Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Rejection of Babylon Through Music

The evolution of reggae has undergone many changes over the course of its existence, yet to this day it embodies some of the same characteristics and elements as it did during the dawn of its birth. The author believes we should not characterize reggae as exclusively protest music or its lyrical matter based solely on the Rastafarian philosophies (109). 

In today’s world I believe people see reggae in another light, a light where the main purpose of reggae is more for protest rather than the ways of the Rastafari. The book states that Rastafarians use reggae as a “medium through which the people are restored to self-awareness…. People learn the truth about the system under which they live…. And which the poor express their frustration with and grievances against the political and cultural guardians of Jamaican society… and their demand for change….” (51). Through these songs, musicians are able to express the ways of the Rastafari, and also ridicule Babylon for it’s political and cultural injustices.  Thus incorporating a fair mix between characteristics of religion and protest. Reggae is often seen as a “musical hand-grenade, to be used against those seen as the oppressors and agents of Babylon” (110), through this the Rastafarians have brought a more philosophical depth and the ideologies that reject the values associated with Western culture.  Reggae that exemplifies the Rastafarian beliefs incorporates protest, but also with powerful messages regarding poverty, unemployment, inequality and the rejection of Babylon. The Rastafarian philosophy is unmistakable in the musical characteristics and the lyrical content of reggae. “Whether or not singers and songwriters are committed Rastas, their lyrics are saturated with the Rastafarian perspectives and clothed in Rastafarian language” (111). 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting - I especially like your last quote, that the Rastafarian perspectives are in the music whether the singers are Rastas or not. I don't know how true that it, but it seems to make sense, if you think about it. I wonder what that would imply for people trying to borrow the musical style for their own uses. It seems that wouldn't really work.