the riddim writer, who?

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Press ▶️ play above. Allow me to welcome you to the digital space of an Afro-Caribbean-futurist/ decolonial feminist/ bad gyal. But what does any of that mean? It means that I am Jamaican by birth and Bronxite by maternal right. It means that Caribbeing has defined my immediate past and has sounded my African future. As for my feminist intersection, it is decidedly decolonial. And bad gyal? Well, that’s simple, too. A bad gyal subverts Euro-American dominant models of behavioral discourse. A bad gyal subverts hegemonic thinking. Bad gyals are transgressive against colonially imposed models of respectability. All of that said, I am Isis Semaj-Hall, the Riddim Writer with a PhD, so I specialize in provocative thinking, writing, and creation.

Click any of this hypertext to find my newest blog posts and see below for my contact info. Browse this site and keep up with my latest analysis of the world around us. I also encourage you to click here to see what young voices I am amplifying. Some are students, some are not. Click to see this world through their eyes.

Naming this blog “write pon di riddim” is a careful invocation of both my grounding and my purpose. The dancehall enthusiast will recognize my reference to the phrase “ride pon di riddim” and this is the reason why. As a musical genre that is, amongst other

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descriptors, invested in contemporality, the rhythm/riddim becomes the vehicle for an artist/ deejay to maintain relevance and dominance in an ever-expanding marketplace. This is to say that if the dancehall patrons/ massive are taken by a riddim, it is in an artist’s best interest to record lyrics on to that riddim with all immediacy, so that he too becomes a part of the conversation, so to speak. The male dominated field of Jamaican dancehall has heard deejays discuss how they “ride di riddim,” “hitch up pon di riddim,” and even how they have chosen to “siddung pon di riddim” for decades. Here I transform the deejay’s microphone into the analyst’s pen to “write pon di riddim.” I offer a blog that engages with the contemporary topics relevant to Jamaica, its diaspora, and its African root/ seed. I offer a blog for readers, writers, and deep listeners to connect. I offer this blog to thinkers who are poised to be doers. And, in a very sincere way, I offer this blog to anyone and everyone who wants to expand and, if necessary, shift their perspective on African/ Caribbean diaspora realities. The content within is meant to pique interest in and critique the culture that we love.

The result of this riddim writing is my repository, an archive of sorts. “write pon di riddim” is reflective of my 2013 dissertation which brought into focus my twin loves: Caribbean literature and Jamaican music. This site will demonstrate this professional love affair. I offer a perspective that is informed by multiple modes of orality. This digital collection of thoughts about music, literature, popular culture, politics, and their various intersections is growing into an extended community conversation. Ultimately, this site will be used to produce and archive examples of the dub aesthetic at play. As the site develops, you will find papers, articles, essays, and chapters that are works in progress. And, because the chattings are strong, the “For Posterity” podcast is now live. Follow me on Spotify and Anchor streaming services.

When I’m not doing things digitally, one can find me in Kingston, Jamaica where I lecture in the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

Welcome. Read. Share.

Please note that all material on this site is a part of my research, is my intellectual property, and may not be reproduced without my permission. These ideas do not represent those of any institutions or organizations to which I belong.

Contact me at

Follow me on Twitter @IsisSemajHall

Follow me on IG @riddim.writer

©2015- 2020 Isis Semaj Hall

2 Thoughts

    1. Thank you. We forget that mourning isn’t just a word to describe being sad about a death/loss. Mourning is a process of coming to terms with it. Reading is a process as well. Reading is a process of taking in information (with emotion) and working through it to find meaning. Read in power!


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