In Jamaica, attacks, murder and rape are common occurrences against LGBTI people, with little to no retribution or justice brought against those responsible. After being forced from shacks, derelict buildings, and their own families, many homeless LGBTI Jamaicans have found refuge in the storm drainage systems of Kingston—known locally as the “gully.”
For trans girls and gay men unable or unwilling to hide their sexuality, the sense of community and relative safety the gully provides acts as a welcome sanctuary, and for many, a hope of change to come. VICE News traveled to the New Kingston area to see what LGBTI life is like in Jamaica—where just being who you are can mean living a life underground.
Charlet touches down in Kingston, Jamaica, and gains an audience with Elephant Man, aka The Energy God, to find out why dancehall girls cause the local men so many problems. She then explores the illegal and dangerous skin-bleaching trend.
This video was shot by Danilo Parra and VICE Global Editor Andy Capper, who told us they put this thing together on a budget of “like $200.” They produced the video way out in the Portmore area of Kingston, Jamaica, a zone that Vybz and his crew have locked down and nicknamed “Gaza City.”
VICE Films, in partnership with Snoopadelic Films, presents Reincarnated. The documentary follows Snoop Dogg as he journeys to Jamaica to record an album with Diplo. While there, Snoop finds himself embraced by the Jamaican people, is positively impacted by Rastafarian culture, and becomes reincarnated as Snoop Lion.
Reincarnated is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7.
A decade ago, Jamaican dancehall fashion was all about Sizzla dressed head to toe in khaki, Selassie flags, and head wraps and being black and not being into gays. At some point over the past decade, devotees of this resolutely homophobic Jamaican genre have started wearing tight clothes and diamanté blazers, getting their nipples pierced, and lightening their skin from black to a sort of off-black.
TED BAFALOUKOS TAUGHT US EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT JAMAICA
Theodoros Bafaloukos wrote and directed Rockers, the film that single-handedly made Jamaica and reggae interesting to couch-cozy white folks, their stoner kids, and a bunch of famous English punks with guitars. Today, Ted is not so reclusive as he is remote, spending his time at his childhood home on the secluded Greek island of Andros. Over 30 years after the movie’s release, we made the long journey for this, his first-ever print interview.
In addition to screenwriting and filmmaking, Bafaloukos was also a production designer for three Oscar-winning directors (Barry Levinson, Errol Morris, Jonathan Demme) and has helped conceive countless famous music videos, including that one for Aerosmith where Alicia Silverstone bungee-jumps off a freeway overpass in a flannel and then flips off Stephen Dorff.
After a brief tour of his house—several hundred paintings and images of magnified snake parts dot the walls—he sat us down and started thumbing his way through some old photo albums. Many of these were from his time shooting Rockers. As you’ll see, it’s a trove of archival happiness.