In the Dancehall

PrizeShortlist in Photography
ArtistConstanze Han

In the 1970's, Jamaica was marked by a political and economic instability. In this decade, Roots Reggae and its conscious messages had spread internationally, yet many Jamaicans at home felt alienated from this movement as they felt these messages had not improved the poverty, violence and everyday struggles they faced. Through this sentiment, emerged a subgenre of Reggae called Dancehall. Raw, brash and ostentatious with new themes of dancing, sexuality and violence, Dancehall became the music and culture of the disenfranchised. It became an economic driver and stabilizing force within the tension and violence ridden urban areas. Dancehall events became a place where people would dress up in their best outfits and finest jewelry. Personal appearance and the ability to stand out from others using fashion and styling cultivated a heavy visual emphasis within the culture. These photographs, show some of the creators of authentic Dancehall music and culture.