They can't take reggae from us — Jesse Royal

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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In recent months there has been several outcries against what is being seen as cultural appropriation by several prominent acts in pop and hip hop, who sample Jamaican music without giving credit.

But one Jamaican artiste is not seeing the negative in this practice, but instead points to the proverbial silver lining.

For singer Jesse Royal, considered part of the new breed of reggae acts coming out of Jamaica, who have been dubbed 'reggae revivalists', this practice can be seen as a means of continuing the spread of local indigenous sounds on a global stage.

“I don't think our culture is being stolen because it can't be stolen,” he declared.

“What is happening is that the world is complimenting this little island by respecting what we are doing, trying to duplicate what we are doing. I don't see it as anything else but a compliment. When you tour you realise that nobody can take anything from us. Once we touch the stage they know, they feel the sun, the sand, the struggle the pain in every word in every note,” Jesse Royal continued

He narrowed his discussion to the reggae album being prepared for release by Barbadian-born pop princess Rihanna.

“If Rihanna is going to bring a little bit more respect to the genre and a little bit more awareness we are all for it. We here in the Caribbean must realise that we are one. We have different interpretations of music and we in Jamaica are the leaders. But we have to be united and try to be one so we can have a collective push out there. Everybody else, when dem a step out, dem a step out in the name of pop or hip hop, we dem come from ... Atlanta, Miami or Tennessee, they are hitting the charts in the name of hip hop or in the name of pop. We need as many stars, we need as much strength, we need as much love, as much awareness. People need to hear this music.

Jesse Royal is one of the acts who has been included in the new Appleton Estate-commissioned reggae album Heart of Jamaica and was speaking at the recent launch of the project at Victoria Pier in downtown Kingston.

His point was supported by fellow artiste Wayne Marshall.

“When you check it out Rihanna has done so much. She has broken so many records, she has done work in so many different genres. For her to believe that reggae and dancehall is the way to go to make herself bigger in this day and age is a compliment and a testament to the power of the music,” added Wayne Marshall.

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