Every time one of our true pioneers passes on we take the time after their death to reflect on their lives and their contributions.
U Roy’s contribution to our culture the culture of reggae sound system is clear he may not of invented DJing on sound system but he did take it to another level and for this, we salute him and quite rightfully so did his born land Jamaica by awarding him the OD the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in 2007 even though rasta artists by rights shouldn’t accept shit from Jamaica government who have systematically and brutally persecuted Rastas from as far back as 1941 and continue to do so today.
Last year 2020 Jamaica’s supreme court ruled that a school may bar a 7-year-old because her parents declined to cut her dreadlocks, what kind of people are these who rule over black people and call themselves brothers and sisters Jamaica government is nothing but a bunch of house niggers without Rasta what would Jamaica be without reggae music Jamaica would be Hiati but yet Jamaica government still refuse to give Rasta and Reggae its true respect.
Dancehall/sound system culture in Jamaica is forever under attack from the Jamaica government how many times have we seen prominent members of the Jamaica music fraternity call for “NO MUSIC, NO VOTE” as a direct result of some policy or intervention by the government against the music. In 1997 Jamaica government introduced a Noise Abatement Act, since its implementation in 1997, the Noise Abatement Act has been a pain in the rear for sound system operators, particularly those in the Corporate Area. With the law considered an action by the Government to quiet the audible imposition of all-night parties regular Jamaicas see this for what it is an attack on sound system a further attack on the music and culture that feeds and clothes many whether it is selling Wriggles (chewing gum) at the dance or doing dubs for a sound system reggae music/dancehall/sound system culture feeds and clothes more people in Jamaica than tourism but gets considerably less support from the Jamaica government however when the government is ready they capitalize on the music they exploit the image of Rasta while all the while keeping up its disrespect.
There is no reggae without sound system even though over the past decade due to many many factors sound system culture is on the decline it still lives and is still an integral part of the culture as emphasized with the passing of U Roy however the Jamaica government does not and never has seen the importance of sound system culture over the years while many singers and players of instruments have been acknowledged for their contributions by the Jamaica government very few of those involved in sound system have been so fortunate.
The number one exporter of reggae music worldwide was the cassette tape from the late 70s to the early 90s the cassette recordings of sound system events/parties ruled our world and taught us about reggae music and black culture, not radio, not TV but the cassette tape. In places like the UK it was a government policy to starve black people of their culture and brainwash them with images of white nationalism and eurocentrism which was supported by our parent’s ignorance inherited from their times in the colonial education system of the Caribbean, institutional racism at its best. These stories may have been told but they have not been heard but it was the sound system born out of Jamaica that educated and entertained millions of black people throughout the world.
It was pioneers like the late great U Roy and the many many sound owners/producers/selectors/Djs/muscians/singers/engineers that uplifted and unknowingly raised black consciousness throughtout the world and yes many of these people have been recognized by the Jamaican government for their contributions however in 2020 the Jamaican government decided to devalue its own honors system and disrespect all recipients up to that point by awarding British born disc jockey David Rodigan an Order Of Distinction for his global promotion of Jamaican music.
The Jamaican honors system has developed as a unique entity since the passage of the National Honours and Awards Act by the Parliament of Jamaica in 1969 (Act No. 21 of 1969). The system is modeled largely on the British honours system, which was formerly conferred on Jamaicans
The honors in this Jamaican system are as follows, from highest to lowest in rank:
|The Order of National Hero is conferred upon any citizen of Jamaica who has rendered service of the most distinguished nature to Jamaica. Membership in the order entitles the recipient to the pre-nominal style of ‘The Right Excellent’ and to the post-nominal title of ‘National Hero of Jamaica’.||Neck Ribbon|
|The Order of the Nation is the second-highest Jamaican order and was instituted in 1973 by Regulations made under the National Honours and Awards Act. It is often awarded to Governors-General and to those people who have held the office of Prime Minister. Members of this order and their spouses are entitled to the pre-nominal style of ‘The Most Honourable‘ and to the post-nominal title ‘Order of the Nation’ or ‘ON’.||Neck Ribbon|
|The Order of Excellence, introduced in 2003, is the newest addition to the Jamaican honours system. It was created to be bestowed upon foreign heads of state or government. Prior to this, foreign heads of state or government received the Order of Merit.||Sash Ribbon|
|The Order of Merit is the fourth-highest Jamaican order as of 2003, and it is meant for any citizen of Jamaica who has achieved eminent international distinction in the fields of science, the arts, literature or any other endeavor. Honorary membership in this order is available to distinguished citizens of other nations. Membership in the order entitles the recipient to the pre-nominal style of ‘The Honourable’ and to the post-nominal title ‘Order of Merit’ or ‘OM’.||Neck Ribbon|
|The Order of Jamaica is the fifth order in precedence in Jamaica. It is awarded to any Jamaican citizen of outstanding distinction. Like the Order of Merit, there is also a class of honorary members for foreign nationals. Membership in this order is considered to be the equivalent of a British knighthood. Members of this order are entitled to the pre-nominal style of ‘The Honourable’ and to the post-nominal title ‘Order of Jamaica’ or ‘OJ’.||Sash Ribbon(3 inches wide)|
|Neck Ribbon(1½ inches wide)|
|The Order of Distinction is the sixth order in precedence in Jamaica. It was intended to be the equivalent of the British Order of the British Empire. It has two ranks, Commander and Officer. In this order, as well, honorary memberships may be given to foreign nationals at the rank of Commander or Officer.||Neck Ribbon and Medal Ribbon|
|The Badge of Honour is awarded to civilian residents of Jamaica and to foreign nationals who are employed in Jamaica’s Diplomatic and Consular Missions overseas. It is awarded in the three categories of Gallantry, Meritorious Service, and Long and Faithful Service.||Ribbon bar|
|The Medal of Honour is awarded in two categories, Gallantry and Meritorious Service, to officers and other members of the uniformed services.|
Many in the industry worldwide were not happy with the announcement that the Jamaica Order of Distinction (Officer Class) national award was presented to a British radio disc jockey before other more deserving sound system selectors from Jamaica. The list of those in the culture in Jamaica and abroad that deserve such an honor before Rodigan is endless even though the founder of the Stone Love sound system, the legendary Winston’ Wee Pow’ Powell, received the Order of Distinction for “Outstanding Contribution to Jamaican Music”, during the National Honours and Awards ceremony at King’s House seven years ago he is in the minority.
One of the most influential people of the culture to never receive an honor from the Jamaican government is King Tubby who’s is synonymous with studio engineering. The celebrated ‘dub extraordinaire’ would have turned 80 this year and his contributions to the development of Jamaican music as a musical engineer and sound system operator will infloence the culture forever. His former mentee and neighbour Lloyd ‘King Jammy’ James, says he should have been given a national honour.
“I see the Government and previous government giving a whole heap of people all types of distinctions. Dem should consider giving Tubby something,” James told The Sunday Gleaner. “He set a pace in this business, and I don’t think they remember him. I got Order of Distinction from the Government 13 years ago, when my music was on top of the world, but when Tubbys was on top, they didn’t consider him. Now that him pass and his music empower so many people and teach so many engineers about techniques, they should honour him,” said James.
Rodigan himself acknoledges the contribution to the music made by Tubby and if I was Rodigan I would of asked how I deserve recognition before Tubby. David Rodigans position and contribution to our culture is questionable just like Rodigans intent. Veteran Ricky Trooper at the time had this to say tounge in cheek
“Well I guess David paved the way, carried lot of speaker box and wrap up lots of wire, off load trucks ride on the truck back too, so he deserves it,” one man said sarcastically.
“Dis caah go so Iya, mek noise or start a protest, Yardman selecta build Sound System Culture, no white man caah get honour over we,” one follower claimed.
Part of the issue relating to Rodigan partly relate to his ethenicity however the fact is that Rodigan himself abused his white privilege and used it to get forward in black culture is not the sign of a good character. Rodigan when he started playing reggae music black people in the UK were known as niggers, coons, and wogs by white people even though they loved listening to reggae and other forms of our music they hated black people with a passion, just like they always have. Rodigans prime audience on BBC radio in the 70s was the Neo-Nazi Skinheads who embraced reggae and Ska.
In 1978 when David joined the RACIST BBC, race relations in Britain were in crisis. The National Front (UK KKK) was gathering power and immigrants lived in fear of violence so David used his whiteness to get into the BBC to play reggae music to skinheads in London. I don’t see Rodigans name in the archives no time no place when they talk about the fight against racism in the UK he is just another white guy who has exploited our culture like Eric Clapton for example who black people believe he loved black culture because he covered Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff in 1974 and half his catalog is reggae but in 76 Clapton on stage at the Birmingham Odeon stated ‘Enoch was right,’ he told the audience, ‘I think we should send them all back.’ Britain was, he complained, in danger of becoming ‘a black colony’, and a vote for the racist controversial Tory politician Enoch Powell whom he described as a prophet was needed to keep Britain white’. .
These guys don’t give a fuck about us yes they will sex and breed our women so did the slave master. The same era saw David Bowie giving a Nazi salute in Victoria Station, he told journalist Cameron Crowe in the September 1976 edition of Playboy ‘… yes I believe very strongly in fascism. The only way we can speed up the sort of liberalism that’s hanging foul in the air… is a right-wing totally dictatorial tyranny…’ In that same interview, Bowie claimed that ‘Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars.’ This was Britain then and in that context, People draw attention to Rodigans black Jamaican wife and his mixed breed child in defence of his love of us and our culture David Bowie too also had a negro wife super model Iman who he married in 1992.
David Rodigan as a white man in black culture has never used his voice to support us this man is a hypocrit one of the few times he has been critical in his career was when he ended his 22-year relationship with the UK commercial station Kiss FM by resigning over the “marginalisation” of reggae music just before starting another job with BBC1xtra stating,
“I’ve been with the station for 22 years, shared some wonderful times with many fantastic artists and members of staff and it’s with great sadness that I’ve come to this decision, due to their continued marginalisation of reggae music into the twilight zone of radio scheduling, it has left me no option but to make a stand for my passion and the music I love so dearly.”
Rodigan did not have any such morality or reservations in accepting an MBE from the Queen of England in 2019 but yet he is so passionate as to leave his of 22 year job alledging “marginalisation” of reggae claiming he has in recent years been pushed to the late night schedule,
We can only summise by Davids action, Rodigan has love for reggae but not love the people of reggae. Many people have turned down honors from the UK Queen for various reasons that all go back to the fact that The empire was established, and maintained for more than two centuries, through slavery, bloodshed, violence, brutality, conquest and rape including in the island of Jamaica where reggae originates Rodigan stated on receiving his honor.
The MBE, was not for me but for reggae itself and the place it now holds in British culture, This music, in my opinion, was always about justice, rights, love and humanity and sharing and helping your brothers and sisters.”
I would like to ask David if the Jamaicans in Jamaica deserve justice and rights for what the empire which he is now a proud member did to them and our foreparents?
In the UK David Rodigans radio shows only broadcast to London people, people outside of the capital never knew of David Rodigan it is sound system clash culture that raised Rodigan to notoriety again using his white priveledge to advantage by being allowed to participate in sound clashes without owning a sound system which was unheard of in an era where you could not take part if you didnt actually have a physical sound system (speaker boxes wires and amplifiers) unlike modern times when people label themselves as sounds because they have some songs and a laptop.
The man that brought David into our culture UK based sound system pioneer Llyod Coxsone spoke out against David in a no holds barred 18 minute address where Coxsone calls Rodigan
“David rob and gone” and “a one hour radio selector” with no sound. He challenges him to name one Jamaican artist who he has “bust” in the United Kingdom. “David Rodigan nah buss nobody! […] our Reggae music is bussing him!”
Lloyd Coxsone is a Jamaican-born sound system operator and record producer, who has been resident in the United Kingdom since 1962. Coxsone took offence at Rodigans failure to correct an interviewer when he referred to him as “the godfather of reggae”
Coxsone stated that Rodigan was not the ‘Godfather for Reggae’ in England and further noted that by honouring him, Jamaicans were negating the efforts of those who paved the way for the music in the UK.
“You are not the Godfather for Reggae inna England, never have been. The first time you go to a big sound system dance inna England is I man Lloydie Coxsone carry you… in Fulham. When you talk about you are the Godfather fi Reggae, you haffi talk ‘bout Duke Vin, Count Suckle, Count Steve, Duke Lee, Soprano B, Duke Reid, Lord Cruise and man like that. You people inna Jamaica, yuh make white people come and fool you all the while. The first embarrassment weh you Jamaican people embarrass out over 500 sound system here in England is to give David Rodigan award for the upbringing of reggae. Now that is a disgrace and shameful thing,” Coxsone stated.
Six days after the Lloyd Coxsone interview [Click here to watch] went online on Youtube, David Rodigan published a statement
If it affects his money or his public persona David will respond that you can be sure of however other than that “fuck people”. Recently Fadda Dus founder and owner of iconic Exodus 4X4 one of the cultures most influential Jamaican sound systems passed away in the UK, months prior Likkle Wicked one of the greatest selectors ever to play sound system who used rose to worldwide fame as a member of Exodus 4×4 passed in Jamaica both of these men died without one honour between them from the Jamaican government for their contribution to the culture not to mention the 1000s of pioneers just like them who passed and gone before them. I can personally say that Exodus did more to push reggae music globally than David Rodigan the 90s 4×4 cassettes were as important to the culture as Madonna was to pop.
We at musicculturenews spoke to veteran selector and pioneer Ricky Trooper who also without question has done more to push the cultural globally than most including Rodigan
There is an enormous amount of musical talent in Jamaica but you don’t have to wonder or guess who the great one’s are there works and achievements stand out and shine like the sun in the sky
The Legendary Disc Jockey From Jamaica who is responsible for the careers of countless artists continues
The ones who put in the work and their acheviements stand out, everyone knows what I Ricky Trooper for example, have brought to the table, everybody knows what U roy did what he brought to the table everyone knows what Iwawa and Danny Dread for example did and brought to the table everyone knows what Alton Elliss did and he brought to the table.
Trooper one of the most outspoken selectors in the history of the culture shared some valuable history
Sugar Minot was the one that brought a new wave of artist”s to the dancehall everyone knows what Leroy Sibbles did when they was in the studio and they used to get their bassline for their songs.
Trooper finishes off by addressing the Jamaican government Trooper who is one of the most outspoken in the culture on the policys of the Jamaica government concluded by saying
When it comes to the government of Jamaica and the music Jamaica produces, they dont respect it, they still after all these years of slavery don’t uplift the people they try subdue them try keep them down. The music we have can put Jamaica on top so we dont have to borrow a dollor from the IMF because the amount of unclaimed royalties out there they should collect all that money and give the music justice, Jamaica is one of the richest countries in the world because of the talent that comes out of it.
Rodigan is understandably sitting on the fence eating his food and why should he care he is nice, but the Jamaica government should care because looking from farin it don’t look good that a disc jockey from the UK has the same honor and status bestowed upon him as born Jamaican’s like U Roy who fought and faced racism in the name of Jamaica and the music or the many many others too many to name past and present who without a doubt have done more than David could ever.
Rodigan has helped many people in his time in our culture, we would like to acknowledge that and he did expose the culture to and inspire many throughout his 35 year career, that is without a doubt, however he never brought no one through he never buss any artist or was responible for anyone’s career unlike most in his postion for example Fadda Pow owner of Jamaica’s Stone love sound system who also recognsed by the Jamaica goverment has opened the gate to countless people in this culture and still does to this day, along with King Jammy who was also acknowledged by the Jamaica goverment they have excelled in producing and are responible for the careers of 100s of artists worlwide including alot of the records that made Rodigan famous however there are many many more who deserve to be honoured before David past and present and its an insult to black culture and their memory.
Musicculturenews reached out to both David Rodigan and the Jamaica government for a comment but as of time publishing neiter responded.