JDF Seemingly Responds To Critics Of Its Independence Day Dancehall Drill

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has implicitly responded to criticisms of its soldiers’ performance during the Independence Day Gala on Sunday, where they combined traditional drill movements and rifle techniques with popular Dancehall dance moves, including the Rifle Walk dance.

The criticisms came after Television Jamaica shared aspects of the military Drill Display at the National Stadium by a team comprising The Jamaica Regiment, the Maritime Air and Cyber Command, and the Caribbean Military Academy. 

In the display, the servicemen and women fused their rifles in the dance moves in tandem with beats such as Mission Impossible, and songs such as Teejay’s Drift, Vybz Kartel’s Summertime, and Ding Dong and Voicemail’s Just Dance Wacky Dip.

The soldiers’ presentation for persons in attendance at the gala had also featured the uniforms and vehicles of the past, and a Massed Band, which included members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. 

They had also formed the Guard of Honour, comprising members of the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force (JCCF).

JDF (Instagram)
Members of the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force, on parade during the August 6 Independence Day Grand Gala, held at the National Stadium, in St. Andrew. PHOTO: RUDRANATH FRASER

However, while many were in awe and expressed glee that the soldiers were using their weapons to demonstrate the ‘real, legal rifle walk,’ others cursed the JDF and likened the organization to a “patty shop,” among other things.

This morning the JDF, via its Instagram page, declared unapologetically that it was happy with the Dancehall display, which is a part of Jamaican culture.

“Dance and music IS a part of who we are. 🇯🇲.  A round of applause for the JDF 👏🏾,” the organization stated.

Two days earlier, the JDF had bragged about the performance of its Drill Display Team, noting that the soldiers had “put on quite a show for patrons attending Jamaica’s Grand Gala inside the National Stadium”

“The team comprising: The Jamaica Regiment, the Maritime Air and Cyber Command and the Caribbean Military Academy combined traditional drill movements and rifle techniques with popular dance moves much to the delight of the patrons,” it had stated.

The JDF and Reggae/Dancehall have had a symbiotic love affair over the years.  In the case of the military, Dancehall parties have being a mainstay at Friday night after-work and other events.  Additionally, in years gone by the JDF would to stage a huge Military Stage show featuring numerous Dancehall artistes, with the aid of chief among them the late Dancehall deejay, Captain Barkey who formerly served in the First Battalion the Jamaica Regiment.

Some of the events featuring popular music were scaled down or abandoned by the JDF, after residents in neighbouring housing developments complained incessantly, of night noise.

However, Dancehall acts have been featured each year at the JDF’s Men’s Dinner at Christmas time.  Over the last few years, acts such as Agent Sasco, Capleton and Merciless have been the artists of choice to provide entertainment for soldiers at these events, with King Shango having Coast Guard soldiers dancing up a storm at their base in 2019.

Dancehall artists, in turn, have paid homage to the JDF time and time again, among them Buccaneer, who, in 1997, created a beat that he titled the JDF Riddim, on his Opera House label.

The riddim featured five tracks, namely Yuh Conscience Free by Alley Cat; Gal Skin fi Bore by Buccaneer and Red Rat; Run Di Bwoy by General Degree;  When mi Hole Yuh by Goofy (Mr G and Ahwkeye with Cry fi Unu Gal.

In 2004, Christopher Birch produced the Military Riddim, which was released under his label Birchill Records.  The Military riddim which has a distinct military march band rhythm pattern, and characteristic melody of the synthetic horns, had a cover art that featured a patrol vehicle bearing the Jamaican national flag and a skimpily clad model decked out in camouflage. 

The Military riddim featured 39 tracks and had a slew of Dancehall heavyweights including Bounty Killer, Lady Saw, Sean Paul, Vybz Kartel  TOK, Beenie Man, General Degree, Shane O, Wayne Marshall, Tanya Stephens, Macka Diamond Mad Cobra, Kiprich and Elephant Man.

Bounty Killer scored with Target and Warlord Walk, while Sean Paul also had two songs on the beat: Got Them Weak and Yuh a Pro, and Lady Saw deejayed about her badness on Pound For Pound and Round For Round.

Vybz Kartel had 4 Star and Step if You a Step, while Step Pon Dem by Agent Sasco was also a huge hit.

The Military riddim had come on the heels of the Stepz Riddim which was based on a similar military march band rhythm pattern. Stepz was produced by Serani, DJ Delano,  Cezar Cunningham and Michael “Factor” Jarrett for Renaissance Records.

The uptempo riddim, which featured 29 tracks, featured Sean Paul with his mega-hit We Be Burning, Capleton with the mega-hit Or Wah, Assassin (Agent Sasco) with Idiot Ting Dat; Lady Saw with Dreaming; Bounty Killer with Killing a Killing and Wayne Marshall with King Pin.

The beat also had songs such as Tami Chinn’s Hyperventilating and T.O.K’s Survivor.

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