Since 2008 the Government of Jamaica officially declared the month of February as Reggae Month. Reggae Month highlights and celebrates the indigenous musical genre’s impact on Jamaica’s social, cultural, and economic development. Both the birthdays of Dennis Brown and Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley during the month.
In Jamaica, commemorative moments have a well-rooted custom of honouring and blessing events through dedication to God. In like manner, under the theme “Come ketch di Riddim”, this year’s kick-off to Reggae Month found a blessed home once again at the Fellowship Tabernacle Church. Reverend Al Miller hosted the event.
Although the church was almost filled, observing COVID 19 protocols was paramount. Included in the congregation were members of the entertainment fraternity and other Government officials. Members and Chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA) represented. Correspondingly, the members and chairman of The Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes (JAAVA) represented.
A fine blend of worship, music, songs, prayers and dancing throughout the service blessed the morning. As an illustration, The Hon. Minister Grange and her team were not passive attendants, as she and Minister Terrelonge and other members of her party danced away through medleys of Jamaican style worship songs. Afterwhich, the congregation elevated to another level by Minister Kevin Downswell with a sampling of his victory songs, “Already Done” and “Father Carry Me”.
The Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, could not attend the launch service. Mrs Carolyn Riley, Director of the Tourism Linkages Network, brought his greetings. His message signalled the ministry’s endorsement of the virtual celebrations that will occur during the month as directly supporting the global visibility of Jamaica’s tourism experience. His statement also noted that our music is a natural complement to promoting Jamaica as a tourism destination.
Hon. Olivia Grange, in her message, briefly updated the congregation to the efforts underway to support a young mother and her child who had more recently found themselves in an unfortunate state of homelessness. In the same way, we learned that the Minister had already been in touch with the young lady and, through the Miniter’s network, the future looks very good for the young mother and her son. The Minister then invited Kevin Downswell to offer a prayer for Ms Karen Smith, a music fraternity member who is not well.
The Honorable Minister expressed sentiments that Reggae music celebrates our ancestors and early pioneers’ spirit. She paid tribute to the many entities, genres and individuals who continue to stand up and represent our music globally. Worldwide, patrons should enjoy the month’s numerous streamed events.
The Reverend Al Miller has enjoyed a rich association with entertainment and sport in Jamaica as transformative ministries. Correspondingly, his refreshing message focussed in a challenge that would provoke action for Reggae music’s future. Rev. Miller charged all practitioners in this great industry to use the gift of Reggae music as a tool to create positive influences on society. Our music is a gift from God and should give the world messages of hope and stimulate social transformation.
Therefore, the questions that remain for us as we celebrate Reggae Month is “What have we done with Reggae? What will we do with it? Will we treasure or trash it?”
Enjoy the photos below taken at the event.