Local reggae endangered
THE EDITOR, Sir:
SOS! Jamaican reggae under threat!
It is now clear that Jamaica has lost the status as the home of reggae. Germany has now not only claimed our reggae music but has found the formula to package it and ensure large profits.
The sad part is that this product is not Jamaican, and some of these large reggae shows across Europe no longer feature our reggae artistes but have embraced the new phenomenon of German, Italian, French and other European acts backed by the reggae beat.
The reggae industry in Jamaica seems to have all but given up on the brand as Reggae Sumfest showcases international acts as the main draw, while our reggae musicians play second fiddle. As long as I can remember, the international not-so-reggae acts have headlined this major show.
We now see a global move by foreign artistes to adapt the reggae vibe made world famous by the late Bob Marley. Acts like UB40, Snoop Dog (pardon me, Snoop Lion), Rihanna with hits like You Da One, Gentleman from Germany, and, most recent, American actor/comedian Eddie Murphy have been making frequent visits to the studio, recording feel-good reggae music like Red Light and veteran rapper Snoop Lion going as far as converting to Rastafari.
Apparently no real alarm or public outcry has been raised about this as reggae music is not yet homeless in Jamaica, but it is quite clear that our house has been raided and invaded by a foreign element and Jamaica is not set to gain.
With Toots Hibbert off tour, Buju incarcerated, Bob Marley dead, we must borrow from their creative genius and continue the reggae cry. Thanks, Romain Virgo and Chronixx.
Our performers must now get their act together and start making that music that put us on the map in the first place. Our music is under threat. Give the world what they crave: feel-good music, live music, real reggae music. If not, soon it is us who will be inviting these 'reggae acts' here to headline our shows. Wait, we are already doing that!
Convener, Jamaica Cultural
Youth Ambassadors Programme