King Yellowman

King Yellowman

Meaningful Bodies in Jamaican Dancehall Culture

by Brent Hagerman

396 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in

  • Paperback
  • 9789766408510
  • Published: September 2021



Jamaican deejay Yellowman divided a country with his bawdy songs and his very body: he has been wildly popular among dancehall fans, yet widely despised by polite society. Even though his contribution to Jamaican musical culture is immense, scholars have ignored him and reggae histories have largely misunderstood him.

King Yellowman: Meaningful Bodies in Jamaican Dancehall Culture is the first serious study of one Jamaica's most significant artists and dancehall’s first major international star. It is a critical biography designed to satisfy fans while furthering academic discourse on dancehall by offering a new perspective on the way Yellowman negotiates the slackness/culture binary in Jamaican music.

Based on years of ethnographic fieldwork, Brent Hagerman begins with the compelling story of Winston Foster’s early life as an abandoned ghetto outcast and his hard-fought journey to become the King of Dancehall, then goes on to a critical exploration of the marginalization of people with albinism in Jamaica and the use of slackness in Caribbean music. Through slackness and his mobilization of Rastafarian symbols, Yellowman subverts embedded Jamaican cultural notions of sexuality, gender, and race to overcome his cultural displacement, promote his yellow body as sexually appealing and forge a place for himself among the Jamaican body politic.