Dear Silent Ravers…

Dear Silent Ravers, stick to dancing, explanations aren’t your friend.

I usually skim over social media garb and Little Kev’s “closeted homosexual” exposé of Taje ‘Silent Ravers’ Pinnock was one.

Jamaican dancer Taje ‘Silent Ravers’ Pinnock

Should you stick around, Little Kev, whose given name is Kevin Mullings, is a Jamaican transwoman and sex worker who has been living in North Korea for some time. Three weeks ago, she claimed to have had cybersex with Pinnock who is yet to cover his US$1000 bill.

Jamaican transwoman and sex worker Kevin ‘Little Kev’ Mullings

I paid scant regard to the alleged saga as there were clearly two primary intentions: to “out” the dancehall performer, and to get the money owed to her.

Regarding the former, I don’t give two hoots about what anyone identifies with sexually. As for the latter, still ain’t my business.

I was doing pretty good at ignoring the exaggerated fracas until Pinnock opened his mouth last week. After seeing homie trip over his words and implicate the vocalization of his thoughts, I was hauled to Google Docs and my keyboard.

I work in media so the culture of damage control — PR-driven or not — isn’t foreign. There’s an art to quelling the flames of controversy and Pinnock failed at being his own firefighter.

Pinnock during his IG Live address

The dancer’s initial response to the claims was non-verbal — he switched his profile settings to private. A verbal response came following murmur that he had been ousted from Ding Dong’s Ravers Clavers crew.

“Nobody never fire me from Ravers,” he said in his IG Live press conference. “Ding never call me or seh nothing.”

This is where his ass should have embodied his moniker and stopped talking. But he continued.

“Me nav nothing against gay but nobody or no boy or no girl, nobody cya seh dem touch mi or me touch dem…and dat a pon my mother life.”

It was a tragedy to watch. The poorly-planned response went from denying speculations that he was no longer part of the popular dancehall outfit, to denying ever being caressed by cock.

The latter was indigestible to viewers who kept referencing the viral clip of Pinnock showing his naked derrière via low angle to Little Kev on a video call. Pinnock did not address his action in the video, but lamented that it was a mistake.

“At the end of the day everything done happen already, mi just mek a f**kery mistake inna my life and mi haffi just live wid it… Whosoever send dah person deh fi try f**k up my life, just know seh fi dem time a come.”

What we’re not going to do is shift blame.

Yes, when we engage in these intimate digital exchanges, we hope that it will remain private and sacred. However, one must take responsibility for participating in such an exchange and its possible consequences. I say this knowing that I, too, have had such virtual moments, and while I don’t curate a digital gallery of nudes, some men don’t delete the content for whatever reason. Based on the intimate nature of these exchanges, and the shame that accompanies the exposed, naked black body stemming from slavery and Europeanization, I wouldn’t want my nudes to be publicized. However, should it happen, I’ll have no choice but to accept that I played a part in the possibility of its publication because I chose to document it and hit send.

So yes, that shame exists for Pinnock as his nakedness is now front-row, a distressing reality for a chap who is quite shy and avoiding of spectacle. But there is also the nakedness of a private life for which he owes no explanation. Should you explain, do not demean, reassign blame nor distort the narrative.

During the Live, the dancer had some words for women who were bashing him. His thoughts, again, were poorly articulated because of the influx of emotions, undesired attention and exposure, but he was basically implying that many women have ass fetishes (too) and shouldn’t be judging him.

His incoherent ass said, “At the end of the day if a ooman did fi even dweet, some a dem man yah, like, some a di ooman dem too like if dem fi deven do certain things or for instance dem waan lick all over a part a dem man yuh zimi some a dem a gwaan like seh when dem fi dweet if di man haffi stand up straight or certain things, dat mi waan know.”

He added, “All who a comment…a some batty hypocrite.”

No. A batty hypocrite is a lily-livered person who cannot even publicly admit to being comfortable showing his rear to a transwoman or anyone. And again, I have no issues with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) fam, neither do I care what Pinnock “is”. I have an issue with him taking his frustrations out on others because of his own actions, which he can’t even properly articulate and embrace. Miss me with that.

He also addressed the fee dispute.

“Person a seh me did fi pay dem US$1000. People a two time my house burn down…so how me fi a give somebody weh me don’t know seh a $1000 fi me and dem do something, weh me don’t know? Where is those messages? Where is those proof seh me a go pay you?”

He didn’t say whether he knew of Little Kev’s gender (though he could have scrolled on her page to see that). This brings me to the part of the story which is muddled.

This isn’t Little Kev’s first exchange with a Jamaican entertainer and history has shown that none of them knew they were speaking to a transwoman.

Little Kev goes by the name Dolly Ashanti on Instagram, which is more consensually feminine than “Little Kev”. In April 2020, she joined singer Christopher Martin’s Live sucking a dildo. It caught Martin by surprise, who started laughing while referring to her as Dolly.

People in the comments immediately recognised her and tried to tell Martin “he’s a man.” He, however, didn’t see the comments until after the call ended.

“Wah?!?” Martin exclaimed. “Unno know more than me… Good thing my Live nuh work dem way deh still… Dem likkle rae rae energy deh cya too, yuh understand… Dem energy deh get bat weh… Nuh try dah style deh over yah so.”

Because of the punishment given to older dancehall artists for their aggression towards gays, there’s now this pusillanimous discriminatory tone when addressing homosexuality. Now, most artists won’t outright say a homosexual should die, but they’ll make it known that “dah style deh” is not welcomed in their space.

By May, Little Kev was twerking on Tony Matterhorn’s Live. The selector was encouraging her, not realising she was trans until her penis popped out of its tuck position.

By June, Little Kev was on to Gold Gad. She joined the entertainer’s Live (which mirrors Tory Lanez’ Quarantine Radio), and started twerking.

“Hold on nuh baby… Yuh waan some buddy?” Gold Gad asked while cueing the music.

Again, he did not realize she was trans, but viewers did and wrote it in the comments.

This January, I-Octane was next. The singjay reposted a video of Little Kev in lingerie dancing to his music. The artist said he was made aware of Little Kev’s sexuality by fans and friends, and said he had no idea as he just wasn’t paying attention like that.

Based on these reports, I wonder if it is a case where men sincerely cannot tell a transwoman from a cisgender woman, or if it is a singular case because [these] men are entertainers who perhaps don’t have the time to peruse social media to know who Little Kev is. I must also add that Little Kev sounds like Shauna Controlla, so the female voice is there. She also said she’s on hormones.

Why is this shit news?

Dancehall and the LGBT community have a tumultuous relationship.

The verbal denouncing of gays popularised in dancehall in the 90s as part of the forward principle. The genre is governed by specific modes of performance and spectacle and has ritualistic themes which, when employed by budding acts, garner street validation in the form of “forwards”. This includes gun salutes, lighters and money pull-up.

The “gays” are one of the six G’s of dancehall and several acts earned the respect of the dancehall fraternity by hitting out against them. It worked for stage shows and community events but ultimately proved problematic in an era where dancehall fusion was attracting heavyweight A&Rs from major American record labels. To successfully crossover, dancehall artists would have to scrap the homophobic lyrics to appeal to a more expansive music market. But some acts, most notably Shabba Ranks, were rebellious to the detriment of their career.

Shabba Ranks’ controversial interview on Channel 4’s The Word in 1992

At the height of the rude boy toaster’s career, he appeared on Channel 4’s The Word in 1992. He was asked about his thoughts on homosexuality in light of Buju Banton’s controversial Boom Bye Bye record, and he defended the song while pulling out a bible on camera to read scriptures. His statements resulted in his social death, with various campaigns being led to ensure the removal of his music from radio stations across The United States and The United Kingdom. The narrative has been the same, in some cases worse, for acts like Buju Banton, T.O.K., Sizzla, Queen Ifrica, Elephant Man, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, who have all faced financially-crippling consequences of songs which demonize “deviant” masculine performance and the LGBT community.

While some older artists have learned and now understand the lucrative side of being neutral with all groups (hence the apologies to gay rights groups), there are some artists who remain militant in their public denouncing of homosexuality (like I-Wayne) regardless of the wealthy, crossover prospect.

Reggae singer I Wayne (contrib.)

Artists of the younger generation have also heard the tales of their older peers and do not want to repeat the tragedy, and so you’ll find artists like Spice, Shenseea, Ishawna, Tifa, and D’Angel performing at Pride events and publicly showing love to LGBT fans. Singer Tanya Stephens was one of the earliest acts to show love to the community, even in the days when it was abnormal to do so.

Enter Ding Dong.

Deejay and Ravers Clavers principal Ding Dong (contrib.)

The artist falls in the category of young artists who are changing the narrative of dancehall music being homophobic and violent. His dancer was caught in a compromising position and some people want to know if he’ll still keep him in the camp.

Dong has worked his way up from a street dancer to the consummate corporate entertainer. Family-oriented brands like Grace Kennedy Limited, Pepsi and Digicel Jamaica eat him up, and he maintains street cred with endorsements from Magnum Tonic Wine. Based on his refined artist brand, he can’t just publicly blast Pinnock and “bun a fire” on homosexuality — as would be the ideal response for the forward principle. He’s not yet a crossover act, but he has elevated beyond the forward principle because of his corporate affiliations. Should he oust Pinnock from his dance group because of the video, he would be accused (by the elites/powers that be) of being homophobic. That has dire consequences, from his endorsements being snagged, to his work permits and travel documents being stripped away.

In a recent IG Live with the man obsessed with asses and what people are doing with their asses (selector Foota Hype), Dong vaguely tried to explain this.

“Someone did something from di group which is rae, rae, rae and I chose to deal with it professionally because guess what?” he asked. “I’m not just a street personnel; I represent corporate so I have to have a business mind at everything I do. That’s why I can’t sing bout certain things, I can’t talk bout certain things…so mi cya deal with things how everybody waan mi deal with things.”

He added that he has no control of how anyone chooses to live his life.

“Mi try wid whole heap a youth and when mi try wid whole heap a youth dem haffi come round me first and deh round me and dah likkle youth deh never give we no form a indication or nothing at all like him stay no way none ah tall…and I don’t control weh a man do, personally.”

Hype was persistent in finding out if Pinnock was still in his group. Dong seemed to play Devil’s advocate.

“Alright, him nuh inna di crew. So you a go stop talk bout it tomorrow?”

Hype, of course, responded “no”, proving Dong’s point about the insatiable gossiping culture of social media. In any case, he added, “Anytime yuh see him nowhere you can ask him…and mi nuh haffi answer that publicly because people go see it.”

It’s not the end

I first interviewed Pinnock in December 2017. He was 22 and about to blow up with his ‘flairy’ dance move. I had seen him in action several times before I interviewed him, and could immediately deduce how he attained his moniker. He’s a short fellow — rarely seen without his sunglasses — who fades into the background until the music hits. He was reserved, reticent and observant.

Silent Ravers starring in the music video for ‘Flair is in the Air’, based off his hit dance move

He said to me, “Mi know the dance a go big. Mi want the dance reach overseas where mi can dance wid Usher and Chris Brown — dem platform deh mi want be on.”

Pinnock is currently overseas which Dong revealed during the Live. It is unclear if he’s there in pursuit of his ambitions to be an international dancer or for personal reasons.

In any case, this is the perfect time for him to place all efforts into his career and stop trying to play public relations officer. Like he said, the act has been done and people will think what they want to. If he can only turn the finger on others, stay silent. Otherwise, live your life, be aware of the long-term consequences of your choices, and be resolute and unapologetic about who you are.

Bald-headed, freelance entertainment writer. Pro at burning eggs.