Another year, another round of significant cultural moments for Jamaica. We’re talking awards, a smash hit, a presidential visit, Marley magic, high times and more. Check out some of these magic moments below:
1) Bob Marley’s 70th birthday trends – Reggae Month 2015 was extra special as the legend himself, Bob Marley, would have turned 70 this February 6. Reggae fans at home and abroad marked the milestone birthday with major events, as well as a tweet-up with the #Marley70 hashtag. In Marley’s hometown of Kingston, his big day was celebrated at both the Bob Marley Museum and Tuff Gong International.
2) Barack visits The Rock – President Obama was in Jamaica on official business, but his first stop was the Bob Marley Museum. Then, as if Jamaicans weren’t already beside themselves with excitement, he greeted the jampacked University of the West Indies, Mona Assembly Hall (and the thousands of people watching at home) with ‘Greetings, massive! Waah gwaan, Jamaica?’ And he even found time to strike the famous ‘to di worl‘ pose with Usain Bolt.
3) The first International Peter Tosh Day was celebrated – The Steppin’ Razor got a huge boost to his profile when it was announced that April 20 will be now be observed as ‘International Peter Tosh Day,’ a celebration honouring the Grammy Award-winning reggae legend, musician, and human-rights activist. Long overdue!
4) OMI scored the song of the summer – OMI is still riding a huge wave of success for his debut single Cheerleader, which was just named the number one song of the summer by none other than Billboard. The song was originally released in 2013 and was not only a hit in Jamaica and Hawai’i, which is usually a good market for Jamaican music. The song received a new lease on life when it was remixed by 20-year-old German DJ and producer Felix Jaehn. The remix recently spent six weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the video has racked up more than 275 million views on Youtube.
5) The High Times Cannabis Cup finally came to Jamaica – The 27-year-old event was hosted by the Rastafari Rootz Fest, a conference focused on Rastafarian philosophies and cultural identity, held in Negril, Westmoreland this November. The Cannabis Cup was open solely to Jamaica-based farmers, who won prizes based on the quality of their ganja plants.
6) Marlon James wins Man Booker Award – The acclaimed author saw his star rise even higher as his most recent novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, and the Minnesota Book Award. It was also a New York Times Notable Book.
7) Vogue features Jamaica – Jamaican Twitter was very excited in late October as leading American fashion and lifestyle publication Vogue dropped a series of articles highlighting the Reggae Revival movement, along with several other aspects of our culture. We rounded up the list of stories, as well as similar articles from the diGBlog.