By: Audley Phillip
Reggae & Politics – How Politicians Use Reggae & Dancehall To Jam All The Hurt Away
In recent times, whenever we are having General Elections, you are certain to be thrilled with some of the finest reggae coming from some of the greatest artists.
Politicians seem to understand that using popular music in political campaigns could be one of the distinguishing factors that separate the winners from the losers. They rely heavily on reggae and dancehall music to rally voters in their favour.
Politicians have long recognised the deep impact reggae music has on the Antiguan population, and have used songs to drive their campaigns. Nowadays, dancehall music seems to be the preferred choice of politicians seeking to hype up a crowd of supporters while disparaging their rivals.
Reggae music and the ever popular social commentary from some of our Caribbean renowned soca artists are some of the few genres of music that are still influential and mainstream.
For many years, both were associated with poor people because a large percentage of the lyrics were aimed towards criticizing the various social challenges that exist in society, for example – corruption, racism, oppression and poverty. That is what makes reggae and politics make such strange bedfellows today.
The social impact of reggae music has been felt in the political arena and no political cycle is complete without inviting some of the best to perform here even though their presence and performance comes at an exorbitant cost.
None of these artists come here to perform for free and even while many of us struggle against the hard economic situation that currently exists, we still find the time and money to bring in these high priced artists to literally “jam all the hurt away.”
That is why the shady aspect of finance and politics should not be ignored. The relevance of money extends beyond illegitimate sources that flows into party cofferes.
Money matters in politics because parties need ever-increasing resources for administration and election campaigns. But money should not be allowed to buy access to decision-making power.
The vast amount of money spent on bringing reggae artists in and paying them could go a long way in helping to address our hopeless and deplorable domestic water situation as well as to help to rebuild the dying Social Security Scheme thereby ensuring that pensioners receive their due on time.
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