Reggae music: Billboard top bands now mostly white, non-Jamaicans

Reggae music: Billboard top bands now mostly white, non-Jamaicans

View video report:

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 5, 2013: The musical genre of reggae may have originated in the largely black country of Jamaica and with Rastafarians but in the United States today, there is a gentrification of the genre.

 Seven out of the top ten reggae chart toppers this week on the Billboard reggae chart are all largely White and Americans.

Picture shows  Soja, an Arlington-Virginia group, is among those on the charts!  

At the top, sits Christafari, a Christian reggae band formed in 1990 and led by a white singer named Mark Mohr with ‘Reggae Worship: A Roots Revival.’

Coming in at number two Josh Heinrichs, the former lead singer of internationally known indie reggae band, Jah Roots from Springfield, Missouri, with ‘Rooftop Session.’

Rebelution’s ‘Peace Of Mind,’ a white band from Santa Barbara, California, has been forced into number three, after peaking at number one and staying on the charts for the past 63 weeks.

Fortunate Youth, a group of young white guys who say they are simply a group combined of South Bay Reggae stand-outs from various bands on the west coast, are at number four with their album, ‘It’s All A Jam.’

And in the number five spot is Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu’s ‘Spark Seeker,’ which has been on the charts for 36 weeks.

Miska, a Bermuda-born white reggae singer signed to Matthew McConaughey’s record label, j.k. livin, is at fifth with ‘Ocean Is My Potion’ while Soja, another white group based in Arlington, Virginia in the Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. area., is at number 6 ‘With Strength To Survive.’

Apart from Bob ‘Marley: The Original Soundtrack,’ at number six; a compilation of reggae singers on Reggae Gold from VP Records at number 9 and ‘Rebirth,’ by Jimmy Cliff at number 10, all the other singers on the chart are non-Jamaican and largely white.

“Reggae is open to the world so I think personally Jamaicans new focus on dancehall than reggae now is why you will see other people coming in and taking over this industry,” is how Jamaican-born Shaun Walsh, of Whatz Up TV, NY explained the new fascinating trend.

“Reggae is Jamaica’s gift to the world and the Jamaican reggae community and Jamaicans all over can be proud of the acceptance of this gift and its dispersion throughout the world,” added Sharon Gordon, another Jamaican national and founder of The Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music, a global movement that unites reggae lovers in an effort to raise the bar in the creation, development promotion and presentation of reggae music.

But she stressed that the reality for Jamaica is that “there exists a troubling reality of inequity and inadequacy; inequity in access for Jamaicans to international markets and marketing and inadequate business practices in nurturing this cultural product.”

Hear more from Felicia Persaud on One Caribbean Television on Thursday, April 4, 2013!


Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • de castro  On April 5, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Copyrights in music is not unlike copyright in fashion …
    There will always be copycats…I bought socks with the
    letters NKE …Nike copied.
    Made in Indochina…ha ha !


    • Anna Nimitee  On April 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      LOL Some years ago I knew a Jamaican musician in California who bought a “FENLER” bass amp (in the Fender script).

  • Mr.B  On April 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Ok, I will comment. I really wouldn’t pay for any of those bands. Around the early 90s, the big labels came to JA and signed about 20 reggae and DJ acts, gave them $50,000, recorded them and then shelved all but two of them. There has been a concerted effort to knock the originators out of the biz and put in imitators. When an act like Ace of Base gets bigger hit in “reggae” than Burning Spear, then you must know that something is wrong. Pirates, the labels, doing their thing…
    It’s like when Sam Phillips said,”If I could find a white boy that sang like a black man I’d make a million” heralding the advent of Presley, giving him the title king of rock n roll, when it had been originated by black folk. Last year Rolling Stone called Eminem the king of hip hop. I’m not resentful, just disgusted. They won’t promote Rootz Underground or Bambu Station or any black acts. TRUTH…

    • PrinCeSs 'B'  On April 7, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Mr B… I totally agree… Some would say a ‘Stolen Legacy’… I would say we gave it away through lack of Knowledge!… The Whole World Loves Our AfriKan Caribbean Cultural Tradition!… Making Great Creative and Economic Headway… Cultural Appropriation in Full Effect!… The Hip Hop Reggae plan has been executed!… We are the best teachers of culture and creativity across the globe… It seems NOT the best at maintaining and enhancing… AND IN THE MEANTIME…. ????…

  • Mr.B  On April 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I liked UB40 and Blue Riddim because they humbled themselves, but, these granola reggae bands get on my nerves. They don’t even have enough class to put one or two black musicians in their bands…

  • Mr.B  On April 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    …culture vultures. Tools of the babylon beast…

    • PrinCeSs 'B'  On April 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

      This is nothing new Mr B… I totally overs this quote: “How does the culture implant its spirit into it’s members? It does it in a very strong,and primordial way.It use vehicles.And one of the major vehicles it use is music!…Rhythm! Song,Dance.

      Music is about symbols,and you see ultimately it is through symbols that you evoke behavior from people.And one of the best ways then to inculcate cultural values,a cultural spirit,is through entertainment.

      Therefore’ you see’ when you let another people take over your music,when you let another people take over your dance,and attach their content to it’ they will use your own music,and your own dance,and your own rap lyrics,and your own poetry,and your own cultural symbols,to carry their message into your body,and into your mind!…” Book: Cultural Manipulation: Author: Dr Amos Wilson.

  • Andrew Litchmore  On April 5, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    we just have to do a better job in marketing and supporting our Jamaican acts and also produce quality music. check out “SPREAD A LITTLE LOVE” by Principle

  • reddy  On April 6, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Its an attempt to take the most powerful music and destroy it. Hip hop wasnt too long ago we know their formula. Soon there will be more foreign rastas then blacks and ideas of black pride and Africa will be taken out and replaced with some illegal ideologies.

  • Leroy Carter  On April 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Just goes to show the effect that Jamaica has on the world and equally the extent to which others will go to discredit or take away that glory!

  • de castro  On April 8, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Glory ? Isn’t that what empires politicians religion implores on their
    masses…Hitler a modern day version…
    Glory is for “gods” “emperors” “dictator” “religious fanatics” et all
    not hijacking copying of others culture music art etc
    People are more aware of the other cultural of our peoples
    of our beautiful world ….let us take the good from others culture
    and leave its bad and ugly behind..move forward.
    forever the optimist for our future generations

  • Joan  On April 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Just watch what happens to people who try to sing reggae on American Idol. They embarrass them. There is a concerted effort to diminish the popularity and expansion of the reggae genre. If it is not a white reggae, the powers that be squash you nowadays it seems.

    On the other hand, people hate or do not understand Dancehall, and they hate the lewd images in these new music videos Music is a business targeted to a youth market and people don’t want their kids watching ganja puffing gangsters and gyrating women in most of our new Dancehall music videos. A lot of this we have done to ourselves, we killed our own industry with low quality, low morals and no attention to standards of commercialism, internationally. What might be acceptable in Jamaica will not fly internationally. It also works to destroy our nation’s overall image. If artists are not targeting international dollars then they can carry on with these lyrics and images that only people in Jamaica seem to find acceptable. If you want the make money in the world, you have got to pay attention to what is going on in that market.

    • walter nehaul  On June 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm

      i agree Joan,once art becomes money driven,it toilets.young people, if they cared would notice that good music in any genre would have longliveability.good artist still can find this very narrow path, with success

  • Roderick I Newton  On April 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Rod-on April 14th at 9.45 am’

    I agree that image is important when we want to market our culture. Show the best to the world because it is for generations even past our time; for example lewdness in our music under the guise of individual expression, can’t sell to the world if it offends the rights of others however good the music might be.

  • Cleveland Rightup  On June 27, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Jamaicans have dropped the ball and now we see the result, no one to blame but yourselves, too busy adoring filth slackness in and out of J amaica, some one has to keep reggae music stay strong

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: