SOUTH FLORIDA – A number of truly significant developments over the last few days argue well for Jamaican popular culture and reggae music.
There is much to celebrate over Dalton Harris’ victory at the X-Factor contest in England. As in the case of Tessanne chin five years ago, the young Harris confirmed what many Jamaicans have known for generations; Jamaica produces incredibly talented singers and players of instruments, as well, as the current movie ‘green book” about a Jamaican pianist attests.
I am submitting, however, the more significant achievement is in UNESCO, an agency of the United Nations accepting reggae music as being a valuable cultural artifact, worthy of international protection.
We need to be clear about the protection which has been rendered. This accolade does not mean nobody else can record reggae. It does not mean no one can “steal” reggae music in the sense of creating reggae recordings.
What it does is tell the world that reggae music is a unique, Jamaican creation which nobody else can claim as coming from them or their country.
For this to make sense the history of popular music in this country needs to be understood.
Virtually all forms of popular music in the U.S. originated in the black experience. Rock and roll is really speeded blues, period. Attempts have been made over the years however, to make it seem otherwise.
After last week, nobody can claim reggae music was created by anyone else or came from nowhere but JAMAICA!
Voice your opinion on the “Open Line” with Winston Barnes daily on WAVS 1170AM or on-line