Reggae fights for acceptance
DESPITE strides made by reggae musicians over the years, the genre still struggles to gain acceptance in some markets.
A recent article in The New Times, a publication out of the African state of Rwanda, highlights the struggles by reggae acts in that country.
The article quotes local artiste Jean-Chrysostome Tuyishime aka Krizzo, who is said to be one of the music's heavyweights in Rwanda. He said the society is still hostile to reggae music because of its perceived link to the Rastafari movement.
For Krizzo, reggae musicians and fans must fight this perception by being positive role models through their music and social life.
"Society still associates reggae with unwanted elements in society. They see reggae musicians and fans as rebels who take drugs. The Rastafarians are mistaken for people who cannot do important things in society," the dreadlocked Krizzo is quoted as saying.
"As reggae artistes, it's vital that we pass the message that we also have passion for what we do... You can be a Rastafarian without doing drugs or sporting dreadlocks. I just want to be a role model by being on the right side of society and spreading my message of love and inclusiveness through reggae music," he continued.
As part of his efforts to improve the lot of reggae in Rwanda, Krizzo is organising the Rwanda Reggae Festival, a two-day event from May 10 to 11 — the final day being the 33rd anniversary of the passing of the King of Reggae Bob Marley.
"I have linked with a number of Rwandan reggae artistes like Clispin, Ben Nganji and Ras Love and we are preparing something that will change the face of reggae music here. Reggae fans should prepare themselves for a great treat, and they are also going to listen to some of my songs that I'm going to launch on that occasion," said Krizzo.