Reggae is prevalent and influential in the American music culture. Reggae itself appeared in the West Indies, primarily in the vacation island of Jamaica.
In the 1930s, Jamaica initiated and became the center of the anti-colonial national liberation movement. The movement was symbolic of the struggle for independence and the rights of blacks. It was led by Marcus Le Havre who was a devout follower of the Bible. He foretold that the blacks of Jamaica would be saved from the oppression of the white by one great black leader of African origin.
And would you believe it, in 1930, the world witnessed the arrival of Ras Tafari. Those who believed in the words of Marcus Le Havre, believed that his prediction has came true. He was recognized as a living deity and those who believed in him became known as Rastafarians. Rasta did not consume meat, nor did he smoke tobacco. He didn't drink wine, nor did he consume salt. People believed that his long hair, which were more like sticks, were antennas connecting him to the spiritual world.
What is reggae? Some believe it is the movement in music derived from ragged rhythm, more popularly known as Regid rhythm. Some others say "reggae" is a tribe that existed in Tanganyika who spoke the language of the Bantu.
The foremost character in the history of reggae was Robert Nesta Marley, more commonly known as Bob Marley. He was born of a simple Jamaican woman, and as a child all he wanted to do was sing. It was only in 1963 that Bob formed his own music band the Wailers, which included two of his friends, Neaill O'Reilly Livingston, who had the nickname Benny Ueyler, and Hubert McIntosh, now known as Peter Tosh.
Around the mid-'70s, these musicians disconnected from Bob Marley and continued their career independently while Marley joined the Rastafarians. After Marley's successful performances in the United States he became recognized as the "king of reggae." He used his music to preach and unite people for a cause. He became not only a fighter for the independence movement but also a talented musician.
The tremendous success of Marley in uniting people with the power of music and his passion to succeed has created a whole new legacy of musicians who propagate the use of reggae.
After the smashing success of reggae in the United States, its demand spilled over globally, starting with Europe. Today reggae is considered as a class of music in itself. Few people really understand how it came about and recognize that it was the will of one mans vision to unite people through music that gave birth to Reggae.