It was Winnie Mandela who inspired Andrea Davis to create International Reggae Day. When the Mandelas came to Jamaica in 1991, Winnie gave an animated speech to women in which she acknowledged the militant reverberations of reggae music in the anti-apartheid struggle. Songs like Peter Tosh’s 1977 Apartheid motivated South African freedom fighters in the bush.
The Bob Marley Estate cannot possibly police the use of the reggae icon’s image across the globe without retaining a veritable army of intellectual property lawyers.
We don't seem to realise just how far Jamaican popular music has spread. We take our creativity for granted and we rarely stop to think about why so many people from such diverse cultures are attracted to the music produced on this little rock. And it's not just the beat and the lyrics that fascinate foreigners. It's also the academic value of the music.
Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson, one top-a-top Jamaican graphic artist, im draw one beautiful picture fi represent Alpha: one lickle yute a blow im horn. An yu can see seh di pikni feel im owna strength an know im power di way im a hold di horn. / Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson, wan tap-a-tap Jamiekan grafik aatis, im jraa wan byuutiful pikcha fi riprizent Alpha: wan likl yuut a bluo im aan. An yu kyahn si se di pikni fiil im uona chrent an nuo im powa di wie im a uol di aan. / Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson, a first-class Jamaican graphic artist, drew a beautiful picture to represent Alpha: a young man blowing his horn. You see pride and passion in his posture.
So who’s in charge of the rompin’ shop? In the case of Shabba Ranks and Lady Saw it’s a clear draw. And, not so surprisingly, even the frontrunners of the reggae revival are singing rompin’ shop songs . . . . Unlike Lady Saw who performs slackness, Jah9 performs innocence.
Who would have thought that out of Kingston’s concrete jungle would have come a ‘riddim’ of resistance that now reverberates across the world? Reggae music and its wild child, dancehall, symbolize the unlimited potential of the creative industries that enable hard-working, talented people to make ‘nuff’ money out of brainpower.