So reggae month has come and gone. It might has well had been called “Bob Marley’s month”, as apart from 18 Karat Reggae, no other outlet paid any kind of respect to any other of the great reggae achievers. Although both Bob Marley and Dennis Brown were born in February, not one Dennis Brown tribute happened during the month. The one tribute that was planned in Jamaica had to be postponed because of lack of funds and corporate sponsorships.
So of all the corporate sponsors like Digicel, Lime and Grace that shell out money to get their brands involved in the Marley celebrations, not one stepped up to show some love to Dennis Brown. Not even the Government offered any help to make the Dennis Brown tribute a success. The prime minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson, sent out a special tribute to Bob Marley which was published in all the Jamaican papers, but nothing for the prince of Reggae. It is downright disgraceful. Of course the Government argument will be that Bob Marley attracts a lot of tourists to the country so his celebrations were very necessary. But as Jamaicans like to say, “WI too bloodclawt licky licky”. We cannot allow everything we do to be governed by financial gain. Sometimes we need to just do what is right even if the monetary profit for doing so is negative.
Where is reggae music heading when the great Dennis Brown can’t get a tribute because of monetary reasons? When did a music that came about as a form of resistance music, militant music, anti-oppression music, equal rights and justice music; all of a sudden became only about money?
Real fans of reggae, real lovers of reggae, those who love the music for what it was meant for and not what the powers that be want it to become, all need to get together and do what’s right by reggae. Yes, it may not be grand, but we can use the little that we have to put on our own tributes and celebrations. We don’t have to sit around waiting for corporate sponsorship. Surely there are many sound systems, bands, venues and entertainers that would be willing to offer up their service for free. We just can’t sit around only paying tribute and respect to those that corporate Jamaica and the powers that be wants tribute to be paid to.
Big up Dennis Brown. We love and respect you, your music and your great contributions to Jamaican culture.
We saw this coming and even warned about it at the start of Reggae month: https://18karatreggae.com/2015/02/02/hail-king-bob-marley-dont-forget-prince-dennis-brown/