Reggae an Important Part of Jamaican Culture – Dr. Chang


The Government is to establish a museum of reggae music and artifacts, to represent the struggles and achievements of Jamaican music, and will establish a special initiative to encourage and assist Jamaican film makers to produce works on Jamaican culture.
The announcement was made by Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, last night (July 3), who was giving the welcome address on behalf of Prime Minister, Bruce Golding at a launching reception for the 7th International Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference. The reception was held at Vale Royal, the Prime Minister’s official residence.
Noting that culture remains an important part of “who we are, what we are and how we do what we do,” Dr. Chang stated that Jamaica’s cultural identity and image worldwide were strongly linked to reggae music, “an indigenous product of which we are very proud.”
Describing reggae as an international language of the oppressed, he credited the work of artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, whose “lyrics captivated international audiences, unified people in their struggles and served as the basis for negotiating significant truces.”
Their work, he stressed, “took the themes of rebellion, human rights, love, respect for others and freedom into the far corners of the world and helped pave the way for unity and peace.”
Dr. Chang pointed out that reggae is so important to Jamaicans, that the month of February has now been devoted to celebrating it. That celebration included the successful staging of the Reggae Film Festival, as a result of which, a special initiative is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport, to encourage and assist Jamaicans to make their own films about their own culture.
He also noted that Jamaica had just celebrated International Reggae Day (July 1), which demonstrates the significant impact of music from a small country on people all over the world, who he said, continue to appreciate reggae.
Dr. Chang is in charge of the Government until Prime Minister, Bruce Golding’s return from the 29th regular meeting of the conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) being held from July 1 to 4, in Antigua and Barbuda.
The July 3 to 7 conference, which is being staged at the University of the West Indies (UWI) is being held in Jamaica for the first time. It attracted participants from over 60 countries to focus on revival, drumming, dancehall and reggae, to help bridge the gap between traditional scholars and the wider public.
Among those at the reception were, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange; Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall; former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga; Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Professor Barrington Chevannes; Vice Chancellor Emeritus, of the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, Professor Rex Nettleford; and Chairman of the Association of Cultural Studies, Professor Meaghan Morris.

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