Reggae – an owned genre?
It’s now well over a month since the biggest Music Awards Show, the Grammy’s were held. Like any other Awards Show, this year’s edition had its own controversies and criticism.
One of the categories that drew huge criticism was the award for Best Reggae Album, which was won by an American Band, SOJA. Since the introduction of the Grammy Award for best Reggae Album in 1985, this year was the third time for a non-Jamaican band to win the Award.
The inaugural winner was the band Black Uhuru and other artists like Jimmy Cliff, Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton, three of the Marley Brothers (sons to Bob) Ziggy, Stephen and Damian as well as the new breed of Jamaican Artists like Koffee.
After the Awards Ceremony the internet went into rave as Reggae fans, especially those from Jamaica questioned SOJA’s win. Reggae is predominantly a Jamaican genre which gained popularity around the 70s through artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Jacob Miller among others. In the Reggae Category which was won by SOJA the other nominees were Sean Paul, Etana, Gramps Marley, Jesse Royal and Spice.
Many Reggae fans anticipated that Etana’s offering Pamoja was the clear favorite to the gong. Fans quickly threw in the race question into the equation of how a band of White Americans could win the Best Reggae Award. Other fans even from Africa were also surprised because the SOJA Album, “Beauty in the Silence” was not globally popular. In their acceptance speech, the band paid tribute to Jamaica for the positive influence on their band and to the Godfathers of the genre.