Serious Things a Go Happen: Three Decades of Jamaican Dancehall Signs

LTD $120

Hardcover, 168 pages
7½ × 9¼ in.
19.05 × 23.495 cm.

An unofficial history of Jamaican dancehall music told through its graphic design, Serious Things a Go Happen brings together more than 100 original posters and signs from the early 1980s through today, drawn from the poster collection of Jamaican film and television producer and director Maxine Walters. Jamaican dancehall emerged out of reggae in the late 1970s and brought with it a new visual style characterized by bright colors and bold, hand-drawn lettering. One-of-a-kind, hand-painted posters advertising local parties and concerts have become a ubiquitous part of Jamaica’s landscape, nailed to poles and trees across the island. Over the past three decades Walters, who has been called “the queen of Jamaican dancehall signs,” has amassed a collection of some 4,000 of these street posters, advertising local “bashments” held at bars, on beaches and in primary schools. Treated by most Jamaicans as simply a fact of life, the dancehall poster has until recently received little careful, critical attention; this volume begins to rectify that with essays by Vivien Goldman, and others, alongside the posters themselves, reproduced one to a page in full color. The book also includes text and interviews with Rory Stone Love & Mikey Bennett, Denva Harris, and Tony Winkler, author of The Lunatic.

Limited Edition
The limited edition of the book includes a six-color screenprinted reproduction dancehall sign on quarter-inch plywood, along with a two-inch nail for hanging. Approximately 12¾ × 12¼ inches. Edition of 25.

Edited by J.C. Gabel and Vivien Goldman
Introduction by Marlon James
Designed by Taylor Giali
Hat & Beard Press #7