Fri | Mar 24, 2023

Churches encouraged to assist in expanding Ja’s gospel reggae industry

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2023 | 12:24 AM
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange (centre), and Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams (right), are greeted by Reverend Merrick ‘Al’ Miller, pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle in Kingston during the 2023 Reggae Month Church Ser
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange (centre), and Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams (right), are greeted by Reverend Merrick ‘Al’ Miller, pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle in Kingston during the 2023 Reggae Month Church Service on Sunday.

Churches are being encouraged to assist in expanding Jamaica’s gospel reggae industry.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, who made the call, invited churches to “focus on unearthing and developing gospel bands and vocal talents across the country, and unleashing them on the world in reverence and praise”.

She was speaking during the 2023 Reggae Month Church Service on Sunday at Fellowship Tabernacle in Kingston.

The service was held under the theme ‘We Come to Ketch the Rhythm in Reverence and Praise’.

Grange noted that there is a large contingent of local Christian artistes involved in gospel reggae.

Against this background, she said, “our churches need to join us, in a more fulsome way, in creating an even larger reggae gospel industry”.

Grange recounted that there was a period when the “guardians” of religion felt that reggae music should not be heard in the church. She maintained, however, that this position was changing.

“Through and in reggae music, persons have found motivation to press on and not despair through hard times. They have found a platform of solidarity, where oppressed people could bond as they seek common solutions to mental, spiritual and economic anguish, and they have found the globally unifying theme of ‘one love’,” she said.

Grange pointed out that reggae music underscores the very concept of reverence and praise, as exemplified in Redemption Song, composed by Bob Marley, citing the verse which states – ”Our hands were made strong by the hand of the Almighty, and we forward in this generation, triumphantly”.

Additionally, Grange said reggae, one of the country’s indigenous music genres, has brought wealth and purpose to the lives of vulnerable Jamaicans.

She said that through the music form, Jamaicans have been able to create livelihoods of substance for their families and communities.

Grange urged Jamaicans who have benefited from the music to be humble and “not take it for granted”.

“Because you can be wealthy tonight and be poor tomorrow. It’s a gift, and we should take that gift with humility,” she underscored.

Grange said the ministry is seeking to expand its outreach, so that more young people can find opportunities in the music industry and “be able to get their share … and use it in a positive way”.