Jamaican Music: A Catalyst for Change?


Depiction of Jamaican Reggae with Famous line from Bob Marley’s song ‘One Love’

Jamaican music  in my opinion is not only a catalyst for change, but a representation of it. The  birth of Jamaican music, Reggae in particular, is true to change. Born out of the pride of a newly found independence and an optimistic view of the future, this genre  took on the role of ‘oral story telling’, facilitating a change even in the way in which the Jamaican masses received news or  documented important happenings. Emerging from Kingston in the 1960’s, reggae music  became the voice of the people, the voice of the voiceless, reporting  everything from everyday occurrences to revolutionary moments in Jamaica’s development, marking the transition from colony to independent nation.

Jamaica’s reggae music,  was not only documenting the change in Jamaica’s status as an independent nation, but it was also celebrating it, bringing the new nation to the rest of the world, presenting them, by sound. It was not only a catalyst for change, but it was the ‘sound of it.’ Take for instance, how Jamaica’s reggae music played a vital role in the political shifts of the 1970’s. In this era, the rise of Reggae was strong, and Michael Manley, running for office at the time, used this knowledge to secure his victory at the end of the elections. Bob Marley at the ‘One Love Peace concert’, years later, used reggae as a medium for the uniting of the opposing political forces in Jamaica at a time when Jamaica seemed divided, symbolically uniting both sides and thus symbolizing a change in Jamaica’s step forward.

In conclusion, Jamaica’s music is indeed a catalyst for change. Today it stands not only for Jamaica’s uniting and revolutionary strides, but has become the sound of change in other lands  as well. Born of the oppressed, Reggae music has truly become the soundtrack for transformation.

Photo source:  Reggae Music Lessons.(2011)Retrieved from:http://connectimass.com/2011/01/25/reggae-music-lessons-top-3-reasons-reggae-music-sales-suck-and-how-to-change-it/

Dunn,H. &,Johnson -Brown,S. (2011) Reggae and resistance (Jamaica) .Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media.(Ed.) Downing, J. Sage Publications. California


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