If you look at this week’s Top 10 Reggae chart, it looks like a “No Blacks Allowed” party. It was dub poet Mutabaruka who once recited, “If you are white you are alright, if you are brown stick around but if you are Black get back” and that is exactly what the Reggae charts look like.
If someone who knew nothing about Reggae Music and its origin was looking at the reggae chart they would think it is a genre of music that Black people play no real part in. Not for a minute would they think it is a genre created by Blacks in a predominantly Black country.
Below are the faces on the current reggae top 10 chart in the order they appear on the chart.
1. Bob Marley
4. Stick Figure
6. Stick Figure
7. Sean Paul
8. Sean Paul
9. Bob Marley
Bob Marley, Rebelution, Stick Figure and Sean Paul take up a whopping 8 of the top 10 spots. Most hardcore reggae fans might not even know a single song from Rebelution or Stick Figure. If you scale up the reggae chart to about 100 thousand artists but keep the exact demographics, it would look like a Nascar event minus the confederate flags.
Whenever 18 Karat Reggae brings up these issues we are labeled as racist and the reason is because most other reggae publications are afraid to tackle these issues out of fear that they might turn off their white readers.
Everyone should find it strange that only white and brown people are in the Reggae Top 10 and every Black person should be overly concerned. Everyone should want to know not only the reason behind this but how to fix it. Is it because Black people just don’t make the great Reggae Music that white and brown people make? Is it because Blacks lack the proper business knowledge to properly market their music? Or is it that when it comes to reggae, labels just don’t see dark skin as marketable?
Whatever it is, what is happening now is a travesty. Yet no one seems to be paying attention. Yet no one seems to care. This is a stark reminder of the following words of Marcus Garvey:
“God made man lord of his creation; gave him possession and ownership of the world. And you have been so darned lazy that you’ve allowed the other brother to run away with the whole world. Now he’s bluffing you and telling you that the world belongs to him and that you have no part in it.”
If you take that Marcus Garvey quote and replace “world” with “Reggae Music”, that is exactly what we have today, at least if we go by the top 10 chart.
Black reggae artists and producers need to take a collective step back and really analyze what is going on. 92 percent of reggae artists are Black yet the reggae top 10 chart is consistently dominated by non-Blacks.
Maybe the people responsible for the charts or those who buy the music just don’t dig Black people or as the great Peter Tosh said, “it too Black fi dem… it too Black fi bloodclawt them.”