Words by Emily Shapiro—
There is no question that when your average person thinks of dancehall, they think sex, whether it’s Skerrit Bwoy in his daggering days or pumpum short-clad women from Sean Paul or Beenie Man’s classic videos. The “Dancehall Queen,” in the eyes of most, is a one-dimensional image involving skin and booty popping. Of course, we at Large Up and you, our well-informed readers, know that to dance like the women we see in videos and on stage, you have to be athletic and disciplined. Head topping is not an amateur skill one learns overnight, and ticking your waistline with precision can take years of practice.
Apparently, the folks who made the video you are about to see had the layman’s view of dancehall but, fortunately, the resulting product turned out to be pretty… interesting. Directed by Mikki Loma, for an exhibition in Helsinki, Finland called “Thank You for the Music” in 2012, “Grind” is a “playful take on dancehall culture” (which, according to these folks, was “popularized in the 1990’s on MTV”) and its “blatant sexuality.” It’s true that this video perpetuates some incorrect ideas about dancehall culture (and the dancing could be a little better) but we couldn’t quite turn away when we watched it so, we thought it was worth a share. Comments welcome!