They can’t steal our mu­sic En­ter­tain­ers happy for­eign­ers do­ing reg­gae


There is the re­cur­ring ar­gu­ment that reg­gae and dance­hall, though in­dige­nous to Ja­maica, is at risk of cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion to the point of theft. But some per­form­ers, in­clud­ing Jesse Royal and Wayne Mar­shall, dis­agree that the mu­sic is be­ing stolen from the na­tion. They ar­gue that we should take it as a com­pli­ment.

“I don’t think our cul­ture is be­ing stolen, be­cause it can’t be stolen,” Jesse Royal said in re­sponse to the topic raised dur­ing a panel dis­cus­sion at the re­cent Ap­ple­ton Es­tate Ja­maica Rum The Heart of Ja­maica al­bum launch. “What hap­pened is, the world is com­pli­ment­ing this lit­tle is­land by re­spect­ing what we’re do­ing, try­ing to du­pli­cate what we’re do­ing. I don’t see it as any­thing else but a com­pli­ment.”

For Jesse, ex­pe­ri­ence over­seas ce­ments his be­lief that au­then­ti­cally Ja­maican per­form­ers are ir­re­place­able.

“When you’re on tour, you re­alise no­body can take noth­ing from we. Once we touch the stage, they feel the sun, the sand, the strug­gle and the pain in ev­ery word and ev­ery note,” he said.

In re­cent news, global pop star and busi­ness mogul Ri­hanna re­vealed plans to re­lease a reg­gae al­bum.

“If Ri­hanna is go­ing to bring more re­spect to the genre, a lit­tle bit more aware­ness, we’re all for it. We, inna our self, have a united Caribbean,” said Jesse. “You have the USA, and we want a United States of Africa. But we down here suh in the Caribbean need fi un­der­stand that we are one. We have dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions of mu­sic; and, yes, we are the Ja­maican lead­ers. But we have to try to con­nect and try to be one so we have a col­lec­tive push.”

He con­tin­ued: “We need as many stars, we need as much strength, love and aware­ness, be­cause peo­ple need to hear it. Peo­ple need fi get on to what is next. We need that op­por­tu­nity, too.”

Wayne added: “Ri­hanna has Bob Mar­ley swim­suits in her videos to keep the aware­ness of her ‘Caribbean­ness’. When you check it out, Ri­hanna has done so much dif­fer­ent gen­res. For her to be­lieve that reg­gae and dance­hall is the way to go to make her­self big­ger in this day and age is, again, a com­pli­ment to reg­gae mu­sic.”


Jesse Royal

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