Second Chance in the Land of Many Waters: Skeng Returns to Guyana After Chaotic Concert

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Dancehall artist Skeng made a triumphant return to Guyana on Saturday, headlining the ‘Real All Black’ concert in Linden. This marked a significant moment, as it came nearly two years after he was effectively banned from performing in the country following a violent incident at a previous show.

Skeng, whose real name is Kevon Douglas, arrived onstage in a surprising fashion – a surgical gown. True to his energetic style, he quickly shed the gown, revealing his signature jeans, before launching into a high-octane set. Fans roared as he ripped through crowd favorites like “London,” “Likkle Miss,” and “Shalala.” Emerging artist Kaka Highflames also joined him onstage for a performance of their collaborative track “Flames Rock.”

Despite the positive atmosphere, the concert wasn’t without its challenges. According to the Guyana Times, authorities confiscated a concerning amount of prohibited items from attendees, including lighters, scissors, ski masks, and knives. This heightened security followed the infamous 2022 “Baderation” concert where Skeng’s set was interrupted by gunshots and flying bottles.

The 2022 incident led to a temporary ban on Skeng by Guyana’s Ministry of Home Affairs. Minister Robeson Benn asserted that artists whose lyrics promote violence wouldn’t be allowed to perform, aiming to curb public displays of violence at concerts. Benn even sought to remove Skeng’s music from radio stations.

Skeng’s team refuted the ban, arguing that the issue stemmed from inadequate security at the 2022 concert. They emphasized the importance of addressing the root causes of violence rather than solely focusing on performers.

Earlier in 2024, Guyanese president Dr. Irfaan Ali echoed this sentiment, urging for a regional approach to promote positive and unifying music within the Caribbean. He advocated for lyrics that inspire positive action and social change, referencing the legacy of Bob Marley as a shining example.

Skeng’s successful return to Guyana suggests a possible shift in the country’s stance on controversial music. Whether this signifies a permanent change or a one-time exception remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the concert serves as a reminder of the ongoing debate surrounding artistic expression and its potential impact on society.