Copyright (c) 2000 The Regents of the University of California
U.C. Davis Law Review
PERFORMING LATCRIT: Half the Story Has Never Been Told: Popular Jamaican Music as Antisubordination Praxis
33 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1333
Nicholas A. Gunia *
In Jamaica, there is an old Rastafarian adage: "The half has never been told." This saying was later immortalized in Bob Marley and the Wailers' Get Up, Stand Up: "Half the story has never been told." 1 In the context of Rastafarianism, the "half that has never been told" refers to the uncorrupted history of the African peoples, as opposed to more dominant and accepted European accounts, which, according to Rastafarians, have deliberately obscured the truth. In the context of this Essay, the "half that has never been told" refers to the oral history of the Jamaican people contained in the vast body of their popular music. Unlike most standard versions of Jamaican history, which for the most part have been written by scholars who originate from the upper and middle classes, the history embodied in popular music has emanated from the lower class. As the legendary Toots Hibbert observed with regard to reggae: 2
Reggae means comin' from the people, y'know? Like a everyday thing. Like from the ghetto. From majority. Everyday thing that people use like food, we just put music to it and make a dance out of it. Reggae mean regular people who are suffering, and don't have what they want. 3
Because of these lower class origins, popular Jamaican music has been devalued and underrepresented by scholars that privilege the knowledge and views of the establishment over those of the masses. As a result, traditional scholarship leaves us with only ...
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