Words by The Large—
DJ/writer/publisher/visual culture expert The Large is truly a “jill” of all trades. Her latest score is co-curating (along with Al Fingers) the super hype “Art in the Dancehall” exhibit currently on display in Birmingham, England, featuring the works of people like Limonious, Jamaal Peete, Tony McDermott, Sassafras, Robin Clare, Ellen G and more. Here she shares her thoughts on one of her aesthetic (and audio) inspirations, in Beenie Man’s “World Dance.”
When we were first discussing putting together “Art in the Dancehall”—which features an embroidery of Buju Banton’s Stamina Daddy suit made by Daniel David Freeman—I did a lot of thinking about some of my favourite dancehall visuals, including suits and outfits, from clashes to covers. The mid-90s was killer for bold patterned suits and this one that Beenie wears in “World Dance” is one of the greatest.
Admittedly, I was very young when this video came out and probably didn’t see it ’til a few years ago, but I love it for many reasons. It embodies so much of what dancehall has to offer—most importantly, it is a BAD tune from Beenie, that takes its chorus melody from “Leaving on Jet Plane,” but it also has such a great visual presence: from the characters featured, to the ’90s dancehall style and fashion (leather dungarees, Kangol, bright shirts, mesh marinas, gold chains and those sunglasses), and those recognizable murals from Black Roses Corner (named after Barrington’s “Black Roses,” I believe) as backdrop.
The World Dance itself was created by the one and only Bogle, and the video features the Black Roses Crew bussing the dance that really ran things that year, just as the song declared: “A new dance weh Beenie find again, a run di street and di lane and round di bend.”
Make sure to watch out for those cartoons and budget visuals towards the end, too.