Veteran dancehall artiste Tanya Stephens has lashed out at privileged Jamaicans for being out of touch with the realities of the poor who she says are most affected by measures to combat COVID-19 on the island.

In an expletive laden video posted online on Monday (April 20), the singer blasted unnamed persons telling them to “go s— yuh madda” for telling poor people to stay at home and then being seen on the road. Stephens wearing a grey scarf and glasses with a large spliff in right hand said, “A man inna the ghetto weh no have a car, don’t have no money in pocket to put gas inna no car, don’t have no money to buy patty a Juici Beef, can’t go nowhere except which part…weh you think him ago blood%%$$ go? Him tyad fi inna him house too.”

Stephens said she too has been frustrated about being at home. “Me lock up inna my house with Netflix and whole heap a different sinting, zeen, mi have distractions and mi have people fi talk to where can give me every level of conversation mi want and mi still feel f^%%$$ trapped inside to the point where mi come out and drive inna the car”

The It’s A Pity singer has been on paid public service announcements calling on persons to stay at home. So for many fans her comments were not well received with some expressing shock and disappointment at the statements while others questioned whether she was a “crackhead” or on drugs.

Others were amused. Stephens has been a staunch critic of politicians including that of the former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller. One user said, “when Tanya Stephens dissed Portia and said some nasty things about her, Labarites cheered and celebrated her because they hate Portia. Now she mek video a tell Andrew bout him madda, these same laborites a call her coke head. Haha haha politics is comedy.”

Recently, the government of Jamaica instituted a 24-hour curfew in St. Catherine, one of the largest parishes in the island, after dozens of telemarketing employees tested positive for the virus causing a major jump in the number of Covid-19 cases moving from 73 to 223 in just a week. The measures which include a 24-hour curfew with restricted hours for supply run resulted in mass crowding and hysteria as persons flooded areas in violation of social distancing guidelines.

Many resident complained of not having enough notice from the government to prepare as well as not having food at home resulting in the rush to get supplies within the limited shopping hours. Stephens said those criticizing the persons for being in public should stop being hypocrites as they too were on the road for different reasons.

“We fi stop be hypocrite, make we stop be hypocrite nuh man because you know say yuh a drive go down the road go link yuh weed man and get yuh spliff so why yuh a tell poor people say dem fi go inno house…stop it, we need fi work this out together!”, she said.

Tanya doesn’t take orders

It seems though that she also had a problem with the orders coming directly from the government as she said she doesn’t take orders from people, “together is not you instructing me or you giving me orders mi nuh take orders from people. Yuh know how we head stay. We head nuh good. People like me nuh have no chip leff fi lick, how yuh a go come tell me fi stay in my house when mi see you outta blood%$$% road everyday a drive past me inna big vehicle wid yuh AC on, go s— yuh madda.”

Tanya Stephens
Meanwhile she also called out the Prime Minister Andrew Holness. She said he should stop ordering the people and engaging them on a human level.

On Monday at a press conference the Prime Minister called out persons who were not taking the Covid-19 virus seriously including those who believed in conspiracies that the virus was not real, those who were saying white rum and bush tea will save them as well as those who were aware of the risk but brushed it off as saying they have been through worst and Coronavirus was nothing. He urged persons to stay at home if they had no necessary business on the road.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Meanwhile, Stephens has since deleted the first video from her account but in subsequent tweets she said it was an expired story in which she beseeched privileged Jamaicans to stop telling poor people to “tan a yuh yard” without knowing if they have food there.

In a second nine (9) minute video posted on Tuesday, Stephens said her video was cut and edited to misrepresent what she said. She also made fun of the crackhead comments and accused her critics of being divisive because they didn’t like what she said.

She added “be safe, if something fi ketch, don’t ketch it, don’t spread it. If you can stay in, stay in and if you have excess give some to somebody who don’t have so they can stay in…don’t be such a privileged person that you can’t see say not everyone is in your position.”

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