Jamaican music is catalyst for social change



After gaining independence from British rule, Ska was one of the first truly Jamaican music to be recorded. According to John downing in his article Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media, “Ska reflected the optimism of the young generation that grew up with the hope of casting off the colonial yoke and building ‘the new Jamaica’” (Downing, 2011). Since the inception of Ska, Jamaicans have been using music to represent the voice of those unheard, who were usually poor inner city citizens. Jamaican music has been used as a catalyst for social change and in colloquial terms “Killed two birds with one stone” acting as a message and the medium through which this message is delivered.



Through the earliest forms of Jamaican music such as Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae, Jamaicans made it clear that they were not pleased with the hegemonic behaviours of the political leaders. Other messages in the music were the discomfort of their economical status and concerns about the upsurge of violent killings. Songs such as Rivers of Babylon (Reggae) and Cry Tough (Rock Steady) are perfect examples of the music used to advocate for social change. Emphasized by the Rastafarian movement and their adherence to reggae, music is one of the most effective mediums that can be used to get a message across. Etched into the music, a message of love, unity and hope for a better life was spread across Jamaica through times when political violence was at its peak. Jamaicans knew they needed change; their message was clear but usually unheard due to efforts of the more powerful upper class. Realising the influence of music, artistes began to write about social injustice knowing it would reach the ears of everyone including persons overseas. In conclusion, from the emergence of Ska the Jamaican people knew they had the attention of the world like never before. As the music transitioned and evolved into different genres they used it as a medium to “up the ante” on social reformation.


Downing, J. (2011). Encyclopedia of social movement media. London,UK:Sage Publications,Inc


Out of many one Jamaica; we are Jamaicans

“Jamaica’s apparently peculiar position is usually explained along lines somewhat like this: We are neither Africans though most of us are black. We are neither Anglo Saxon though some of us would have others believe this. We are Jamaican! And what does this mean?” (Nettleford, 1998 p.23)

out of many 1 people1Jamaica is one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean and the world but the variety of races which make up our people, far encompasses the size of this rock we have grown to love. Long before, and after our independence, Jamaicans struggled to find a single term that could represent us all. With no success, the Jamaican motto “Out of many one people” was carefully crafted; these words ideally captured the true picture of the Jamaican citizens. Dr. Rex Nettleford in his essay National Identity and Attitudes to race in Jamaica highlighted that this desire to define ourselves still exist among our people today, and it is the word “many” that persons pay close attention to in the motto ignoring the idea that we have become one.

The quotation portrays the idea that though some Jamaicans have accepted that they are descendants of one or more race that were taken here during slavery, there are some who firmly believe that they are nothing but Jamaicans. I too share the view that many races have become one and we are Jamaicans. Although heavily influenced by the Africans and the British we have still found ways to acquire unique characteristics that set us apart as a people. Jamaican creole and Reggae music are two examples of such characteristics that define us, our foods and the crops we cultivate are other factors that have helped to mold us into an independent people.

Presently the Caribbean looks to North America, Canada and England as the guiding nations that influence and define us. They affect our media, how we dress and what we eat. Even though most of the countries are under the same influence they can still be individually identified because of their originality. We are black, but not Africans, neither are we Anglo Saxon: Out of many, one Jamaica. We are Jamaicans.


Nettleford, R. (1998) Mirror, Mirror. Identity Race and Protest in Jamaica. 2nd edition Kingston, LMH Publishing p. 16-33

Representations in the Harder they come.


“Select 2 songs which appealed to you from the movie and discuss their symbolic interpretations.”


Jamaican reggae is music of protest that carries an angry message of poverty (Davila, n.d.).Untitled3 Music is used by the powerless to counter the oppression of the powerful and send a message draped in melody that “You can get it if you really want.”


The harder they come by Perry Henzell, is a symbolic film which speaks to the heart and soul of its viewers, using music as a catalyst to evoke emotions. Adding to the images on screen, scores in the movie helped to create a sense of reality. When times got hard, and Ivan felt desperate, one could hear the sounds of “Many rivers to cross” playing in the background, making the scene more intense. In a review of the movie, Julianne Burton detailed that music conspired with the visual image to draw the viewer deeper into the emotional experience of the film (Burton, 1975.)

The two songs from the movie that appealed to me are; “The Harder They Come” and “You can get it if you really want.” Both written and perform by Jimmy Cliff who plays Ivan in the movie. I chose these songs because as Ivan’s character changed, so did the meanings of these songs, the lyrics of which are well incorporated into the film.

In the opening scenes, “you can get it if you really want” symbolized hope and highlighted how gullible and innocent Ivan was. Untitled1The song played as he hopped off a bus in the big city, with nothing but dreams of making it big. The song comes on again, but by this time Ivan has changed dramatically, caving under the hegemonic pressures he “makes it” but by no means did he trod the straight and narrow. Gallivanting in a car he hijacked, the song now symbolizes determination and achieving goals regardless of the outcomes.

“The Harder They come” portrayed several symbolic meanings throughout the film, the lyrics written in such a way, it followed the journey of the main character. The song made symbolic references, to religion, social indifference and a fight against oppression and media hegemony.


Burton, J. (1975). The Harder They Come Cultural colonialism and the American dream. Retrieved February 4, 201, from:http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays  /JC06folder/HarderTheyCome.html

Davila, M. (n.d.) Oppression and Resistance in Jamaican Reggae and Afro-Brazilian Music A Comparative Study of Race  in Music and Culture. Retrieved on February 4, 2015, from:http://debate.uvm.edu/dreadlibrary/davila.html


10 Mobile Games You’ve Probably Never tried before!

Over 1 million+ apps  have been created since smartphones took over, I bet you use no more than five on a regular basis. 😉

Here are the top 10 unusually addictive games I’ve tried, How many do you know?

  1. Red Herring
  2. Quiz up
  3. Icon Pop Song
  4. Pictoword
  5. Cham Cham
  6. Bee Leader
  7. Word Monster
  8. Microtrip
  9. Abduction
  10. Action Potato

Beat the boredom, they’re all free. 😀

Our True Purpose

critical-thought How long should it really take someone to figure out what exactly their true purpose is? A question we don’t usually ask aloud but deep inside we strive to find our selves. A few years after birth? Several decades? An entire century (If your lucky that is)? And if we spend all the time we were allotted searching, when exactly do we live this “dream” and make use of our discovered potential?

So far on my quest to find who I am, or who  I was meant to be, I’ve met two kinds of people, both impacting me in a unique way. They are The Dreamers and The Dreamers.

Dreamer number one, has the entire thought process figured out, down to the last T. They can tell you everything you need to know about a particular subject, all the pros and cons but what I have learnt is that this dreamer has no plan nor the guts to execute and make this dream a reality. So dreamer number one, dreams all day and is quick to criticize and they speak as if they have all they answers, probably they do, who knows?

Dreamer number two also has a dream, some of the details may be a bit sketchy, but there is always a well detailed plan of exactly how each milestone will be reached and passed. This dreamer will influence you to take a risk, be bold, walk with your chin up, and “take the bull by the horn.” To have a dream is half the story they will tell you.

Now back to the initial thought, finding our true selves. Dreamer number one or dreamer number two? I think it starts with figuring out where you stand then making whatever change is necessary. I’ve been told many times that the pieces will fall into place, but I took it a bit further to say:

“The pieces will fall into place, After you go out and find them.”