Music’s Most Forgotten Pro-life Genre: Reggae

News: Commentary
by Ronan Torrence  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 26, 2023   

Yeah, mon! Abortion is legal murder!

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Most modern music has become corrupted, as many artists have sold out to leftist agendas and, in some cases, even to the occult. Sadly, this has even affected my favorite genre: reggae — an often forgotten and overlooked victim of this cultural corruption. But reggae wasn't always this way. Many will be surprised to find out that historical reggae music had a very pro-life, pro-family message. 

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Black Uhuru

But one may argue, "Wasn't reggae always corrupt?" When it began to gain popularity in the 1970s, reggae was a genre of music that cried for rebellion and had an overall "you can't tell me what to do" mentality — not to mention its well-known advocacy for cannabis, exemplified by Peter Tosh's 1976 hit "Legalize It." Getting high from recreational drugs is condemned by the Church as mortally sinful. 

But despite its rebellious nature and promotion of cannabis, early reggae music also included pro-life and pro-family messaging, and that fact is widely unknown.

One of the earliest cases of direct pro-life messaging is in Black Uhuru's song "Abortion" from their 1979 album "Showcase." It opens with Michael Rose singing referring to abortion as "first-degree murder." After that, the chorus proclaims, "Abortion, abortion, you got to have caution." In the 3rd verse, the group condemns contraception and sodomy:

A woman was made from the rib of a man
To multiply and not to divide
So leave your pills and thrills
And your world of sodomy
Show unto yourself woman no sympathy 

I was exposed to reggae at a very young age. One of my favorite bands growing up was Steel Pulse from Birmingham, England. Albums like "Earth Crisis" (1984) and "True Democracy" (1982) are ones I still enjoy to this day. "Earth Crisis" contains a song titled "Wild Goose Chase,"which contains lyrics that are not only explicitly pro-life, calling abortion "legal murder," but goes as far as calling contraception pills "made to kill." The hook contains theses lyrics: "But now dem dog gone crazy mass producing test tube babies,"blatantly calling out in vitro fertilization. If you want a roots reggae song that condemns the child-killing the Left is pushing today, give it a listen; it's still extremely relevant.

Black Uhuru • Abortion (1981)
 

Unfortunately, over 20 years later, Steel Pulse recorded a song for the Obama campaign that chanted "Vote Barack," a sad departure from its once legendary cry against the mainstream. Obama ended up supporting abortion and contraceptives, and his wife, Michelle Obama, revealed in her memoir Becoming that the couple used IVF to conceive their two daughters.

Chaka Demus and Pliers' dancehall classic "Murder She Wrote" (1991) — the title paying homage to the hit TV murder-mystery series of the same era — also contains pro-life messaging. The main character is a girl named Maxine who has a pretty face but a bad character. Later in the song, the meaning of the title "Murder She Wrote" is revealed: 

Now every middle of the year dis girl go have abortion
Fi di coolie white man, Indian, no seekin' an infant
And jus' di other day me see her six months pregnant
Now she walkin pass me with no baby in a pram

We find out that Maxine is having an abortion every year. She's seen six months pregnant, and then later she's seen without a baby in a baby carriage or "pram." In Jamaican society, abortion isn't just frowned upon, it's explicitly illegal, even in cases of rape or incest. This is all due to the country's Offences Against the Person Act of 1864. The only exception is if the life of the mother is at risk. A pro-life mentality runs deep in Jamaican culture, and would, no doubt, have influenced many of the criticisms of abortion found in reggae music.

In Jamaican society, abortion isn't just frowned upon, it's explicitly illegal, even in cases of rape or incest.

Another great example of pro-life — especially pro-family and pro-father — values is in a song from Damian Marley's 2005 album "Welcome to Jamrock," which won two Grammys. The song titled "For the Babies" opens with these lyrics: "Now I see them giving the woman abortion to kill another baby." Damian Marley (Bob Marley's youngest son) clearly sees abortion as murder and portrays it in a negative light. His message doesn't stop there. Later in the song, he calls fathers to live up to their role:

Fathers do the brave thing
And that's participating
He keeps on concentrating
There is no debating
No running away thing
A new life is awakening, from his ejaculating
It's in the oven baking
Takes two for the making
He's right there through the cravings
And early morning waking
School and educating
Sports and recreating, karate and ballet thing
Teenager of today thing
Fathers still relating, still communicating
And they'll always embrace him
Cause they cannot replace him

That's a powerful message in a time of when fatherless homes are rampant. It seems this mentality of calling abortion what it is and a clear, concise promotion of fatherhood has started to drift away in Marley's more recent music. He appears to have moved away from these hot-button, morally relevant issues to write songs like "Medication," which is basically just an ad for getting stoned. It begs the question: What changed? Did his hard-hitting views just suddenly change? Or has he become silent in fear of cancellation from the Left? Or maybe cannabis legalization is just a higher priority for him than millions of babies being murdered in their mother's wombs every year.

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Bob Marley

Damian needs to take a cue from his father. In 1980, Bob Marley, probably the most famous reggae artist ever known, was baptized at the end of his life by an Ethiopian Orthodox bishop. He took the baptismal name Berhane Selassie (Light of the Trinity). While the Ethiopian Orthodox are not in communion with Rome, they perform valid sacraments, so there is a case to be made that Bob Marley may have been saved and might be, after some time in Purgatory, amongst the saints in Heaven.

In more modern reggae, you'll hear the occasional line or verse calling out "the system" for one thing or another, but it's a far cry from the authentically rebellious pro-life spirit reggae historically contained. If you follow mainstream reggae on social media, you'll see artists posting in support of Black Lives Matter or for a socialist candidate like Bernie Sanders or for so-called women's rights and reproductive freedom. This type of activism is nothing compared to the days of Bob Marley, who suffered an assassination attempt two days before the Smile Jamaica concert of 1976 while trying to bring some peace between the violent political factions in Jamaica. Reggae has sadly become just like many other music genres, a corrupted mess of communist propaganda and degeneracy, raging for the destruction of the family and lacking the fullness of the truth — while still attempting to be edgy and countercultural.

I pray Reggae will see the same conversion Bob Marley had.

Is there hope for reggae musicians? Will they again embrace the pro-life and traditional family values of their past? Will they embrace the fullness of truth and the only authentic expression of Christianity, Catholicism? Probably not. Hollywood and the music industry have become a blatant satanic mess. You need not look any further than Sam Smith dressing as a demon at a recent performance at the Grammys.

I pray Reggae will see the same conversion Bob Marley had, returning to its roots and embracing pro-life and pro-family values. If it doesn't, there are still many classics we can enjoy that contain wholesome pro-life messaging.

--- Campaign 31877 ---

 

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