Celebrating Our Story

THE WEEK LY GLEANER | FEBRUA RY 16 - FEBRUARY 22, 2021 | www.jamaica-gleaner.com | I35 CALL OR VISIT TODAY! For Your FREE Quote FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS! Visit our convenient location! Contact us at 860.236.9996 CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH 1141 New Britain Avenue West Hardford CT 06110 A I REY I NSURANCE GROUP female winner of this award. As it energises new voices and new sounds, the platform on which Reggae music is built maintains its links back to the past. Here, the late Toots Hibbert’s legendary artistry positions him as one of a small hand- ful of artistes who crafted mega-hits across several early genres of Jamaican music. These include his Six and Seven Books and DogWar in ska; BamBam in rocksteady; and the renowned 54-46 in reggae. Toots wrote and performed with The Maytals the 1968 song, Do the Reggay , credited with naming the then developing genre Reggae. With a career that spanned some six decades, cutting across generations from the 1960s to 2020, Toots Hibbert’s pio- neering work across multiple Jamaican genres gained him global recognition and renown. Speaking fromhis Jamaican sensibili- ties,Toots’multi-genre flavour cut across multiple generations, and inspired a host of artistes from different genres, including Jamaica’s Sean Paul and UK’s UB40 who have paid homage to him. Today, the colours of Rastafari stand in as Reggae and Jamaica simultane- ously, imputing a keen sensibility that is organic, rootsy and black. The rela- tionship between Reggae music and Rastafari and its reflection on both a Jamaican and Black identity is energised very deliberately in the choice and use of the Ites, Gold and Green in con- temporary fashion that spans brands as diverse as Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, ChristianDior and LouisVuitton, among many others. Today, for Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans at home and abroad, this Ites (Red) Gold and Green signifies Rasta/Reggae/Jamaica andmuchmore. It signifies a hip and hype, cool identity, oriented around youth culture that is edgy, revolutionary and race-neutral. Treading a thin line between cultural appreciation and appropriation in some instances, it is clear nonetheless that the lyrics and sounds of Reggae music become signified in these colours that continue to formpart and parcel of the musical identity. Reggae is global cul- ture and fashion. Additionally, Reggae’s strong global appeal and the legendary power of Jamaica’s Reggae Ambassadors, the word Reggae has come into the in- ternational imagination as a stand-in for ‘Jamaican Popular Music’ in all its diverse forms and multifaceted glory. Today, dancehall’s connections with black popular musics globally is visible in its cross-fertilisation with multiple forms, including Afrobeat. As the un- derlying form that influenced hip hop and seeded Reggaeton (via Panama, New York and Puerto Rico) dancehall (and by extension Reggae) was influ- ential in creating receptive pathways for forms like Afrobeat in places like London and Toronto. The successful Verzuz online battle between veteran dancehall artistes BeenieManandBountyKiller onMay23, 2020 showcased this cross-fertilisation. Billboard’s subsequent polls saw fans ranking the Beenie/Bounty encoun- ter as their all-time Verzuz favourite. Yes, dancehall, like reggae, connects through the lives of ordinary, black Jamaicans and spreads outwards to resonate with others who respond to its messages, either because of their own realities or simply because this is the sound of life. Barack Obama’s play- list featured Chronixx’s Reggae Revival sounds, but a younger generation of Americans engage with both dancehall and reggae – like Jamaican-American Michael Rainey Jr (Tariq St Patrick from Power), who highlighted artistes Vybz Kartel, Masicka, Tommy Lee, Skillibeng, Popcaan, Rytikal, Jahvilani and Rygin King among his favourites. Jamaica’s music, its reggae and dancehall and other genres, carry the sonic heartbeat of a nation whose cultural output continues to punch way above its size, and/or its economic wealth, sharing beyond multiple bor- ders and bringing hope to many, even as it also provides entertainment and threads across fashionable stages. Donna P. Hope, PhD is Professor of Culture, Gender and Society at the University of the West Indies. Aubrey Campbell/Contributor NEW YORK, NY: ‘M ILES AHEAD In Reggae Music’ is no longer just a sexy, catchy phrase being bandied about by the folks at VP Records Distributors. IN FACT, it underscores the journey of one enterprising family who, looking to get by, figured that the then-fledg- ling business of Jamaica’s popular cul- ture was a safe way of putting food on the table. And so, what started as a regular 9-5, on a busy street corner in the bustling Kingston metropolis, has grown into a major cultural empire, on a carefully curated journey that began in 1958. That entertaining journey that has now stretched for miles and miles around the globe, is expertly chronicled in a hardcover volume of 212 pages, and recounted by Patricia Chin, who has been there from the start. She is tomany the matriarch of Jamaica’s popular cul- ture and the reggae genre, in particular. Set for general release in mid-March this year, the book, decades in the making, tells the important ‘her story’ of 84-year-old Patricia Chin, co-founder of VP Records, whose 60-year journey in the music industry has taken her and her family from Kingston, Jamaica, to Jamaica, Queens, NY, and far beyond the confines of the cultural art form. Beautifully illustrated by the late Michael Thompson,‘The Journey’pre- sents a colourful memoir on the life and work of reggae icon ‘Miss Pat’ and her late husband ‘Randy’, with quotes and remembrances from luminaries, includ- ing former Jamaican prime minister, the late Edward Seaga, Chris Blackwell, Lee‘Scratch’Perry, Marcia Griffiths, and the late producer Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee. It is presented with many never-be- fore-seen artistes and family photos. ‘My Reggae Music Journey’ chron- icles the rise and development of Randy’s Record Mart, the famed music shop and recording studio in downtown Kingston, Jamaica, co- founded with her late husbandVincent ‘Randy’ Chin in 1958, to the family’s migration to New York City, where in the late 1970s VP Record Distributors was established. PERSONAL INSIGHT The book shares personal insights on the rise of the Jamaican music industry, and nuggets of wisdom on business and life. Through decades of transition,‘Miss Pat’has triumphed over adversity, both personally and profes- sionally. ‘My Reggae Music Journey’ testifies to the indomitable spirit that is Patricia Chin. “I have always been proud to be a woman. It’s a journey I know all too well. This is why I tell young women that they can do more than take care of their home and children. I tell them they can run a home and business at the same time, if they reallywant to. Just start where you are, the rest will follow.” Without a doubt, Patricia ‘Miss Pat’ Chin is the dynamic force behind VP Records, the world’s largest reggae music label, a person of unmatched energy and enthusiasm. She is a mother of four, grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of three. At a time when the world is celebrat- ing women, the story of Miss Pat – who is Chinese-Jamaican and Indian – is an inspiration to women the world over, to music buffs, culture seekers, entre- preneurs, and business leaders. Up close, readers will quickly real- ise that ‘Miss Pat: My Reggae Music Journey’is not a typical‘vanity’autobi- ography. It is a book about family, love of home and homeland, perseverance and business agility. It is simply a ‘must-read’ for anyone in the entertainment industry. ‘Miss Pat Chin – My Reggae music journey’ VP’s Pat Chin. CONTRIBUTED A seminal autobiography of her music journey through the evolution of reggae music and beyond… MUSIC CONTINUED FROM 32 B LACK HISTORY MONTH FEATURE FEBRUARY 16 - MARCH 15, 2021 | www.jamaica-gleaner.com | CELEB ATING OUR STOR Y - AWEEKLY GLEANER BLACK HISTORY FEA UR