REGGAE RUN TINGS!
By Cliff Stone
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“The UN has added reggae music to its list of international cultural treasures worthy of protection and promotion.”Rude bwoy music, Rasta rebel music, ragga music, the music of authentic Jamaican resistance to the Shytstem, is not only the toast of the Town, but the toast of the World. According to UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization Reggae music is now iconic because, it marks reggae’s inscription into the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – said further: [Reggae’s] contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, sociopolitical, sensual and spiritual.”The function of the music “as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice and a means for praising God, had not changed since its emergence from the Caribbean in the late 1960s,” said UNESCO.
Jamaica applied for recognition of its musical tradition at a meeting of the UN in Mauritius this year. “It is a music that we have created that has penetrated all corners of the world,” said the country’s culture minister Olivia Grange. Reggae music has at last received the recognition it rightfully deserves – it is a cultural phenomenon that has impacted people in every corner of the earth and Olivia “Babsy” Grange has been at the forefront of promoting its value. It’s now entirely up to the Jamaican government to ensure the monetization of this invaluable national resource; will they set up an international commission to administer how the music is treated and administered worldwide? Will they encourage public/private partnerships to encourage Reggae’s growth and preservation? These steps must be aggressively implemented in order to discourage Reggae Pimps and Pirates, who not only claim they promoted the music, but also claim to be its beneficiaries and protectors while only capitalizing on its popularity.
The reaction from one of reggaes biggest fan and a prolific Marley biographer, Roger Steffens was affirmative, “Reggae is the chosen rhythm of rebellion, even if people don’t understand the language, they know that this is rebel music, and they adapt their own local form into a reggae style to make their own protest music.” Steffens said Marley told him, “Reggae music is not just for jollification – he tapped his forearm and said, “it is for head-ucation. It is music that calls us to a higher overstanding of our lives and the purpose of our being here on the planet.”
Reggae music is now a world class Brand which makes its value inestimable, all legal and commercial strategies must now be employed to ensure that the skilled creators and performers of this music be able earn a generous livelihood to make up for their years of “sufferation.” Reggae performers who have been prevented from travelling, usually because of their use of cannabis, should now receive the assistance of the Jamaican government to obtain clearance to tour countries where the use of said substance is now legalized.
I genuinely hope that after decades of working directly with artistes to develop our life altering music, that Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange will receive the recognition she deserves, she is but one of the few Jamaican politicians who has delivered for her community. Because of her, and of course, others too numerous to mention Reggae Music can now be truly called Iconic.
Robert Nesta Marley say’s it best, “Roots, rock, reggae, dis a reggae music. Roots, rock, reggae, yea, dis a reggae music. Play I some music, dis a reggae music – we bubblin’ on the top 100, just like a mighty dread!”