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Dancehall is Goin’ Through it

The inquisition of Buju Banton, Gully vs Gaza, Lisa Hype bleaching and blowing, pencil foot boys, and Shebada

Representations of a monolithically homophobic Jamaica are disintegrating. While international gay rights groups clumsily forced cancellations of Jamaican performances worldwide, Shebada made paper and did more to challenge internal stereotypes than any foreign protest.

Shebada, (aka Keith Ramsey) is a fixture of Jamaica’s thriving roots comedy circuit and undeniably the most popular batty boy in the nation’s history. While he started with a cover wife, that ended poorly, he now declines direct comment on the topic of sexual orientation. Shebada’s dancehall queen physique and gender-negative presentation are in high demand by audiences at home and abroad. His productions Bashment Granny and Serious Business sell out arenas and high school auditoriums across the Caribbean and North America.  His parties are legendary.

In Granny, Shebada transforms a desperate older man into a dancehall queen. To properly educate this reluctant cross dresser, Shebada breaks every possible wine, walks the runway, bleaches out his face and generally breaks every taboo of Jamaican masculinity. No batty boy running from the fire, the character of Shebada and the private success of Keith Ramsey is inseparable from the dancehall futurism that got Elephant Man in skinny jeans and Ricky Blaze making cunt beats. Shebada is a tough topic in dancehall, but in the last few years violent homophobic content in the genre has declined. Not a movement, but a softening of borders. He is the first legend for dancehall fags everywhere, the boys who bruk out when the DJ drops Chi Chi Man.
I see you.

Brian Friedberg’s blog Wasted Youth SoundSystem



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