Independence Special: Jamaica @ 60 & Beyond

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2022 24 INDEPENDENCE SPECIAL: JAMAICA @ 60 AND B YOND F ATURE | THE GLEANER | SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2022 jamaica at BUILDING A NATION OF GREATNESS 1 Influenced the Global Civil Rights Movement: Jamaica has contributed to the civil rights movements taking place across the world from the early 1960s onwards through the philosophical ideas purported by Jamaican national hero, Marcus Garvey, a black activist who preached about black racial identity and repatriation to Africa. Marcus Garvey became one of the most influential leaders emerging from Jamaica during the 1920s and ‘30s. Garvey’s advancement of pan-African philosophies in UNIA, combined with his own beliefs became known as Garveyism. This philosophy inspired the Rastafari Movement and the Nation of Islam. Garvey’s ideas also had a huge influence on the views of American civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, who fought for equality for blacks in America and across the world. Garvey’s political actions and beliefs gave rise to social movements of activism around the world. These grassroots movements led to further advancements in the field of civil rights worldwide. 2 Through Reggae Led Global Movement for Equality, Peace & Justice: Through the powerful message embedded in the island’s indigenous music Reggae and popularised by its iconic emissaries such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, Jamaica has been at the forefront of a global movement for equality, peace and justice since the 1970s. Songs such as Marley’s One Love – named by the BBC as the greatest song of the 2oth century – and ‘War’ resonated with oppressed peoples on every continent and inspired a desire to fight for and protect their rights. Indeed, the expression ‘One Love’ is a widely understood expression of love and respect for all peoples regardless of race, creed or colour, Jamaica’s gift to the world. 3 Played a lead role in the global movement against apartheid in South Africa: It would be remiss not to talk about the role Jamaica played in the anti-apartheidmovement across the world. Jamaica’s historical connection to Africa meant that the plight of their African brothers and sisters suffering through apartheid in South Africa did not go unnoticed. Through protests and petitions and songs, Jamaica kept the anti-apartheid issue on the global agenda and forced action by other nations. 4 Gave the world entirely new forms of music – Reggae & Ska: Originating in Jamaica in the early 1960s, Reggae is noted for its message of love, equality and justice. Thanks to its most iconic emissary, Bob Marley, Reggae took root around the world. Today, Reggae artistes such as Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Diana King and Shaggy are well known across the world and continue to spread Reggae’s message of peace and love. Indeed, in 1999, to recognise the start of the new millennium, Time Magazine named Bob Marley’s album ‘Exodus’ the best album of the 20th century while British broadcaster BBC named his famous record ‘One Love’, ‘Song of the Century’. Ska itself preceded Rocksteady and Reggae, originating in Jamaica in the early 1950s, combining elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and blues. In the 1960s, Ska was the dominant music form in Jamaica, taking a hold among the urban, young and hip in London and elsewhere. 5 Introduced to the world an entirely new religion – Rastafari: Developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, Rastafarians revere the late emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, support repatriation to Africa, the home of their ancestors and racial pride and identity. The followers, which now number in the thousands around the world, sport the distinctive dreadlocks hairstyle, observe various rites and customs and use weed (marijuana) as a religious sacrament. Many of Jamaica’s Reggae artistes are Rastafarians and their popularity and fame around the world helped to popularise and contribute to the expansion of Rasta culture globally. 6 Gave global popularity to a whole new cultural lifestyle (Rasta Culture). Attendant to the global embeddedness of Rastafari was a whole new culture and lifestyle, including the sporting of dreadlocks. Although this hairstyle has its origins in the far east, and among the Masai tribe in Africa, it was the Jamaican Rastafarian that gave it global popularity. Jamaica is also the country to which ‘dreadlocks’ is most associated. Rasta also introduced a whole new fashion embodied in fatigue wear and the red, green and gold of the Ethiopian flag, which Rastas adopted and a unique language. This lifestyle continues to resonate with urban youths on every continent. 7 Gave the world sought-after export products: Although Jamaican cuisine remains largely unknown around the world, Jamaican export products such Blue Mountain Coffee, Red Stripe Beer, Jerk Spice have been fully established worldwide, with Jamaican meat pies – patties – growing in popularity. Blue Mountain Coffee, for example, is one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world, with Japan importing the highest percentage – some 80 per cent. Jamaican Jerk has made its name globally, with its hot and spicy flavour a major appeal. Not many beers and rums are as well known as Red Stripe Beer, as well as Wray & Nephew and Appleton Jamaica Rum are across the world. The latter noted as one of the top sellers among the elite in Europe. Jamaican singer-songwriter Robert Nesta Marley, OM, famously known as Bob Marley. 10THINGS JAMAICA HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE WORLD PLEASE SEE 10 THINGS, 26

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