The gender gap is a topic that countless countries around the world have tackled. The issue of women in subordination has challenged many a nation, and their response to this oppression is varies across the globe. While countless countries highly value women, many countries still oppress women and have lesser than equal rights for them. A case in point of this is within the Caribbean Nations, particularly in Jamaica. Gender discrimination is widespread in this country, and it affects women there to this day. Because of their oppression, women’s involvement to the country’s music of reggae is often overshadowed; until now, women have had a huge influence on reggae music. Their oppression is to be considered, as well as those female artists who broke free from the confine. The male standpoint on women in Jamaica as well as their way of thinking regarding women in reggae music also should be examine. The bulk of oppression can be understood, learned from, and respected in order for there to be changes for gender equality.
One Female artist that stands out amongst most would be, Queen of the Pack, Patra. Patra’s music was a fuse 90's R&B and Pop with a hardcore Dancehall. Patra - who name is a shortened version of Cleopatra. Getting her huge break in the late 1980s after her Sting performance, Patra instantly tapped into the international markets with hits such as Romantic Call, Worker Man, Pull Up To My Bumper, However her sophomore album Scent of Attraction in 1995, she basically vanished from the dance hall scene… with the question of "What happened to Patra”?. Even though releasing two subpar albums in the 2000s (The Great Escape in 2003 and then Where I've Been in 2005), her presence wasn't felt until 2012 with a release of Come Ova featuring Subkonshus member Delus called.
"I called it self-exile because I wasn't in control of my music and I wanted to be in control. So in order for me to do that, I had to tek whe myself in certain ways. I didn't know it would take this long, however, I was ready for however long it takes for me to be in control of my music like I am now," Patra explains to The Jamaica Star in September of 2012.
"Honestly, because I've been away for such a long period, trying to get back everything together, me writing a lot and can express myself more to my fans is the most important thing. I really don't have that in my mind but there are people who call me and who I will be working with and I think it's not the right time. I'm just gonna establish myself back to my fans right now," she continued.
On her new single, Sweet Reggae Music, Patra echoes "What the world needs now is some sweet reggae music," making a slight departure from her per usual vocal style of sexy Dancehall, yet she effortlessly puts her singing and rhyming talents on the hypnotizing instrumentals and displays that she haven't lost her touch on the mic…regardless of how long it has been. As she preps her fifth studio album, Patra: The Continuation, she told Vibe Magazine in June 2012 that her fans can simply expect the best work she's ever complied with this, her official return to the musical landscape.
"It's the simple things that you've done as an individual that make you who you are. Sometimes we just like to get our hair and nails done to get sexy, even if we're not going there. It's the simplest thing, as a woman, that we do to make us feel that word, how to love yourself, be confident, how to express yourself, physically, emotional, mentally. This album is driven on that, and that's why it's called the continuation; and of course, the fellas love it for a different reason. But, for the ladies, they'll be able to understand it and as a result, become more vocal."
What will this ultimate change mean for Jamaican Female Artist? The appreciation of Women may begin with music, but since music is so important in Jamaican and Caribbean life, it has such an enormous influence. The power of music and its lyrics is will be proven in the changes that needs to be made through the Dancehall genre. In the words of Sister Carol, a famous dancehall artist, the significance of the female in both music and life should never be forgotten: “We not just another girl. Original "Rasta stifle Girl." stressing the truth of our feministic side and how vital it is in the creation of civilization. Nevertheless, asking for the same respect, reeducation of the Male Society in Jamaica as well as the entire Caribbean. No doubt, we have male and female variances, but if you continually to stifle the female voice, we are heading for chaos… there is too much unevenness right now. There has to be some form of balance. A representation of the Female Artist must be as dominate as the Male Artist... They have to be acknowledged with the same respect and admiration and given a chance so that they can contribute to music society.