For the past month or so, the urban radio in Trinidad and Tobago has helped push the term “zesser”, ultimately brought into the spotlight by a song of the same name, by young dancehall artist, Trinidad Ghost. The refrain has been all the rave, with young women, from all walks of life, and even young children, singing it with delight. In the song however, reference is made to the “girls” desire for this “zesser” with lines like, “when she step inna he room, a big Glock on he dresser,” highlighting that this particular type of person is one to be feared rather than adored.
For years, there’ve been conversations in the Caribbean about the effects of negative lyrics across the airwaves- lyrics that penetrate the minds of the easily influenced. In the Caribbean, according to an Inter Development Bank study, guns are used about twice as often in robbery and three times as often in assault, as compared with the global average. Trinidad Ghost’s ‘Zesser,’ paints a glorified image of a man, loved by women for simply having a lot of gold jewelry and firearms.
While the track has made its way onto the mainstream circuit and has even been used by corporate brands for the promotion of their products, one spoken word poet isn’t impressed. Zakiya Gill appeared on the urban radio station Boomchampions 94.1FM last week. She came prepared to challenge the prevailing lingo, using the word Zesser to instead draw attention to what’s essentially wrong about the glorification of the men being touted as zessers.
Zakiya Gill at Boomchampions 94.1FM with Bass and the Middlemen.
When contacted for comment on the debate, Trinidad Ghost told the talk show hosts that the song was being misunderstood. He said the term could be looked at in various ways, whether positively or negatively.