Whose Reggae? Commentary by Winston Barnes

SOUTH FLORIDA – A CD by British singer Joss Stone has been named reggae album of the year and this has prompted a number of Jamaicans, both singers and others, to talk a lot of rubbish. Problem is that this rubbish talk is not new.

        As far back as the late 1980’s I participated in a panel discussion in Kingston, Jamaica about the development of reggae music. Someone who at the time had a radio show addressed the panel with a claim that included the notion that Jamaican music was being stolen. Not even possible! If you offer this music to world it should be hoped that people will like it to the extent of wanting to emulate the Jamaican creators of that sound, that genre.

In fact, what is stealing someone’s music is when Jamaicans re-record someone else’s song and in the labeling where the author’s name should be is either left blank or replaced by the word “adopted”, which is already wrong as the word ought to be adapted.

What Jamaican music makers ought to be about is learning about audiences and about marketing. And while they are at it, they should also behave in a manner to protect the visa that facilitates them earning some foreign currency.

The day of making a hustle might still be with us but the mentality that comes with the hustle will not get your reggae music on the charts much less the awards which come with making music which stands out.


Voice your opinion on the “Open Line” with Winston Barnes daily on WAVS 1170AM or listen on-line http://wavs1170.com/

Winston Barnes Host – “Open Line” WAVS 1170AM
Photo Credit: Leroy “Dreamy” Riley


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