Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Grange touts Reggae as Jamaica’s most valuable export

Published:Saturday | February 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Patrons and visitors to the island alike, enjoyed the experience at Rebel Salute 2018.
Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

Entertainment minister Olivia Grange says that Reggae music is Jamaica's most valuable, yet undervalued export.

Grange, addressing a four-day meeting of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities of Music Subnetwork being held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, pointed out that the World Economic Outlook GDP estimate for Jamaica was US$14.6 billion, of which creative industries represented approximately five per cent or US$730 million. Music represents close to two per cent of the total.

"Yet, these numbers do not tell the full story of Reggae music and its impact on the poor and dispossessed of the city who created six distinct genres of music - mento, ska, dub, rocksteady, reggae and dancehall within the last 50 years," she said.

The minister told the audience, which included representatives from nine cities in the UNESCO Creative Cities of Music Subnetwork, that reggae music was, and has been, the soundtrack that creatively conveyed powerful insights into the very hearts and souls of Jamaica's working class and unemployed.

"Reggae is universal, it is spiritual, it is political," she said.