Weh yu jus seh? (What did you just say?)
It still amazes me how people somehow find it ok to use cultural words that they don’t understand fully, with no idea of their context or true meaning. I would happen to fall into one of the most targeted cultures…the Jamaican culture. Language/Dialect/Creole? PATOIS.
Since living in the USA, and also being a performer, I have had one too many times when my Jamaican introduction is greeted with choruses of mouth-made vocal gun shots (important I state they were mouth made). “Brap, Brap” (single shots), “Brapapapapapapap” (the ‘Rapid Fire’ Machine Gun), “Blow Blow” (That is the ‘Shot Gun’), “Pie Pie Pie” (this is the hand pistol); Whatever the weapon of choice, it intrigues me that this is one of the highlights of my culture to the non-native Jamaican.
You also can’t forget the use of the word, B0mboCl@@t, like it’s a party favour. Funny the persons doing this don’t see me cringe every time they attempt to pronounce it (incorrectly mind you), and not understand that the visions I associate with this word are a weave about to be pulled out, a man about to get stabbed, often times just anyone at the peak of their anger, and in all fairness to them, many times as a term of endearment or extreme excitement, for instance to forward a big chune (aka used at peak of excitement when hearing a good song. In this way it kinda functions like a testosterone-driven “Guuuuuuuuuuurrrl daz my sooooooooooong!”). It could also happen when you see a really hot car pass by…then you let out the super loooooong one.
Truthfully the biggest fear for me is that I will be at a formal event with said friend who doesn’t appreciate the context of my culture, and of course it will come up that I’m Jamaican, and my friend will pleasantly launch into a string of their favourite new Jamaican words, and I, well I will be a dark shade of purple and trying to find the nearest exit.
I’m just saying if you aren’t sure about what you are saying, then you probably shouldn’t be saying it. Daz all. And maybe the next time you want to wild out in public using my native dialect, then give me enough forewarning so I can play into it - You know, wear my reggae-coloured tam with the fake locks, my favourite Bob Marley t-shirt, and roll my super-sized blunt, which I shall place behind my ear. Don’t forget I will be saying “Mon” after any sentence, and possible “Irie”, and maybe using my own Jamaican curse words out of context. “Do you know where I could find the bl00dcl@@t pickles?…Irie”. “I was wondering why the r@@s you look so beautiful tonight?” (This one doesn’t count cause I have a few friends who would say this. Hey I probably have already too).
To all of this I say, “Weh yu jus seh?”. As Tessanne Chin said, “Your words are your weapons, so use them wisely”. So before you shoot “down your brothers with your lyrical bullets”, you can buy a patois book. Blessed love.