Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in International Studies


International Studies


The purpose of this paper is to show the influence reggae music and Rastafarianism had on Jamaican and international politics. During the 1972 and 1976 elections, the Jamaican people in supporting the candidacy of People' s National Party (PNP) leader Michael Manley for Prime Minister rose up in rebellion against the social, economic, and political conditions in Jamaica. During the campaign, Manley and hi s opponent, Edward Seaga, appealed to the Rastafarians and Jamaican black power voter movement using reggae artists and adopting Rasta tenets and symbols to gamer votes. Reggae music had evolved as a popular musical genre with its lyrics incorporating social and political commentary. The islands lower class blacks, peasants, and unemployed embraced the music as a nonviolent protest voice rebelling against white oppression, social injustice, and the dominant race class system. Reggae then moved into the international scene and was ingeniously and successfully marketed to white American and European audiences as the new rebel music. The Rastafarian movement appeared in the 1930's. Soon, the international popularity of reggae music became associated with and increased the visibility of Rastafarianism spreading the Rastafari gospel throughout the world. The fusion of Rastafarianism and reggae music became a strong voice calling out for island reforms and at the same time, focusing awareness on international issues. To this day, reggae artist. s with their music continue to critique the international community and Jamaica's social, economic, and political conditions.

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