Roots, Rock, Reggae
ege”Rock Steady” or Reggae music essentially flowered into the giant it grew to be, because of the oppression, which contaminated the winds in Jamaica. Andrew Kopkind elucidates the origins of when the “rock turned over” music. Reggae music since its birth has been the outlet or the voice, if you will, that has spoken for the ones all over the world who does not have a voice.
Jimmy Cliff, which is one of the main catalysts in creating a stage for reggae, stated that if one listened closely, you could hear that sixty percent of reggae music is comprised of oppression, while on the contrary; forty percent is only a fantasy. This new reggae music appealed to the soul of folk, and sought to open their eyes to the realities of the world. On the other hand, the music in North America was “on a sex-‘n-violence trip that destroy itself and its cultural context.”
Jimmy Cliff, along with his music played a vital role in the politics of Jamaica. There was a movie that came out, which was called “The Harder They Come”. This movie sought to show Jamaica’s true essence, by focusing on the black and poor Jamaicans, minus the manicured beaches. When Jimmy Cliff’s movie made its way into the movie theaters, people were unable to hide from the truth. The movie sparked criticism with the Jamaica Labor Party in Jamaica, but it also contributed to the PNP’s electoral victory, which was profound, because if the Jamaica Labor Party had won, it would have sparked a rebellion.
Michael Manley, a prime minister in Jamaica, once stated that if one wanted to know the truth as to what was going on in Jamaica, all one needed to do was listen closely to the music. Reggae is the music of the people, for the people, and by the people, which seeks to educate the masses on the injustices going on, and at the same time inject hope into the people that find themselves in an oppressed stage in life.
Rock Steady or Reggae has had an everlasting affect on people around the world. The sounds of the kids running and beating their sticks on rocks, the sound of the footsteps of man or woman walking to their place of toil, the beeping horns in traffic, and the cry of fruit vendors trying to make enough money to suffice, are all ingredients in reggae music. When you hear the African chants and the deep drum bass, you’re basically hearing the voices the political opinions for many, the cries of oppression for the majority and the claim for freedom for all.