeminate gait] ...... I am not into gay men’s sex [anal penetration specifically] Iwan continues midway the song clearly saying effeminacy in all is spheres is the clear sign of male homosexuality and that anal sex is the be all and end all for men who have sex with men. Iwan like many others is unaware that though it may sound unbelievable not all men who explore same gender sex or identify as gay actually practice anal sex. Iwan like others in anti gay and murder music songs ignore non penetrative activity between men as a reality to begin with.
“Billy goat fi di Nanny Goat, why man have fi climb pon man? Mi nuh overstand (Billy goat for a Nanny goat [female goat] why a man has to indulge in anal sex [climb on a man suggest literal backshot anal intercourse] I do not understand [‘overstand’ is a rebellious remark to ‘understand’ as ‘under’ in Rastafarian terms suggests something negative, condescending or assuming a lesser powered role or a threat to a man’s manhood/bravado.
But Iwan seems behind as tight pants once so vilified in dancehall by some of the same folks who are sporting them now he (Iwan) is not upset; bearing in mind some pants are so close we see prints and ass cheeks showing so sumptuous to the wandering mind.
Changing hearts and minds while forcing in some way or form the unlearning of these highly prized narratives is so needed. Law reform is one thing but the widening of understanding is a totally different ballgame.
Peace & tolerance
“So Alkaline bleach and get bigger inna Dancehall so other man a try do it and hope it get him luck,” said one user.
Another user posted that the entertainers are now going to extreme lengths to get attention.
“Man put things inna them eye, man a bleach the skin them get from God just fi stay relevant in Dancehall, it’s sad,” said the user.