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Billboard’s Reggae chart toppers largely white, non-Jamaicans

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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 5, 2013: The musical genre of reggae may have originated in the largely black country of Jamaica and with Rastafarians but in the United States today, there is a gentrification of the genre.

Seven out of the top ten reggae chart toppers this week on the Billboard reggae chart are all largely White and Americans.
At the top, sits Christafari, a Christian reggae band formed in 1990 and led by a white singer named Mark Mohr with ‘Reggae Worship: A Roots Revival.’
Coming in at number two Josh Heinrichs, the former lead singer of internationally known indie reggae band, Jah Roots from Springfield, Missouri, with ‘Rooftop Session.’

 

Rebelution’s ‘Peace Of Mind,’ a white band from Santa Barbara, California, has been forced into number three, after peaking at number one and staying on the charts for the past 63 weeks.

Fortunate Youth, a group of young white guys who say they are simply a group combined of South Bay Reggae stand-outs from various bands on the west coast, are at number four with their album, ‘It’s All A Jam.’

And in the number five spot is Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu’s ‘Spark Seeker,’ which has been on the charts for 36 weeks.

Miska, a Bermuda-born white reggae singer signed to Matthew McConaughey’s record label, j.k. livin, is at fifth with ‘Ocean Is My Potion’ while Soja, another white group based in Arlington, Virginia in the Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. area., is at number 6 ‘With Strength To Survive.’

Apart from ‘Marley: The Original Soundtrack,’ at number six; a compilation of reggae singers on Reggae Gold from VP Records at number 9 and ‘Rebirth,’ by Jimmy Cliff at number 10, all the other singers on the chart are non-Jamaican and largely white.

“Reggae is open to the world so I think personally Jamaicans new focus on dancehall than reggae now is why you will see other people coming in and taking over this industry,” is how Jamaican-born Shaun Walsh, of Whatz Up TV, NY explained the new fascinating trend.

“Reggae is Jamaica’s gift to the world and the Jamaican reggae community and Jamaicans all over can be proud of the acceptance of this gift and its dispersion throughout the world,” added Sharon Gordon, another Jamaican national and founder of The Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music, a global movement that unites reggae lovers in an effort to raise the bar in the creation, development promotion and presentation of reggae music.

But she stressed that the reality for Jamaica is that “there exists a troubling reality of inequity and inadequacy; inequity in access for Jamaicans to international markets and marketing and inadequate business practices in nurturing this cultural product.”

Hear more from Felicia Persaud on One Caribbean Television on Thursday, April 4, 2013!