How Does Reggae Music Influence Society?

reggae music influence

Reggae music does not possess a single definitive signature element that defines it; however, musicians typically identify themselves with its characteristics by employing most or all of these characteristics to identify themselves as Reggae musicians. These characteristics typically include:

Reggae music first emerged through Rastafarian spiritual traditions that advocated against unfair enslavement and promoted equality; its lyrics reflect these messages, with it eventually expanding across other genres worldwide.

Social Issues

Reggae music has had an enormously influential impact on society that extends far beyond foot-tapping beats and catchy melodies. Its lyrics explore issues related to society, human experiences, and activism for change that has inspired generations to fight for change. Universal themes such as love, freedom, and equality have formed bonds between those with similar aspirations while its ability to challenge power relationships of race, class and gender has made reggae music an effective form of protest.

Jamaican artists such as Bob Marley, Burning Spear and Peter Tosh used music as a powerful weapon against social issues such as racism, colonialism, poverty and injustice. Many of their songs addressed issues related to race relations such as racism, colonialism, poverty and inequality which resonated with listeners worldwide and contributed significantly towards positive changes across various nations – some songs even becoming anthems for oppressed populations.

Reggae first emerged in Jamaica during 1968 amid an uncertain political climate: public-sector workers were striking for higher wages; Walter Rodney, an influential Guyanese professor and Black Power activist was banned by government while riots broke out throughout the city. Reggae music quickly found an audience worldwide as it spoke out against an oppressive system through music that spoke directly against it.

Roots reggae provided the soundtrack for Michael Manley’s Democratic Socialism during the 1970s, showing support for liberation movements across Africa. Indeed, roots reggae was the most popular genre of music in the Third World at that time – its lyrics often addressed social ills such as apartheid or war while others focused on love or socializing more generally.

Bob Marley was one of the most revered Jamaican artistes. His music combined Rastafarianism with African heritage and culture to encourage African pride as well as peace and unity; Marley’s legacy still shapes political awareness among future generations of Jamaicans and Blacks around the globe.

Rastafarianism’s messages can be found within the music of several reggae artists, including Bunny Wailer and Judy Mowatt. Unfortunately, some artists use their music to spread negative ideas such as homophobia and sexism through their soundscape.


Rastafarianism is a religion founded upon African beliefs and traditions combined with some Bible teachings. The movement first gained ground in Jamaica after Marcus Garvey predicted there would be a black messiah; Ras Tafari then became Emperor of Ethiopia as Haile Selassie and is seen by Rastas as God incarnate, leading them back to Zion (Africa) after many decades in captivity in Babylon (such as America or England) was put in place as punishment by Jah. They believe their return home will usher in a new heaven-earth.

Rastafari has no central church or official creed, so its followers adhere to a range of practices and beliefs. Most Rastas adhere to a plant-based diet, study ancient scriptures and chant to the beat of a drum called the Nyabinghi; some even believe black people are chosen people that inherit God’s kingdom on Earth – therefore making their mission of spreading word of Rastafari to anyone not yet part of its ranks their duty.

Rastafaris see modern society as an oppressive system and refer to government and corporate systems as “Babylon,” as they do not reflect Jah’s will and reflect the will of Him who created all things. Therefore, they seek to rid their planet of unjust practices through peaceful resistance.

Though Rastafarianism encompasses much more than simply its beliefs, many have taken to its principles of nonviolence and love of the land. These ideas helped create in Jamaicans of African descent worldwide an awareness that they were engaged in an active struggle for social change – something reinforced through music such as Bob Marley’s, Burning Spear’s, Peter Tosh’s songs as well as reggae music generally which spread these ideas worldwide; its popularity helped spread Rastafarianism even if governments did not welcome its presence fully at first – fuelling its spread despite not always welcomed with open arms.


Reggae music has long been used to speak out against social inequality. Artists such as Bob Marley have used Rastafarianism’s philosophy in their music to convey its message worldwide. Reggae music has also been used to criticize poor people in society while raising awareness of issues like racism, poverty and violence; furthermore it promotes healthy lifestyles while creating peace. Many pop and hip-hop musicians have taken inspiration from reggae genre by including its beats and instruments into their own music composition.

Reggae songs often address social injustices, while others focus on more intimate topics. Some songs address love and socializing while some promote cannabis use which is seen as sacred drug by Rastafarianism. One influential early reggae artist was Desmond Dekker whose song “Israelites” described black people as the true Israelites living in Babylon who long for Jah’s return.

Reggae was initially created in Jamaica during the late 1960s as a hybrid genre combining rhythm and blues, jazz, mento (a celebratory rural folk style) and Trinidadian calypso. Reggae became increasingly popular across multipleracial communities in London with artists like Smiley Culture and Carroll Thompson incorporating Jamaican ghetto themes with Cockney accents into their music; creating lovers rock reggae.

Reggae became increasingly popular internationally during the 1970s. Three Dog Night’s “Black and White,” as well as Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion,” reached number one on U.S. charts during this era, leading to even further international growth in popularity for reggae music outside Jamaica, where dancehall music is an integral component. Reggae continues to have an effect outside its native land as a popular form of popular culture music and dancehall performance.

In the 1990s, Jamaica saw a revival of roots reggae that saw female artists gain prominence. These artists promoted an emphasis on the Omega Principle, or equality between men and women; some even featured on GRAMMY-winning albums.


Reggae music has captured hearts around the globe for generations. Not only does its distinctive sound and rhythm stand out, but its lyrics and philosophies address pertinent societal issues and human experiences. At its core lies “One Love”, popularized by Marcus Garvey and popularized further by Rastafari; its message resonates across borders and generations alike, touching souls through music while inspiring positive change and celebrating culture.

Reggae artists have long been recognized for their powerful social commentary, drawing attention to poverty, inequality and racial discrimination while calling for justice and equal rights – ultimately helping create a more peaceful world.

Reggae was one of Jamaica’s primary forms of resistance during its colonial years, widely adopted by lower class blacks and peasants as a nonviolent protest against oppression from white oppressors and social injustice. After independence was achieved in 1960s, reggae served as an official soundtrack for an emerging sense of nationalism on its shores.

Reggae music often incorporates religious themes, particularly within the tradition of Rastafarianism. Reggae artists frequently discuss its tenets and preach the gospel of Jah (God). Furthermore, many artists advocate the use of cannabis herb or ganja, considered sacred by Rastafarians.

Reggae music has made an outsized impactful on international politics and social issues. Reggae was instrumental in spurring movements like anti-racism in America and women emancipation; it has also played an instrumental role in Rastafari development within America and shaping global Rasta consciousness more generally.

Bob Marley was one of the key figures in shaping reggae music over its history, becoming the founder of The Wailers and revolutionising the genre with unmatched spirituality, activism, and unity he brought forth with his songs of peace, love and unification. His impact is immeasurable on reggae as an artform and global phenomenon through his lyrics of peace love unity!