‘World needs reggae now more than ever’
As the world recognises International Reggae Day (IRD) today, founder Andrea Davis says it's the perfect time to recognise the power of reggae music, especially its ability to heal and uplift.
In an interview with THE STAR, Davis said with people all over the world battling the effects of COVID-19 and racial inequality, music has been an important tool in helping to bring people out of these dark times.
"The world needs reggae now more than ever. It has always been the soundtrack for equal rights and justice and the fight for humanity to come together in one love. It has been the teaching vehicle to awaken the consciousness of humanity and all the lessons Rastafari has been trying to teach to the world, and as the world begins to turn to these lessons, whether by force or an awakening, it's only fitting that reggae music be the soundtrack to usher in that shift," she said. "Despite what we have done with it in Jamaica, reggae music has really shown itself to be a catalyst for social change."
Davis noted that IRD itself was inspired by the experience of South Africans during apartheid.
"It was a speech by Winnie Mandela when she visited Jamaica with her husband that inspired me. I was in the room while she spoke about the power of reggae music to help them fight apartheid, and that it was illegal in South Africa and that they had to use white labels to sneak records in, and cower in dark rooms listening to Bob Marley and Peter Tosh," said Davis. "Whether you're looking at resistance in Africa to apartheid, or the fight for black lives matter which is happening all over the world, reggae music is a part of the soundtrack for hope and change."
Davis added that because of its ability to heal, reggae music has established itself as a special genre, incomparable to any other.
"They say music is the healing of the nation. They say it can soothe the savage beast and calm the mind, but reggae music does that and more. It has a special role unlike any other genre on the planet," she said. "It is one that is not only powerful enough to move your feet, but it can move your heart and mind as well. And that philosophy that comes with it through the teaching of Marcus Garvey and Rastafari."
She added, "It has become one of the main vehicles for the awakening that we are seeing around the streets of the world right now. Today, as we celebrate International Reggae Day, we just want to acknowledge the never-ending contributions of reggae music to the world."