Without White people, Reggae would be nothing.

SOJA
SOJA

The following was written by a poster called Similac Child, and it was in response to: Tarrus Riley and the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about.

You something else. This site should be called “Reggae News for the race-obsessed.”

You do understand that Billboard rankings are based solely on records sales, right? If it were based on true talent alone Tarrus Riley would be top ranking every week of the year. It is an insult to Tarrus to compare his music with that of SOJA, Rebelution, etc. But like it or not, those bands sell more records than Tarrus. Why? Because they have a wholly different sound and vibe, a fusion of rock, reggae, and pop that has much wider appeal than the brand of reggae that Tarrus sings.

It has absolutely nothing to do with race. Like you say, when Tarrus teams up with another artist to record a crossover tune he gets much more exposure. What you should be doing is hailing up Tarrus for staying true to himself and his own sound in the face of the stark reality that in doing so he is confining himself to a much smaller audience.

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You act as if Tarrus audience is black. WTF? His audience is predominantly white.

If not for white fans reggae would have never left Jamaica to begin with. Blacks don’t dig reggae. They never have.

And one more thing…you seem to have a deep seated resentment of white people. Again, reggae would still be confined to the clubs and hotels on the North Coast had people like Chris Blackwell not invested millions upon millions of their own money into Jamaican artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, Inner Circle.

Reggae would be nowhere if not for whites like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Comer, Randall Grass, Gary Himelfarb, Chris Wilson, Duncan Browne, Bill Nowlin, Robert Schoenfeld, Sir David Rodigan, Beth Lesser, Steve Barrow, Mick Hucknall, Adrian Sherwood, Mike Cacia, Pete Holdsworth, Penny Reel, John MacGillivray, Chris Lane, John Masouri, David Katz , Lee Jaffe, and Jeff Walker (read about Jeff Walker and how close he and Marley were). Those are just the ones off the top my head!

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Consider Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgwick, two white Londoners who launched Greensleeves in 1975. By the mid-1980s they were distributing once-obscure reggae records to every corner of the planet. Same with RAS Records. Same with Shanachie. Heartbeat. Nighthawk. Man, reggae would have never made it without these dudes…Check yo facts and come correct…Bless

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9 Comments

  1. I don’t understand, so by posting these comments to 18K Reggae are you saying that Bob Marley and reggae would have become an international sensation without the 10+ years of multi-million dollar investment from Blackwell and Island Records? Because if that is your position then I’m afraid you are dead wrong. Sure, Marley and The Wailers were talented enough to stand on their own however talent just gets you into the arena. Opportunity gets you on the stage. Blackwell presented that opportunity and then fostered the music for more than a decade with multi-million dollar investment and the full force of the Island Records promotional machine. You saw what happened when Marley died and Island Records divested, basically washing its hands of all reggae artists by the end of 1984. Reggae entered a disastrous, forgettable era of dancehall garbage and digital overindulgence from which it has never fully recovered. The writer makes several valid points regarding distribution also. Until Greensleeves, VP, and RAS (all international, non-Jamaican record labels) came along there was no distribution for reggae. Producers would have to fly to London or New York with a box full of records and go record store to record store trying to sell them off. Those three companies, two owned by whites and the other by Chinese expatriates from Jamaica are solely responsible for making reggae available to the world. There is no doubt, reggae is black music to the core. However, you cannot minimize the global impact whites have had on the genre’s popularity and overall success.

  2. I know you posted my comments again because you think my argument is ridiculous and that is OK. However, your title is misleading and misconstrues the point of my comments. I was responding to your assertion that Tarrus’ record sales suffer because he is black and bands like SOJA, etc. have better record sales because they are white. That is far too simplistic an analysis. I love reading your posts. Many are very informative and thought-provoking. However, the crucial information conveyed in your posts is too often clouded by your obsession with race. You obviously have deep-seated issues with regard to race. Obviously I know nothing about your life experience, however, I bet you have never experienced the level of personal or institutional racism that is manifested your writings. Getting back to my comments…I never stated that “without white people, reggae would be nothing.” What I said was reggae would have never gone international the way it did if not for the millions upon millions of dollars that were invested in the music by the very people you so often castigate on these pages. My comments are not opinion…they are fact, pure and simple. Read any credible source for reggae history and evolution and you will find that groups like the Wailers, Inner Circle, Black Uhuru, Third World, etc. obtained international success because of the investment of well-meaning non-Jamaican businessmen who pumped vast amounts of cash into the industry. Reggae never received support from within Jamaica. Is it coincidence that reggae started its long decline at the exact same time that Island Records dropped Black Uhuru? And please explain to me the scenario in which Bob Marley becomes the Third World’s first international reggae star without Blackwell’s multi-million dollar investment in his career? Respect…

    • Have you done your research and see exactly how much Chris Blackwell invested in the Wailers? He gave them the money to record the first album, but he made enough from that one album so he never had to go back in his pocket for more.

      • I agree the investment played a grave role but how much was opportunity and how much was exploitation….food for thought

        • Blackwell and others may have had genuine value for the music but not so much what it represented….he saw an investment opportunity he took it and profited … The opportunities he provided did play an intensive roll in how many ppl Bob touched or was able to reach but nonetheless Bob Marley sings gospels music of truth of life and truth can never be measured but how many ppl knows it… If no one on this earth lived to come in contact with bobs spirit that wouldn’t discreditt his music his personality his wisdom….. And not to discredit Chris Blackwell in any way shape or form but never you dare paint the picture that without is involvement Bob Marley would be any less great of a man because Bob was Bob before this opportunity and remained Bob afterwards ..that is whythe fixed part of this equation is bBob.. Bob could have had many other investors but they could never find another Bob ..selah

          • But Bob needed an opportunity and he needed money. Blackwell gave him both. Blackwell is not the only one who got rich. Look at the Marley estate. BTW Blackwell invested many millions in Marley, not just the original $500 he gave the Wailers. In return, both made many millions.

  3. I’ve followed bobs career closely I’m quite familiar with the numbers …
    my point is however that the key item …the x factor if you will within that relationship is all I’m saying …nd lets not ignore other factors in the situation..
    why wasn’t bob able to create these opportunities for himself….nd outside of jus bob marley ppl are concerned that collectively black music is imperialized by white business men .. nd its a part of a greater problem to do with the protection of black culture by black ppl ..hence the black culture being singlehandedly the most exploited culture on the planet…. all I’m saying is this network or setup that is in place that allows white ppl to profit more in all cases off black culture more than black ppl did not come together by accident and this whole thing about the elephant in the room is merely a tiny effect of a greater problem that either no ones pays enough attention to or we all ignore

  4. Dear 18Karatewggae,

    Your comments lack basic intelligent argument that talent is the core to entertainment and acknowledge the new pioneering methods of distributing methods and marketing have played a significant part in making reggae music available to the widest audience at the time. Because a larger part of the community are exposed to a form of cultural music does not give any ground to assume that it would be nothing or reggae music’s existence had been less significant. Black people would make the music and audiences may be more limited. Black people started from a significant disadvantage throughout the world socio-economical and political so to assume our struggle had been to captain a business entity and create a small or medium empire is naive. Parts of the world black people had been enslaved and socially and politically deprive around the world and reggae music and the roots encapsulate the struggle for that. No one particular so-called icon of Jamaican music done that. Reggae music had been played in shante towns well before marketing and distribution gather hold. Once capitalism and free enterprise mixed with the social meaning of reggae that became the involvement of more business managers and profiteering.
    But do not cocaine the story that reggae would be nothing. If those companies left and move into another industry reggae would still exist and undoubtedly differently. White ownership of organisation involved in reggae did allow it to be more accessible and developed it communication to the world. Be real and truthful.This comment is racially charged and to perpetuate it is tantamount to having racists thoughts and lacking in human development.

    This comment is insensitive and gives rise to negative racial division but above all is harmful and hurtful – please do not repeat and cease from doing anything harmful like this.

    Andy Campbell-Stewart
    Maidenhead
    Berkshire

    • You realize that this post is actually a comment from a reader that we found interesting and reposted it right? Go read the beginning of the post again.

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