Moving Dancehall Off the Island: Female Sexuality and Club Culture in Toronto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While there has been an exciting growth in scholarship on dancehall culture,
primarily in the fields of cultural and literary studies as they relate to Jamaica,
more attention needs to be given to its configuration in other geographical
locations and other popular culture arenas. This article explores dancehall
culture from a geographic site, in Toronto, which, despite its large Caribbean
population, is often a mere footnote in larger diasporic studies. Moving beyond
the proclivity of viewing dancehall culture and music from a purely patriarchal
misogynistic viewpoint, the article focuses on the redemptive and empowering
possibilities that this popular Black expressive form holds. It underscores how
dancehall culture and music challenge hegemonic scripts predicated on
stereotypes of Black women’s sexuality. Despite the contradictions inherent in
the music and the performance of female artists such as Lady Saw and Tanya
Stephens, dancehall culture evokes women as active agents who are able to
articulate their sexual desires.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-207
JournalCaribbean Review of Gender Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2014


  • sexuality
  • dancehall music
  • black/caribbean women
  • dance

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