The Government of Grenada has denied performance work permits to popular Jamaican Dancehall Artist Adija Palmer aka Vybz Kartel, and his band. Kartel, whose controversial lyrics have brought him lots of media attention both in and out of Jamaica, was scheduled to perform a “rap-it-up” concert in Grenville St. Andrews on Sat. May 2nd 2009, where his popular Daggering condom was to be officially launched.
Vybz Kartel, who is well known for his hard hitting ghetto lyrics and rival showdowns with popular Artist Mavado, has been leaning towards more positive messages in his songs, with emphasis on respecting Women and Mothers and making Money. Vybz Kartel’s recent release “Mama” has taken the charts by storm, and the Artist will be doing several performances in the Caribbean, to include neighboring Trinidad and Tobago on May 8th 2009.
No reason was given by the Ministry of Labour in Grenada for the refusal of the work permits, but the sensitive issue of censorship or freedom of expression may have been at the forefront. The promoter of the event Dexter Tillock is claiming thousand of dollars in losses and is now seeking legal advice, since neither himself nor the Artists were aware of the Government’s blacklisting.
Vybz Kartel last performed in Grenada Dec. 5th 2008 to a sold out audience.
An Associated Press release, however, stated that a government official had issued a statement that Grenada has barred a Jamaican rapper from performing because of his raunchy lyrics.
It quotes Senator Ann Peters, a junior health minister and chair of Grenada's national AIDS Council, as saying that "lyrics that seem to promote violence have raised concern and led the government to deny the rapper a performance permit".