Another segment of the Jamaican populace is up in arms about the antics of the charismatic and popular radio personality Dr. Kingsley “Ragashanti” Stewart. This time it is the turn of the lesbians!
The precise area of angst, is that sometime in late November the self-styled “King of Mix Up” started dedicating themed programming to Lesbian Mix Up. The result has been a cocktail of personal business, innuendos and facts about lesbianism in Jamaica. In deed what has some lesbian and gay rights activists up in arms is that their sexual preferences are: being denegrated to the level of entertainment for the general population;community codes are liberally being discussed placing members at risk and the unmanaged discussions could lead to lesbophobia.
However, to argue that the Ragashanti discussions could lead to lesbophobia is to assume none existed before; worse to assume that it could cause a rise in that phobia is to insist that some pre-existing metric or test had clearly established a level such that a rise or growth can be assessed. Further, when the text of Lesbian Mix Up is placed within the context of Ragashanti’s programming it does acquire an air of normalcy. Let us recall that the programme ( Ragashanti Live) is dedicated to quintessential Jamaican “Mix Up” or what our friends in Trinidad may call Bacchanal.
Yet what must not escape our collective senses is that Ragashanti is just a Talk Show Host as such he plays a role akin to a referee. He is the one providing context but not content for his programme. That content is being provided by his call-in listenership and it is utterly demand driven. As a consequence those arguing that the purpose of the theme (Lesbian Mix Up) is a thin veil to disguise his (Ragashanti’s) own possible homosexuality should stop and assess themselves or query whether that is not a projection of their own desires. Judging from the callers and the use of codes it is members of the lesbian community that has brought bucket, pail, dirty laundry and the Fab soap to the stand pipe. All Ragashanti did was provide the stand pipe, no one needed to have gone there to wash.
In the final analysis, Ragashanti’s Lesbian Mix Up is an opportunity to engage the wider Jamaican population about Lesbianism. That is, it is an opportunity to turn entertainment into Edutainment and a form that is easily distinguishable from initiation which is usually the argument persons have against sexuality education. Whilst much of the content being discussed on the programme is unsavoury and not necessarily representative of the fulcrum of personalities within the lesbian community, it nevertheless shows that lesbians are human beings. It illustrates that like all other beings lesbians feel hurt, feel love and give bun too. In fact more discussions like these could precipitate stigma reduction and promote raising of tolerance levels. But alas no metric exists that states the society’s existing tolerance levels.