Hi Meltingpot Readers,
I was in my car the other day, listening to NPR when this very interesting segment came on about non-Jamaican artists dominating the reggae music scene. In fact, according to this story, European and Hawaiian reggae bands are more popular worldwide these days than Jamaican acts. And make no mistake, these are not transplanted West Indians living abroad, these are native Europeans and Hawaiians(Americans), aka, they're White. And therein lies the rub. Dubbed "Jafaicans" by some, the popularity and commercial success of these artists is making some people cry cultural appropriation.
So, can a group of White guys from Germany or Italy really sing reggae music? Do they have the right to? And is it fair? Does anyone actually own the right to reggae? Would Bob Marley approve? Well, his record label apparently does, as Italian reggae super star, Alborosie is represented by Marley's Tuff Gong label.
I am not a reggae expert by any means. I enjoy listening to reggae music, especially live when sitting on a beach in Jamaica with a fruity drink in my hand, but that's about the extent of my involvement. Still, it must be noted that though reggae music has its roots in Jamaica, it wasn't created out of a Black power or spiritual movement. The music came first and then it was adapted and adopted for protest and consciousness raising over social and political issues. But reggae songs can be about any thing, so one could say it can be sung and appreciated by any body. Right?
Here's a link to the story as it ran on NPR. Please take a listen. It's a fascinating piece. Let me know what you think?
And to take you into the weekend, enjoy this video by Italian-born, Alborosie.