Literally, to bow is to bend or incline (the knee, body, or head) in worship, submission, respect, civility, agreement, etc.
In the dancehall sense of the word, bowing suggests deference to the woman’s pleasure, a gesture no upstanding man is prepared to admit that he makes, according to Carolyn Cooper.
Yet, of course, women do bow as well.
It’s the golden rule:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In some instances, bowing is not reciprocal, a clear case of ‘wash-over gold’ misrule.
Shabba Ranks’ 1990 hit single “Dem Bow” is a classic chant of damnation against those who do, in fact, bow.
The DJ condemns both cunnilingus and fellatio in graphic imagery:
“man under table” and “lipstick pon hxxd head”.
Oral sex is seen as deviant behaviour coming from ‘foreign’ to corrupt supposedly ‘pure’ Jamaican culture, according to Cooper.
Like homosexuality, oral sex is vigorously censured in dancehall lyrics.
Cooper believes that the DJs protest intensively while their obsessive attack on certain sexual behaviors that would make many wonder if they’re not running and a-running and a-running away from themselves, with apologies to Bob Marley.
If that’s not so, many will also agree that it’s high time for the DJs to stop minding other people’s sexual business.
On that score, she congratulated dancehall star Beenie Man for having the good sense to bow out of the name-calling game.
Cooper admitted that the United States Embassy in Jamaica must also be congratulated for bowing to reason and giving back the DJ a work permit.
Beenie Man has been much derided for his decision to make an uneasy peace with gay-rights activists.
Dancehall veteran Bounty Killer has charged Beenie Man with selling out.
In an interview reported with OutAroad, Killer is alleged to have said:
“Me can’t ever put a dollar over Jamaica and its culture. If it wasn’t for dancehall and its culture, I don’t know where or who I’d be today. Mi nuh sorry fi nothing that I said or sang; I am sorry to know it offended anybody, but that’s how I see it. My views and beliefs, all I can say is that homosexuals fi stop try ban we shows and dancehall must leave dem alone to God still and let peace reign.”
Bounty Killer’s ‘leave dem alone to God still’ concession is not as innocuous as it seems.
In Jamaican parlance, leaving someone to God is a fate worse than death and at the the same, Killer’s accommodating posture is definitely an act of bowing, as reported by Cooper.
Killer conceded that dancehall DJs should stop acting on God’s behalf and leave judgement to him or her.
This is a major advance in dancehall sexual politics that must be resoundingly applauded, according to Cooper.