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Punk as Fuck! Inside a vibrant ’90s Kingston dancehall community

Dancehall is one of the cornerstones of Youth Culture. There would be no Hip Hop or Punk Rock without Dancehall. Everything about this subculture is DIY and beyond! On a personal level, I wouldn’t be who I am without being a part of this culture in the late ’80s and ’90s! Check out this killer feature that Huck just published about Akeem Smith‘s new exhibition via Red Bull Gallery.

via Huck

Text by Miss Rosen | Photography © Akeem Smith

Dancehall emerged in Jamaica in the late 1970s, as a new generation forged an indigenous national identity coming of age in the years following independence from the UK. Embracing the already well-established tradition of sound system culture, the movement made itself known at local gatherings around Kingston, quickly radiating across the Caribbean diaspora. 

Growing up between Kingston and Brooklyn, Section 8 fashion designer, stylist, and artist Akeem Smith, 29, became heavily involved in the dancehall scene. His aunt Paula and grandmother co-founded the Ouch Collective – a niche fashion house that created iconic outfits for the dancers. 

Over the past 12 years, Smith began creating an extensive archive of artefacts chronicling the 1990s dancehall scene that forms the basis for the new exhibition, No Gyal Can Test. Smith weaves together scenes from the era in a multi-disciplinary show that combines photography, video, ephemera, sculpture, fashion, and audio components to evoke the extraordinary creative spirit of dancehall. 

“Akeem’s a poet with an exceptional personal history from which he draws upon, using his growing archive and a carefully culled collection of objects and architectural remnants to weave together compositions that tell a richer story of dancehall that counters the common pop culture narrative,” says Max Wolf, Chief Curator at Red Bull Arts.  Read full feature HERE!

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