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.”