Thu. Feb 9th, 2023

The technique of incorporating reggae music to drive political campaigns and win elections is just not new to Jamaica. The Folks’s Nationwide Occasion (PNP) beneath Michael Manley elevated this system to a science all through the Seventies, delivering a slew of election-related hit songs, together with the patriotic My Chief Born Yah by singer Neville Martin.

In 2016, the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Occasion enlisted the assist of hit single, Champion Boy, by dancehall deejay Alkaline to generate momentum and relevance to its election marketing campaign. Stateside, a dub plate of Nadine Sutherland’s recurrent smash single, Motion, was used within the American basic elections in 2018 to deliver out the Caribbean American votes for vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris whose father is Jamaican. And, eight months in the past, Popcaan headlined a political youth rally in Grenada simply earlier than snap elections there.

Basic elections are going down this Wednesday in Antigua & Barbuda, and an unprecedented escalation of the usage of reggae music is unfolding that could be outpacing something beforehand seen not too long ago within the English-speaking Caribbean.

The primary reggae artiste to return onboard with the Antigua & Barbuda elections was Gramps Morgan. Each Gramps and Morgan Heritage are tremendously widespread there and Gramps carried out in Antigua not too long ago for the rich, unbiased candidate Asot Michael. Gramps did a jingle for Asot’s marketing campaign. Asot was a member of the current authorities and he in reality performed a essential function within the election of the present prime minister, Gaston Browne. The 2 parted firm a few yr in the past attributable to “irreconcilable variations”.

Two weeks in the past, because the marketing campaign heated up, the prime minister allegedly threatened Asot, telling him, “Should you are available my area I’ll thump you in you face”. The menace was recorded by onlookers and the one-minute-five-second video is accessible on YouTube. Instantly, the phrases turned a tagline and a present on a silver platter for the Opposition who rushed it to studio for the creation of marketing campaign jingles which use catchy dancehall rhythms. The unique model instantly turned a viral sensation. Different variations have since sprung up. Who is aware of? Perhaps years after the elections are over and carried out, the ‘thump-you- in-you- face’ fiasco may turn into a defining second and the reggae jingles created may in all probability be the unforgettable climax of the 2023 elections.

However there are a lot of different defining moments for the engagement of reggae music within the Antigua & Barbuda basic elections. Final Saturday, days after the sold-out live performance at Plantation Cove in Jamaica, the governing ABLP (Antigua & Barbuda Labour Occasion) flew in reggae’s present prime performer Beres Hammond for a free ‘One Nation’ live performance on the Antigua Recreation Grounds. For sure, this was an enormous deal with for working-class islanders who wouldn’t be capable of fork out prime {dollars} for a premium occasion that might usually carry an costly ticket worth.

Additionally there final weekend was Jamaica’s thrilling new breakout artiste Valiant, on his first journey to Antigua. Valiant has unleashed a number of buzz-worthy songs which can be trending in dancehall circles, together with the controversial Dunce Cheque and Siance. The scorching Beres bacchanal was barely over when beloved Antigua & Barbuda social media idol J Reality launched a reggae music video clip that was an excellent parody of Hammond’s Placing Up Resistance, bashing the ABLP. This was the most recent in a collection of gripping brief video clips put out by the standout native expertise. J Reality chants within the reggae recording, “And each time I elevate my head above water, And attempt to save myself from drown, ABLP herald some scheme, Designed to maintain me nonetheless I’m placing up resistance, We a go vote dem out.”

Solely time will inform if the infusion of reggae music and reggae artistes will sway the result of what’s anticipated to be an in depth election. Typically the technique works, typically it doesn’t. Within the case of Popcorn and Grenada, the live performance didn’t assist the federal government. Final June, the Grenadians lapped up each ounce of Popcaan’s mystical, magical dancehall beats. However two weeks later, as if in defiance, the Keith Mitchell administration who prolonged the dancehall invitation was faraway from workplace with a landslide shilacking.

Nonetheless, the Antigua & Barbuda Opposition occasion, the UPP is taking no possibilities. Tonight, the Opposition UPP is internet hosting their closing marketing campaign live performance on the King George V Grounds earlier than the votes are solid and reggae will as soon as once more characteristic prominently with reggae’s Rasta roots icon Luciano blazing the stage. He will probably be supported by Jamaican dancehall artiste Tee Jay, who has dominated the dancehall area since 2018. His hit tunes Up Prime Boss, My Kind and Dirty are anticipated to have interaction and seduce the youthful voters for what’s anticipated to be a heavy turnout on Wednesday, Election Day.

Damani Tabor, the general public relations government for the Opposition UPP advised The Sunday Gleaner that “music influences political actions and in Antigua & Barbuda, there has all the time been a wholesome marriage of politics and tradition” .

He added, “Tonight’s mega live performance includes a line-up of native and regional performers as a strategy to reinforce our key message of ‘Reduction, Restoration and Shared Prosperity’.”

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