Contrary to what some may think that our artistes are just for the hype and all for themselves, over the last two decades or so, an increasing number of reggae artistes have been giving back to the society by reaching out the needy and less fortunate.
Perhaps the most high-profiled is Orville Richard Burrell, aka Shaggy. This Grammy Award-winning reggae artiste is once again staging his Shaggy and Friends charity concert which unfolds on the grounds of Jamaica House on Friday, December 30, to raise funds for the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston.
The diamond-selling reggae artiste has done it before. His 2009 concert raised US$2 million to facilitate the purchase of equipment for the hospital.
Another example of humanitarian service from the music fraternity is Clifton George Bailey III, better known as Capleton and his annual charity show A St Mary Mi Come From. His generosity over the years, has touched a raft of charities.
The beneficiaries have included Islington High School , Islington Sports Complex, Gray's Inn Sports Complex, St Mary Police Youth Club, Baccaswood Basic School,St Mary Primary, Buff Bay Primary, Port Maria Primary, Oberlin, Islington and Haile Selassie High. Among the hospitals are Port Maria, Annotto Bay and St Ann's Bay.
Proceeds from A St Mary Mi Come From was also donated towards the purchasing of a solar water heater for St Mary Infirmary, the building of a library for Beecham Hill Primary and Infant schools, as well as a cafeteria for the Half Way Tree Primary School.
Sizzla Kalonji is another member of the reggae community whose benevolence is noteworthy. The native of August Town, not too long ago registered the Sizzla Youth Foundation in order to help those in need and also support other charitable efforts.
"I've got the Sizzla Youth Foundation. We are setting up to have it launched. Its registered address is 40 August Town Road, where we are trying to build a little museum in the community because all these energies, all the vibes from the community, if we could just get this foundation in the community to where the people can rally around especially senior citizens along with upcoming youths to display their talents," Sizzla told the Observer. He also said that he has been working in other communities such as Bull Bay where he is instrumental in the establishment of the Nine Miles Foundation, and in Scott's Pass,Clarendon where he hope to be involved in farming.
The Ziggy Marley's organisation URGE (unlimited resources giving enlightenment) has also been giving back to the community. One dollar from each ticket sold at a concert featuring Ziggy Marley goes towards the funding of URGE projects.
It has also assisted the Jamaica Basketball Association to acquire a set of basketball rims previously owned by NBA champions Miami Heat. The rims are now form a part of the Jamaica Basketball Academy at the University of Technology.
The Bob Marley Foundation (BMF) also plays its philanthropic role recently made a donation of a Blood Gas Analyser biomedical equipment to the Victoria Jubilee Hospital to be used in the Neonatal Care Unit.
Lorna Wainwright, manager of the Tuff Gong International Recording Studio told the Observer that several schools in the parish of St Ann have benefited from the BMF. Marley for Education is an educational project funded by the foundation. The Foundation also provides Matthew 25:40, a home for children with HIV, with educational supplies.
The crown prince of reggae Dennis Brown is not out of the fray as it relates to giving back through the Dennis Emanuel Brown Trust.
"We have supported several students from high schools right up to university level. They should be a graduate of Central Branch All-Age they show scholastic aptitude with a desire for higher learning and they are from economically challenged circumstances," said founding member of the trust, Colin Leslie.
The recently launched Gregory Isaacs Foundation is said to be a tribute to the giving nature of the late singer.
According to his widow June the foundation will continue the charitable work he started. Among the charities to be considered by this foundation are The Walker Place of Safety on Lyndhurst Road, the Harmony Basic School in Windsor Height, St Catherine and a deserving student from All Saints All-Age School — Gregory Isaacs's alma mater.
The foundation will also be looking at awarding two more scholarships — one to a prospective student of the Jamaica School of Music and another to someone from an inner-city area, preferably Fletchers Land where the Cool Ruler grew up.
Several other artistes including Spragga Benz and Richie Stephens, do back to school events in their communities to help students with uniforms and books, as well as help their old schools