By M. Peggy Quattro
Reggae Report Magazine, Founder/Publisher
There’s no doubt today’s world is a tumultuous place. We are faced with far too many “isms and schisms”: racism, capitalism, socialism, fascism, communism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism. For the past 50+ years, there’s been one constant that has helped humankind deal with the noise and commotion — the peaceful inner protest encapsulated in Reggae’s one-drop rhythm. Being well established in the Reggae movement for more than 35 years, I am sharing with you three ways I believe Reggae music delivers its message to a world of like-minded souls.
1) Reggae is often associated with ganja (aka marijuana/grass/weed/herb) and the ensuing euphoria this combination creates. However, by using the music’s heartbeat “riddim” wisely, Reggae captures our inner core. We instinctively dance and sing, even when we don’t understand all the Jamaican words, but ultimately it’s the music’s message that brings humanity together in harmony. We must thank the much-maligned and persistent Rastafari for educating the outside world on ganja’s health and spiritual benefits. Their peaceful and simple way of life is also rooted in political and socio-economic issues; their influence on Reggae’s growth, evolution, and contribution to Reggae history is undeniable.
2) I recognize this is not the first time our world—external and personal—has been in turmoil. Since the 1960s, Reggae songs have pointed out the chaos and offered solutions. While Bob Marley sings about “So Much Trouble in the World,” his partner Peter Tosh calls out for “Equal Rights & Justice,” and childhood friend and partner Bunny Wailer is “Chanting Down Babylon (One More Time.”) Chances are you may not have even been born when these wailing Wailers were singing “We and Dem,” “Rat Race,” or “Get Up Stand Up (Stand Up for Your Rights),” but it was these compositions that plucked at our heartstrings, and generations of fans have turned to Reggae’s positive messages in times like this ever since.
3) There is a certain unity, a sense of family, that I have witnessed materialize by Reggae fans around the globe. The riveting undercurrent of discontent calls for a unified voice that is “rooting for the underdog.” There are countless Reggae songs that wake up minds to: Who is the underdog? Is it me? Is it you? Reggae strikes a match to the tinderbox of injustice and inequality that is often overlooked or taken for granted as the status quo. I watched and participated in Reggae’s expansion over the past 40 years, thanks to the Internet, Cable TV, satellite radio, social media, websites, blogs, forums, and more. The Reggae family is a family of one love, one heart, one people, one world. Now, that’s pretty calming, right?
To find out more about Reggae’s rise to international recognition, visit ReggaeReport.com for articles, interviews, audio, video, and photos that cover the pioneering artists of the late-70s to the late-90s, as well as the “fresh on the scene” artists of today. While there, I invite you to join our SehWah?! newsletter family for Reggae history, fun facts, events, new music, and more.
Bob Marley & the Wailers “Get Up Stand Up” 1991 Video …
or watch on Reggae Report’s YouTube “Reggae Greats” playlist