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Posted under: Culture Music

United Nations Deems Reggae Music A Protected Cultural Treasure

The international musical sensation will be here for generations.

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Reggae, one of Jamaica's most impactful cultural staples, was added to the United Nations' list of international cultural treasures.

The BBC reports the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) started the list in 2008. Initially, the list stemmed from the UN's convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in 2003.

With musical legends like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, the musical genre has spread to every corner of the globe. The rock-inspired sounds originated in the 1960s during worldwide counterculture.

Reggae gained popularity in the U.S. and the United Kingdom due to an influx of Jamaican immigrants. Tracks have been sampled by rap icons, repurposed in R&B and much more. It eventually became a voice for the oppressed and a primary aspect of the Rastafarian religion. 

The religion celebrates the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie as Ras Tafari, and marijuana and reggae are used to get closer to God. 

"The basic social functions of the music -- as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice, and a means of praising God - have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all," a UNESCO statement said.

"Students are taught how to play it from an early age, and festivals and concerts are central to ensuring its viability."

According to CNN, a meeting of UNESCO officials in Mauritius decided to add the music genre and other cultural items to the list. 

"Reggae is uniquely Jamaican," said Olivia Grange, Jamaica's culture minister. "It is a music that we have created that has penetrated all corners of the world."

More than 300 other cultural traditions around the world are included on the list such as the Spanish art form flamenco, Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting and the practice of yoga, which derives from India. 


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Atlanta-based creative, dope photographer, journalist and lover of the wing ding.