Kartel’s Skin Bleaching is a topic that is quite pertinent right now. If you were following dancehall from the early noughties you’ll remember Kartel as a Dark-skinned black man, even up to two three years ago he was quite dark. During their rivalry Mavado and others were accusing Kartel of bleaching, a notable example the stinging “Nuh Bleach Wid Cream” diss song from Mavado. At this time Kartel denied the claims “Yuh Bleachin’ Argument Stale Out…” he stated on Weh Dat Fah. An old song ‘Wah di bleaching Fah’ recently leaked by Kartel even criticizes bleachers. However two years later his increasing levels of success seems to correlate with the lightening shade of his skin! There is no dispute he is doing something whether it be bleach or this supposed ‘Cake Soap’ fad. Unless you’re visually impaired it is plain as day and he is now extremely vocal about his skin whitening exploits in numerous songs and interviews.
At the end of the day there is nothing new “under the sun” LOL literally, skin bleaching ain’t new. It is a sub-practice amongst people with ‘colour/melanin’ in their skin. Bleachers do so for differing reasons self image, trying to even out skin tone, health conditions and probably others. I’m not a psychologist or a preacher so this post is not to scrutinize or judge the cross section of bleachers, ah fi dem business that! BUT it is important to consider a lot of these products are detrimental to a person’s health. The banned substance hydroquinone has been linked to leukemia and can still be found in creams in the ‘developing world.’Kartel, though is now referring to himself as “Michael ‘Cake Soap’ Jackson”…*PAUSE* BigManTing ah wha do him? Really? I’ve written posts in the past referring to how often the most talented artists are the most disturbed and it seems as though Kartel is seeking to prove my point. How or why would anyone cognitively think the late MJ’s skin was something to be emulated…It goes back to this idea of success I previously discussed no doubt MJ was a talented and successful artist, but his life was not.
The problem here for me arises from listening to the things Kartel has been saying lately though. On the newly released ‘Look Pon We’ featuring Russian he debuts his new adlib, a laugh which is supposed to be reminiscent of MJ’s and which alludes to this Cake Soap Jackson moniker he goes on to state on the hook “di gal dem love off di bleach out face” and in a verse: “gal dem say Russian favour Anglo-Saxon.” Giving the impression that his ‘new look’ is something positive, and that even looking white when you’re born a black man… I can’t rate.
What I have noticed about Kartel is his unwavering work ethic, he releases promotional singles as if he is still an emerging artist (some say in compromise for the quality of music), sometimes releasing four or five songs in a week. He has stated that him a pree money, signed the Reggae Compasionate Act contract (which denounces violent and homophobic content in songs) and in turn the nature of his music has dramatically changed to fundamentally girl songs.
In an interview with Hot 102 FM DJ Richard Burgess lately Kartel made some interesting remarks. I find it notable he refers to himself often as ‘Vybz Kartel’ in the third person, to me it signifies the persona he puts on as an artist much like this Beyonce ‘Sacha Fierce’ business. BUT Kartel seems to be someone who will go to any length for ‘success.’ He states “Vybz Kartel is a person with which you should expect the unexpected..Vybz Kartel is the kind of person that put on braces just for style nuttin’ nuh wrong wid mi teeth…Vybz Kartel is an outrageous person and a person who basks in controversy, people ah call mi name, mi good wid it!” No doubt this post feeds into his ploys for attention. He goes on “Everything that I do is planned, precise, concise” this in reference to the impending release of his own brand of cake soap which he claims gave him his colour. “The culture we have in Jamaica we study the good and the bad and you notice this bleaching phenomenon is a big phenomenon in dancehall…Vybz Kartel was expecting this. “Vybz Kartel always benefits from his actions, I have a brand of cake soap comin’ out.” No doubt he is smart alie? All this is premeditated…He further goes on to compare to his smash ‘Clark’s’ and a line of shoes he will release called ‘Addi’s.’ For the full interview check the video below:
In another interview he likens skin bleaching to white people tanning, asserting that it is just a different look. Asked whether he was leading young people astray he states: “No, I think I’m a DJ just doing music I never signed on to be a political or a religious leader.”
All of this to me shows that Kartel should not be considered a leader. As he has said he does not owe anyone anything he is just trying to make money, working hard and using his ridiculous gimics. He has shown where he lacks integrity. His obvious change of heart concerning bleaching, his about turn concerning homosexuals (who he actively chastised), his embracing of ‘freakiness’ from females. All these sudden changes indicate a man who lacks moral grounding. He will do or say ANYTHING to cop his S-Class Benz. What would he not compromise for success? What other ideologies which he has denounced will he try to pass as new fads in the future? There is nothing wrong with Kartel having his gimics, to me the problem arises from using his influence to corrupt others and subsequently make money from such negativity. I will still enjoy while he makes good music, but I cannot support negativity such as bleaching like the hardcore Gaza fans..music mi seh still!