BY: MACKENZI BROWN
Music is more than mere entertainment. Music is more than “sick beats” to pass the time. Music is more than sounds that come through the headphones you plugged into your ears while walking around in public to avoid talking to the people passing by. Music is more.
Music can be an invaluable tool to communicate with the world in order to spread messages and inspiration. Key words: CAN be. The phrase— “what goes in your ears, comes out your mouth”—is true. If you fill your mind with nothing but hateful, demeaning, and negative content, then it won’t be long after that your life starts to reflect that. You are who you hang out with and if music is your friend, you might want to be careful who you choose.
In this day and age, I feel like Reggae music is a heavily slept on genre. And no, just because you know “Santeria” by Sublime and “Three Little Birds” by the infamous Bob Marley, does not mean you like and listen to Reggae. Everybody has their preference in music, which is fine by all means, but let me tell you why I love Reggae.
“Reggae has a philosophy, you know? It’s not just entertainment.
There’s an idea behind it, a way of life behind the music, which is a positive way of life, which is a progressive way of life for better people.”
First, there are SO many different sub-genres of Reggae. There is mento which has that heavy Jamaican sound. Ska—which is what Bob Marley and the Wailers were considered. Ska punk— which is what Sublime was labeled as. There is even hip hop/reggae fusions which is what my favorite band, The Dirty Heads, falls under. There is a sound for everyone.
But, its more than just a sound. It was because of reggae music that I started looking at life differently. Most of these songs spread messages of loving yourself and everyone else. Everyone. To me, it is a constant reminder that we are all in this life together and that life would be so much better if we all worked together instead of pitting against one another.
“What if we treated our daughters like our sons more
And told em living off your looks will leave you done for
And told em truth is in yourself and you’re the reason
But we give em makeup and tell em “this you should believe in”
It’s been a hundred years and these girls are not free
We let em vote and tell em that should make em happy
But they see that sex and prostitution’s what we’re after
We turn our sister to a beautiful disaster” -SOJA, (“More”)
This song by SOJA hits many topics, but the one that hit me hardest was this one, talking about the treatment of women in today’s society.
“We made religion for good but now it separates
We made words so everybody communicates
But now the language is hatred and it is blame too
We are all immigrants, sorry for the bad news” -SOJA, (“Bad News”)
I really like this song and quote from SOJA because it is basically telling everyone that we have completely deviated from the original purpose of religion and communication AND this whole “white supremacy” mindset needs to be flushed down the toilet because we are not any better than any other race—the United States is not even “ours.” Our ancestors stole it, so we are immigrants too.
“There so much more than just regrets ’cause if you can’t love yourself, how can you love the next?”
-The Dirty Heads, (“Driftin”)
This song talks about loving yourself…
“One day this all will change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate
One day we’ll all be free
And proud to be
Under the same sun
Singing songs of freedom like
-Matisyahu, (“One Day”)
and this song talks about loving others.
I truly believe that life is much more enjoyable when you have a positive outlook on things and try to be happy all the time which was not always the case for me. There’s no need to let the trivial things in life bring you down. If you train your mind to react to situations in an optimistic way, then eventually it will come as a natural response and you will come to see life differently— a good different. Once you achieve that, spread the positivity. Get in touch with someone going through a hard time, tell them you are there for them. Compliment a random stranger. If you see someone struggling, help them out. The smallest act of kindness goes a long way and if we all start doing small acts, the large outcome would be spectacular.