Reggae Music and Its Influences Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
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One of the worlds iconic figures, Reggae musician Bob Marley(1945-1981) stated that, People want to listen to a message, word from Jah(God). This could be passed through me or anybody, I am not a leader, messenger. The word of the songs, not the person, is what attracts people. Reggae music is gifted to people in Jamaica as their own unique identity. Jamaican musicians are well-known for expressing their Rastafarian beliefs through the music, Reggae. Rastafarian reflects ideologies, attitudes, actions of the people for the better society (Spiker,1998). At this point, they became social commentators, prophets, and messengers who heal the wounds of people affected by social and political injustices (Aimers, 2004).This essay illustrates that reggae music has been successful spreading Rastafarian beliefs in politics, social injustices and cultures.

Firstly, Jamaican musicians play essential roles to give the political messages to people based on their Rastafarian beliefs. The political messages shared through the Reggae music are those of peace, love, and brotherhood of mankind for forming a unity to fight for the liberty of people in Jamaica. Musicians gave the message by setting several goals based on general popular interest of the population against any oppression and encouraged people to speak-up. For instance, Bob Marley(1945-1981); the predominant singer strived to bring the awareness for not only in the hearts of Jamaicans, but also in those of Africans and the rest of the world (Abram & Ingrid, 2009). One of his popular songs, Get up, and Stand up for your rights not only defended his religious beliefs but also pointed at political oppression and natural rights of people (Lockard, n.d). Following lyrics is from the song by Bob Marley (1973):

We sick an tired of-a-your ism-skism-game
Dying n goin to heaven in-a Jesus name, Lord.
We know when we understand:
Almighty god is a living man.
You can fool some people sometimes,
But you can fool all the people all the time.
So now we see the light (What you gonna do?)
We gonna stand up for our rights! (Bob Marley Lyrics)

Thus, one can conclude that reggae and its musicians are influential as a medium for spreading political messages to enlighten the darkness of peoples mind and brain.  Secondly, People all around the world heard the voice of Rastafarian beliefs against social injustices through the reggae music and by its talented musicians. Their songs lyrics were mightier than swords to reveal such issues as racism, colonialism, slavery, and exploitation on colored people in Africa.

Rastafarians are attached to the ideas of equality, tolerance, justice, and non-violence. In addition, it is a theology of submissiveness and every Rasta has a right to freedom of expression (Abram & Ingrid, 2009). Particularly, slavery had affected most of Africans lives badly for being taken away from one own society and family which could have damaged them physically and psychologically by segregations and hard labors (Novick, n.d). For example, Reggae musician, Peter Tosh(1944-1987)s famous song Mama Africa(1983)indicated the life of an African slave missing home:

Mama Africa
How are you doing Mama, Mama Africa
Long time me no see you Mama
They took me away from you Mama
Long before I was born
They took me away from you Mama
Long before I came on in(Peter Tosh Lyrics)

Hence, the reggae music and its musicians had not only led people in Jamaica for Rastafarian beliefs and for fighting against the social injustices but also Africans as a whole for the better survival.

Lastly, the Rastafari influence also had contributed to the cultural significance of reggae music and culture of people; it was a symbol for both identity and pride among the Jamaicans. It has also created an understanding of lifestyle and culture in Jamaica for the rest of the world (Aimers, 2004). The reggae music and Rastafarian complemented one another to occupy peoples state of mind to think of it as a part of the Jamaican lifestyle, needless to mention that it has become a tradition and culture for them. In spite of all the difficulties and hardships which came upon people in Jamaica, they had been recognized internationally for their predominant reggae music all over the world.

The culture of reggae along with Rastafarian symbols was being introduced to many countries. Reggae musicians hair-styles, clothing and accessories which mirror the Rastafari are being imitated by some devoted fans. For example, Thailands Khao-San road is full of Rastafarian symbols and its trendy musician, Bob Marley printed-items from head to toe. Therefore, Reggae music and its Rastafarian symbols have enormously impacted on cultures of many different countries, originated from Jamaica.

In conclusion, there are many studies which has discussed about the importance of reggae music spreading Rastafarian beliefs and symbols throughout the world. Reggae music has been positively influential to the society by means of political, social, and cultural impacts. In addition, it has not only brought the liberty to people in Jamaica but also mother Africa. Therefore, it is remarkable peak in history that peaceful and non-violent music won over the aggressive wars, fights, and any kind of violence. In fact, peaceful as well as meaningful song lyrics are mightier than sharp and shining swords.

References;
Aimers, J. (2004). The Cultural Significance of Reggae. ATH175 People of the world. Retrieved from;
http://www.units.muohio.edu/ath175/student/petersle/culture.html

Abram, V. & Ingrid, H. (October, 2009). The Rastafarian Movement. The Observatory for Religious Phenomena (World Religion Watch). Retrieved from
http://www.worldreligionwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=281&Itemid=65

Lockard, Craig A. (June, 2010). Bob Marley, Victor Jara, Fela Kuti, and
Political Popular Music.University of Illinois. Retrieved from;
http://worldhistoryconnected.press.illinois.edu/7.2/lockard.html

Novixk, S. (n.d). The Effects of Slavery on Reggae Music. The Dread Library. Retrieved from;
http://debate.uvm.edu/dreadlibrary/novick.html

Spiker, C. (April 1998). Reggae As Social Change:The Spread of Rastafarianism. The Dread Library. Retrieved from;
http://debate.uvm.edu/dreadlibrary/spiker.html

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