What the Hell is Slackness???

Candice Stewart – Yaadinfo Contributor

I think defining the term slackness is relative to the culture, the person, the situation. What the hell is slackness???

Some say slackness is unruly behaviour as sometimes displayed in the Jamaican Dancehall. Some say slackness is evident in the brutality with which our gunmen, cops and soldiers operate. Others define slackness as characterised by the neglect of children. The list could go on from now ’til Tivoli Gardens residents utter a bad word about Edward Seaga. I actually did a couple minutes of browsing for the term slackness and would you believe that almost all the results from the various search engines landed on the whole Dancehall culture and the behaviour displayed. The results touched on the vulgarity and the profanity and the anti-gay (for want of a better term) sentiments. But it stopped there.

Nude ArtThe word slack is found in the English vocabulary, and the English definition ranges from being negligent towards duties to the decrease in productivity. I am frankly quite annoyed at the fact that, like the search engines, if some persons are asked to define the word slackness, the first thing that comes to their minds is the dancehall, specific songs, and some artistes. Now, if we are going to base the term slackness on vulgarity and profanity, we should all associate “slackness” with these lovely poetry readings that we attend and snap our fingers. We should associate slackness with these genius works of art in some galleries and art shows.

How about that? Ever thought about that? I know that half of the folks reading this did not even think to associate these art forms with slackness. What we need to realize is that nothing should be viewed through only one type of lens. I think we should view “slackness” through many different lenses. This principle should be applied to other facets of life as well.

As the English definitions have it, slackness refers to the negligence toward duties, decrease in productivity, among others. With that being said, slackness is going to work late just because you are the boss. Slackness is the “no care” attitude some parents have for the welfare of their children. Slackness is the abuse issued to the homeless, elderly, mentally unstable and the disabled. Slackness is the bending of our morals to suit certain activists, while putting up with the lifestyle they defend. Slackness is the abuse issued by members of law enforcement on citizens of this country. Slackness is the abuse issued by the citizens of this country on the law enforcers. Slackness is the unwillingness to volunteer to help those less fortunate than yourself. Slackness is studying 24/7 with no time to relax. Slackness is infidelity, slackness is incest.

As young as I am I know a thing or two about Lady Saw. One great thing I know about this woman is that she recorded a song entitled “What is Slackness”. The song, I believe, forced many to stop and think. I stopped, I thought. She diverted from the stereotyped dancehall slackness and asked questions relating to infrastructure that needed attention, the absurdities that obtain in politics, and their effects on this country, and asked “what really is slackness?”. There are so many things happening locally, regionally and internationally that are utter slackness. We need to keep an open mind. The next time you are asked about slackness, think about the question. That is a really profound question, I think it deserves an intellectual response (one that is not subjective nor viewed through only one lens).

Now ask it wherever you go. “What is slackness?”