Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer
The Protest Now and Save Reggae group recently began the latest 'save reggae' campaign. With the intention of rescuing reggae from the declining state that is has fallen into, the group will carry out its 'protests' in various ways.
"It is a general opinion of the persons who have followed reggae, not only locally but globally, that the music is in a declining state. The quality that we have been accustomed to in the 70s coming up, that quality has been eroded seriously. The music is not being appreciated at the respectful level that it once was appreciated globally. More and more, the current artistes who are going abroad have been getting this feedback from the fans. They have questions like 'What has happened to the reggae that we know?," said Livebroadkast, a member of the group, as to why the group is taking action.
He continued, "They (artistes) are starting to realise that regardless of what hype is at home, it is not connecting with the established reggae fan base at home and abroad. It has declined so badly that the groups that appear to be carrying reggae in its original form now are mainly foreign groups."
The first form of protest they intend to use is the song, Reggae Rescue From Freefall.
Written and produced by Livebroadkast, and released in August, it is the flagship song of the group's actions.
Unlike other save reggae campaigns that lost their spark after birth, Livebroadkast says that they are working to ensure that this is not the case.
"The attempt to change in a positive way what has happened to the music is not the first, others have fizzled to nothing. It is our intention that this new attempt will not fizzle to nothing," he said.
How? He says they will be very strategic in their actions that will mostly be aimed at the airplay system, which he claims is badly flawed and is one of the biggest reasons why the music is in "freefall".
Fair play system
"We intend to give copies of the song to all radio stations to test the fair play system or if any is in place. We'll also be associating ourselves with an airplay-monitoring company to see also if it is getting fair play. The effort will also be relayed to the broadcast commission because they also have a role to play," he shared.
Reggae Rescue From Freefall is representative of two things, "it's reggae personified," meaning that it (the song) is speaking about its hurt since Bob Marley and Peter Tosh left the scene, as well as the lack of inspiration in the genre now, and it is also speaking as a voice for the people who have suffered from its decline.