I saw the lorry pull off the road and a crew of young men unloading a series of speakers from its trunk. I then heard the pounding bass lines of the sound system. Intrigued by the melody, I felt the zinc roofing and metal sliding of the building buzzing in harmony to the rhythm- that was an upliftment.
On getting there, I got hit by the sound system at once, the sound crashing all around me and my shirt moving in response to the musical current- that was an inspiration.
Despite its ear-splitting volume, I enjoyed the music, I saw the scene being congregated with Rastafarian attire. I could see the combination of colors from hair, skin to costumes, and makeups- that was unity.
Upliftment, inspiration, and unity are the three genres that have got influenced by reggae music. Its slow jerky rhythm, its militant and spiritual lyric to the rebellious appearance of its performers, among others have influenced musical genres, cultures, and societies throughout the globe contributing to the development of counterculture movements in Europe, America, and Africa at large.
The African continent has associated histories of colonialism, neo-colonialism, tribalism, political maneuvers, tyrannies, corruption, and plundering of natural resources by former colonial powers. But, with the explosion of reggae, reggae became the principal medium to point fingers at the aforementioned scourges of African society. Such plaque got denounced by the likes of Alpha Blondy and Tiken Jah Fakoly who became Ivorian reggae ambassadors to Lucky Dube of South Africa who was and still is an emblematic figure of South African reggae which he used to denounce apartheid, racial and social injustices and never stopped speaking against discrimination, segregation, and exclusion. Amongst his representative album, the must mention include, Slave, Prisoner, and Victims.
It is not an overstatement to say that Africa and almost the whole world got culturally influenced by reggae music and its Rastafarian message. Its Rasta symbols; dreadlocks, Ethiopian colors, ganja, or military outfit have the potential of charming foreign audiences. Reggae has influenced society from musical, cultural, and political points of view with its lyrics being more than just words to uplift, inspire, and unify.
This article was written by Ibegbunam Williams Ekene; connect with him on Instagram via here