KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, has congratulated United States-based reggae band, SOJA, for winning the 2022 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
In a statement released to the media, the Culture and Entertainment Minister said reggae music has "touched and influenced the lives of people all around the world" and expressed that SOJA's win is proof of the genre's universality".
“I want to congratulate SOJA on their award. This speaks to the universality of Reggae music and its worldwide reach," a part of her statement read.
Taking a brief trip down memory lane, Grange recalled the year reggae music made the United Nations' list of global cultural treasures. The Minister shared that in that ceremony back in 2018, "some of the most impassioned and stirring speeches about reggae came from far-flung countries."
"I recall in 2018 in Mauritius, when UNESCO inscribed Reggae Music, some of the most impassioned and stirring speeches about reggae came from far-flung countries such as China, Japan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Poland and Cameroon. Our music has touched and influenced the lives of people all around the world,” Minister Grange said.
Giving special credit to Spice and Etana for making the Grammy's shortlist of nominees, Grange sought to remind the public that their inclusion was the first time in the award's 36-year history that two women were nominated in the Reggae category, a feat she urged Jamaicans to continue celebrating.
She also used the opportunity to recognise the other nominees in the category; Sean Paul, Gramps Morgan, and Jesse Royal.
The Minister's statement comes amidst outrage that a non-Jamaican, reggae band walked away with what is arguably the most coveted award in music history. Jamaicans have been calling for a boycott of the Grammy awards following SOJA's win dubbing it a slap in the face to the foundation of reggae music.