Reggae Month

The month of February is regarded as Reggae Month in Jamaica; however the celebration of the musical genre has spread to other corners of the world- to Nigeria, South Africa, the US and so on. The purpose of Reggae Month is to bring to light and celebrate the lasting impact the musical genre has on Jamaica’s social, cultural and economic development. However, over the course of history, the impact of reggae on social, cultural and economic development has gone beyond the borders of Jamaica to the rest of the world.

Specifically, reggae has, through its oratory capabilities, highlighted and inspired the political independence, economic advancement and pride of black people globally. In essence, pan-Africanist and anti-colonial themes are central in reggae. Generally, reggae has gone on to influence other musical genres such as punk rock and rap.

The pan-Africanist focus of reggae can be traced back to its origins- finding inspiration in ska and steady rock- with their new-found genre, Jamaicans employed it as a tool of British colonial resistance. Even after Jamaica gained independency, reggae continued to reflect social struggles and historical experiences of Jamaicans.

Significant is the fact that the colonial context of Jamaica resonated with that of Black people around the world. The colonised people of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and all over began to employ reggae as a tool of resistance. Reggae became the music of the oppressed, and of revolutionaries.

In this month’s Friday Feature, we take a look at a few reggae musicians who have used their art as tool to fight oppression and domination, which in turn, has inspired others the world over to fight for their own freedom and dignity.


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