Sunday, July 10, 2011

Opinion: Tosh Discussed on NPR

America's National Public Radio doesn't often discus Jamaican music, except for Marley-related material (Bob or his sons) and the occasional obit of a major star like Gregory Isaacs. It would be fair to say that this major US media outlet is pretty clueless when it comes to analyzing reggae in general, but they did a decent job this past week in analyzing two Peter Tosh album reissues.

The story, which you can read or hear in full here, included obligatory Roger Stephens pontifications but  balanced those with thoughtful commentary from BBC contributor and excellent author Colin Grant (read FE's previous coverage of Grant).

Here's an excerpt of what he said to NRP:

In the 1960s, Tosh was influenced by such civil rights leaders as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X, whose writings were banned in Jamaica. He was arrested for demonstrating against racial murders in southern Africa. Colin Grant, author of a new book about the Wailers, says the dark-skinned Tosh developed Afrocentric pride early on.
"Even though Jamaica is predominantly a black country," Grant says, "there is a brown and white elite, and I think people took sides and aligned themselves fundamentally with one side or another. Peter aligned himself fundamentally in the black camp."

Let's hope that NPR continues to include prime-time  coverage of not just the most obvious Jamaican figures but also it's many important ancillary contributors whose music and ideas impact global culture on a daily basis.