Jamaican’s dancehall scene has a new artist in town who is challenging all things anti-LGBTQ in the form of outright, defiant activism. Openly gay afrobeat, soca, and hip hop musician Demaro is risking adversity in his home country with the brand-new music video for single “Mi Readi.”
“Mi Readi” is the first single released off Demaro’s debut EP Good Vibes Only, and he is challenging Jamaica’s stance on LGBTQ folks with the visual concept for the song. Directed by Tony Vallés and featuring Caribbean HIV activist and drag performer Jahlove Serrano, this is a presentation of Demaro’s firm stance on mobilizing his country’s marginalized LGBTQ community.
“You don’t have rights as a gay man in Jamaica,” Demaro said. “The police don’t protect us. They think you should basically die.”
Currently, Jamaica is one of 76 countries where consensual, same-gender relationships are criminalized, and after being verbally and physically assaulted for simply being perceived as gay, Demaro moved to New York. He said that moving to the city in America was awe-inspiring because LGBTQ folks could live so freely and authentically without the fear that he had experienced being a queer person in Jamaica.
“I was hiding a lot of myself, and ‘Mi Readi’ is about accepting where I am right now presently. I’m going in! I remember sitting with my therapist and saying I was ready to take my life to the next level. ‘Mi Readi’ is about putting myself in the forefront as an LGBTQ artist. It’s all or nothing. It’s a dancehall song over this afro-caribbean beat. It’s about me going after my dreams,” he said.
By breaking personal and professional barriers, “Mi Readi” is moving traditional dancehall in a more inclusive and progressive direction. Giving good vibes only, this new song with allure you with its street-style, NYC grit while easing you into a sultry temptation to move your body to the island beat.
Turn that sound up!
*Photos by Christopher Levy