Chronixx defends SOJA

Reggae artiste Chronixx has jumped to the defence of predominantly white Grammy-winning group SOJA after their Reggae Album win ignited a firestorm of criticism on social media. 

In an Instagram story post on Monday, Chronixx called for industry insiders and Jamaicans to desist from belittling the band's achievement.  

“Soja been one of the best bands in America for years, overall one of the top reggae bands in the world for years. So you shouldn't have to be a fan to show respect,” he said. 

Chronixx was nominated for a Grammy in 2018 for his album Chronology, eventually losing to Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley with his album Stony Hill.

The Smile Jamaica singer refused to join the chorus of dissent alleging 'cultural appropriation and 'racial favouritism' which has erupted online. 

“Don't mention me on some post trying to discredit honourable people who doing what they love. Dem ya man ya been blessing us and sharing their platform with us for years….consistently. Bring nuff a wi on the road before we got opportunities (to) open for any of the native Jamaican music legends,” Chronixx wrote.

In the group's Grammy acceptance speech, SOJA's lead singer Jacob Hemphill openly paid homage to Jamaica's musical influence. 

“We wanna thank all of our influences. When we were growing up, starting a reggae band was kind of a dream and the only thing we wanted to do...”

Another group member added: “To the founding fathers of reggae music and to the island of Jamaica, you inspired us all. Give thanks. One love.”

READ: 'Jamaica, you've inspired us' – SOJA wins Best Reggae Album Grammy

The award was handed out during the pre-Grammy telecast at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday.

This was the group's third nomination. They previously received nods for Amid the Noise and the Haste (2015, produced by Jamaican Dwayne “Supa Dups” Chin-Quee) and Live in Virginia (2017).

SOJA, an acronym that means Soldiers of Jah Army, is based in Virginia, and its Grammy award-winning album Beauty in the Silence, which was released in July 2021, peaked at No 2 on Billboard's reggae albums chart. 

The band consists of eight members and is one of the top-selling reggae acts in the United States. Their albums consistently outsell those of their Jamaican counterparts. The band also tours and performs on several shows across the United States annually, racking up over 106 million streams worldwide in 2021.

SOJA beat Sean Paul (Live N Livin), Gramps Morgan (Positive Vibrations), Etana (Pamoja), Jesse Royal (Royal), and Spice (10) to lift the coveted Reggae Grammy award.

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