Friday, July 17, 2015


Marion Hall aka Lady Saw

With these words Marion Hall aka Lady Saw launched herself into the consciousness of the Jamaican people.  She was raw.  She was uninhibited.  She spoke about sex like no one before her, except for Shabba Ranks.  She took what the men were saying, threw it back in their faces and made it her own.

From telling men what she wanted them to do to her “Stab up mi meat

To letting them know that now is the time

Its raining my body is calling, I am in need of my darling, me well want the fire under me herring”.

To challenging them as to whether or not they were worthy of her body

Baby are you up for this give me all that slamming so that I can turn and twist”. 

And then she got truly romantic but her message was always clear

 There was outrage.  She was disrespecting women.  She was disrespecting herself.  How dare she call a man on stage and proceed to show him just how much she wanted to feel him inside her.  Before there was 50 Shades of Grey, there was Lady Saw.  An artiste extraordinaire. 

Lady Saw has been vilified in the media, most notably the Jamaican media.  She has been banned from countries because of her lyrics and her on court performances, however, like good wine she just keeps coming back.  There were even calls by the local Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce to ban her from ever performing in that city ever again.   

Her personal life story reflects the personal life stories of many women.  You find a man, you give him your all and he turns around and cheats on you.  You say that you are finished, but there is an attraction there that you can’t resist and so you keep going back for more.  A bad relationship is akin to a moth to a flame.  No matter how much the moth gets burned, it is attracted to the flame and so it keeps going back until it is burnt to a crisp.

Why am I writing about Lady Saw on today of all days?  Because for the first time in the history of reggae and dancehall music, a female artiste was allowed to close Dancehall Night at Reggae Sumfest on Thursday (16 July 2015).  To understand how truly historic this is, there have been artistes who do not have the catalogue of music that Lady Saw has in her arsenal who have closed Dancehall Night in years past.  It is a testament to Lady Saw’s longevity as well as the turning tide in the Jamaican music culture that this has been allowed to happen.   As a dancehall artiste in Jamaica, there are 2 shows at which artistes perform from which they can tell whether they have been accepted by the Jamaican public or not.  The first is Sting, which is held in December each year.  Sting, has over the years made or break careers.   Dancehall Night at Reggae Sumfest is the other event.  For the organisers to have invited Lady Saw to close the show speaks to the stature with which she is held in Jamaican dancehall circles.  

As someone who has been a huge fan of Dancehall and in particular Lady Saw for more years than I care to remember, my only regret is that I was not there to witness this truly historic occasion.

Lady Saw you will forever be my inspiration.  Continue to do what you do.  Continue to inspire other female artistes, even though they will never deign to give you your due. Continue to be you.

1 comment:

Diane said...

I enjoyed reading this. I can only imagine how powerful it was to have her close the event.

I was in Jamaica in the mid-70s and got to enjoy the outdoor discos and also visit a recording studio in Kingston. I went to a great party and was taught the Jamaican-style two-step. There was still a reggae radio ban at the time and everyone had tape players with reggae. I think I would like to see Lady Saw :)