Happy 50th Jamaica!

50 years ago today Jamaica became independent from Britain, although strangely in later years it seemed the two were closer than ever, in music and culture Jamaica lead the way.

Here’s Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Many Rivers To Cross’ from the excellent film ‘The Harder They Come’ which to me sums up the struggle of Jamaica in it’s later years…as much a song of independence and personal struggle too.

Another of the 100s of Jamaican songs that mean something to me I think also Ken Boothe’s Everything I Own gets props too.

I think he was hated by the punks and the critics (as mentioned in The Clash’s White Man In Hammersmith Palais) as not being ‘conscious’ enough and being a bit ‘cheesy’. I think that misses the point somewhat – and is also a bit condescending or even a bit racist, the white men expecting the exotic, the guerilla and the warrior-style – but isn’t that also ‘turning rebellion into money’? There are many ways to react to such struggles, and although I love ‘Police & Thieves’, ‘Truth and Rights’ and ‘Armagideon Time’ to name a few I do think the softer side gets ignored – and anyway it’s their struggle, not yours. (It’s why I’ve always been a bit ??? about ‘White Man…’ – I get what Joe was saying, but it does come over clunky and a little dodge politically – luckily his politics sharpened as he got older).

Anyway this was used to devastating effect on This Is England 88, again showing the ties between the two countries.

What with Usain Bolt winning the 100m yesterday I can guess there might be quite a few celebrations in Jamaica and abroad!

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