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Reggae gold rush in February

BY BALFORD HENRY
Observer Senior Reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, January 28, 2019

Lenford Salmon, senior advisor to Entertainment Minister Olivia Grange, says a Reggae Gold Reception and Awards Ceremony will be staged at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on February 27.

“We are using the occasion to honour and bring recognition to the work of individuals and institutions who have made significant contributions to the creation, development and popularity of the music over the years,” he said.

Salmon also noted that a committee has been named to handle the selections, and they have already started the process.

He did not disclose who are members of the panel.

At a January 20 function in Kingston to launch Reggae Month, Grange announced that 50 persons who have contributed to the growth of reggae since its birth in 1969 will be recognised by the Government.

The minister also applauded last year's decision by UNESCO, to add reggae to its list of cultural institutions worthy of protection and preservation.

“It was a major step for us, a major step for the music, because we had our challenges,” Grange told guests at the media launch.

“We could have entertained a discussion from UNESCO, speaking about the reggae music from Jamaica, as if there is reggae music from anywhere else; but we insisted it should be the reggae music of Jamaica, and not the reggae music from Jamaica, because reggae originated here and it is our music,” she said.

Grange told the Jamaica Observer that her team insisted at the meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) — a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris — that it should be defined as reggae music of Jamaica, which shows ownership, instead of reggae music from Jamaica which suggests it could be from anywhere.

She noted that controversial Ugandan reggae artiste/politician, Bobi Wine, was able to freely express views about his country's government at the January 18-19 Rebel Salute. That is something he would be unable to do in Uganda after the government there introduces new regulations which include vetting new songs, in a move critics say discourages negative comments about the current administration.

The 36-year-old singer/opposition parliamentarian (real name Robert Kyagulanyi) has a large following among Ugandans through his criticism of the Ugandan Government.