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Project carried by ROMAIN KOUO aka ROMY.K

Project Manager

Date : 02/01/2019

UNESCO REGGAE DAY- November 29 & 30 th

Unesco Reggae Day is an idea of ​​artist ROMY.K This project aims to support the work of Unesco, associating artists, producers, journalists, photographers ... to this approach.

                                                                                       UNESCO REGGAE DAY"


 The association Aphrika-Beat in partnership with a collective of associations and artists, proposes the project, "UNESCO REGGAE DAY", following the recognition and admission of this music, to the intangible heritage of Unesco on 29 November 2018.


We propose that this date of November 29 is a symbolic date, in order to honor symbolically by a UNESCO Prize, those artists who gave birth to this music and contribute to its international influence, for those who are still envy .


Reggae is a fusion of ska, calypso and African rhythms. It is a musical genre born in Jamaica and resulting from the Rastafari movement. This music emerged at the end of the 1960s. Thanks to its international success, it has become an internationally appreciated musical style, carrying a culture of its own.


Since 29 November 2018, this music has been inscribed in the intangible heritage of Unesco. One of the main reasons is his contribution to international awareness, issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity, promoted by artists like Bob Marley.


That this date of November 29th will become a commemorative date, for the celebration of "Unesco Reggae Day", every year within Unesco will be just recognition.


It will not be an award ceremony for the best album or best singer, but a special UNESCO prize, for the contribution of Reggae music to the influence of the Universal cultural heritage.


But how was this music born, by whom and under what conditions?

Context and objectives


The Rasta movement.


It is a movement founded by the community of African descendants, deported by Europeans in previous centuries in the Caribbean, which is at the origin of this movement. After the abolition of slavery, this community realizes that social inequalities remain and still persist between whites and blacks.


In 1916, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a young black Jamaican journalist, very politically committed to improving the standard of living of blacks, moved to New York where he founded an antenna of his association: the U.N.I.A. (Universal Negro Improvement Association or Universal Association of Negro Development).


Marcus Mosiah Garvey advocates the repatriation of blacks to their home land, Africa, as had already been attempted in Liberia in 1821 and in Sierra Leone in 1787. Once back home, Garvey's message will take on a religious aspect.


He said at a Mass in Kingston (capital of Jamaica), "Look to Africa, where a black king will be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand."

On November 2, 1930, his prophecy was fulfilled: Ras Tafari Makonnen (Ras is the Ethiopian equivalent of Duke) was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia at St. George's Cathedral in Addis Ababa and took the name Haile Selassie I (which means in Amharic "Power of the Holy Trinity").


The same year, one of them, Leonard Percival Howell, decides with dozens of Jamaicans to leave the city and his lot of social injustices, to retire in the hills to pray to Jah (God) and live out of this system.


In his camp called the Pinnacle, the rules of the Rasta way of life will begin to be defined, most of which are from the Old Testament: do not eat meat, do not get amputated, grow hair, smoke marijuana ...


Their prayers are usually in the form of songs accompanied by percussionists, playing rhythms used by some Jamaican syncretic cults appeared in the nineteenth century. http://www.reggaetopconnection.net/lesdossiers-les-racines-du-mouvement-rasta.html


Throughout Jamaica, the number of Rastafari continues to increase despite police operations, which lead to a merciless struggle. Indeed the island, being still until 1962 under English rule, the local government viewed with a very bad eye this protest movement.


Driven little by little from the countryside, the Rastas will take refuge in the ghettos of big cities. Their thinking will develop, especially because it offers a pacifist lifestyle to young blacks, too often confronted with violence and misery.


Around 1968, two years after Haile Selassie's visit to Jamaica, the Ska, the flagship music of the young Jamaicans of the 1960s, is transformed into reggae and the lyrics of the songs become more and more demanding and pro-rastas.


The international success of this music thanks to Robert Nesta Marley, said Bob Marley, will allow a rapid spread of the Rasta message across the planet.

The birth of Reggae

Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals said, "It was I who taught people we called our music" Reggae ", with my first song" Do the Reggay ". I do not know how it happened, she came to me like that, I can not explain it. "


Jimmy Cliff adds "Reggae music infiltrates the bloodstream like a vampire amoeba from the psychic rapids of Niger". Reggae is a musical heritage of Jamaica, born in the kingston Ghettos, and has enriched the music world for decades.

Jimmy Cliff was the author of the single "Vietnam" considered as the greatest song protest by Bob Dylan.

Unesco and Intangible Heritage

"Cultural heritage does not stop at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as the performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events ".


"Having an idea of ​​the intangible cultural heritage of different communities is useful for intercultural dialogue and encourages respect for other ways of life"

Reggae inscribed intangible heritage

According to UNESCO, Reggae music is the voice of the marginalized, it is now played and embraced by a broad spectrum of society, including diverse genres, ethnic and religious groups.


His contribution to the international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity emphasizes that the dynamics of the element is at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual.


American photographer Stephen Davis asked Bob Marley, if the pressure he suffers as a spokesman for this movement does not scare him? he replies: "We have a message and we will make it pass. Our message is to live. It is Rastafari, our mission is to spread a gospel of a new kind, another way of seeing the world. Reggae Collection by Roger Steffens


The Rasta movement and Reggae music are phenomena that have positively impacted all of the world's youth and in particular African youth, hence its inclusiveness.


Reggae contributes to social cohesion, stimulating a sense of identity and responsibility, which helps people to feel part of one or more communities in society at large.


Reggae is today one of the most culturally representative musics by its origin and history. This music touches by its texts and its message, all the communities prone to struggles of social disparities, of ethnic cleavages, of injustice, of peace of well-being and especially of protection of the environment.


The values ​​defended by this music and its philosophy?

If UNESCO has allowed the inscription of this music to the immaterial heritage of humanity, by mentioning as reasons, its contribution to the international discourse on the questions of injustice, resistance, love and humanity, we consider while we must go further.


Who are we ? Aphrika-Beat:

Aphrika-Beat project leader, is a Franco-Ivorian association that has been working for ten years to promote this movement. Since 2009 when it was founded, we have signed a partnership with Rasta associations in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal and Ethiopia.


Three documentaries were made about the Rastas of these countries, to understand the impact of the movement and this music on the African youth ... and the expectations are enormous.


From 2010 to 2015 we created a festival called "Universal Reggae Festival", to testify to the universality of this music, played in the four corners of the world.


Its unifying character which highlights, this belonging to a single community: Humanity "One love One heart".


In 2012 as part of this festival, we created the concept "SOS RASTA VILLAGE", to help rebuild a Rasta village, which was destroyed in Côte d'Ivoire.


We always carry this project whose goal is the construction of a Rasta village with mission, conversation, valorization and teaching of the Rasta culture, its music and these heroes.

Our proposals:

Aphrika-Beat and its associative partners with the help of Norman Grant leader of the Jamaican group TWINKLE BROTHERS, wish to make this date of November 29, an opportunity to honor the founding fathers of this music still alive.



Allow the recognition of artists associated with the Rasta culture. Indeed we can not talk about Reggae music, without referring to Bob Marley, Hibbert Toots, Jimmy Cliff, U Roy ... These Rasta Artists have succeeded in imposing Jamaican popular culture, in the cultural spheres of the entire planet.


This recognition will not be a prize giving of the best artist or record seller. It will be an opportunity to honor, to recognize the commitment, the struggle led by these artists carrying messages of hope, in a pragmatic way in the struggle for survival. "Get up stand up stand up for your rights".


The Unesco Reggae Day PRIZE

Beneficiaries :

The operation is intended for artists, producers, journalists from the first hour, who contributed to the radiation of this music. Most of them are from Jamaica. But this music has conquered the world by taking different forms of expression like Dub poetry with Linton Kwessi Johnson in England.


The Reggae has spread beyond its island Jamaica. The message of the descendants of African slaves, who regard Africa as the promised land "ZION", was seen in Africa, with the advent of the first African Reggae man: Alpha Blondy


Today from Abidjan to London via Tokyo, Sydney, Beijing and all of Europe, reggae has become a universal music.


The UNESCO REGGAE DAY Prize will be awarded to artists, journalists, photographers, producers, Jamaican poets, Europeans and Africans for their contribution to the promotion of this music.


In the day of November 29, 2019, will be held conferences, film screening, photo exhibitions, medal rewards UNESCO REGGAE DAY and concerts.


When: November 29, 2019 from 10:00 to 23:30


Where: At UNESCO Headquarters


Guests: A delegation of 30 people (artists, writers, journalists, poets, speakers) from Jamaica, Africa and Europe.

Support of UNESCO:

Indeed, given the size of the project we wish to be accompanied by UNESCO with: Provision of meeting room, conference room, exhibition spaces, concert hall, communication tools to promote the event.


We ask UNESCO to take care of the guests, as for the trip, the stays and the manufacture or design of the different prices.


As this project is in keeping with UNESCO's ideals and programs, it will only strengthen the reputation of the Organization for its commitment to the protection and safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage.


Aphrika-Beat's commitment:

It is clear that organizing an event in partnership with UNESCO is a serious problem for our partners. We already have good feedback on this subject.

                                                                                  Artists to Honor:


Bunny Wailler : Neville O'Riley Livingston, better known as Bunny Wailer, born in Kingston, is a Jamaican singer-songwriter. Wailer is a founding member of The Wailers with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. He sings, composes, and plays nyabinghi percussion.



Burning Spear : Burning (his real name Winston Rodney): is a singer and reggae musician. Historical figure of the movement with Bob Marley and The Gladiators, his words defend the people he comes from, the legacy and the Rastafarian cause. He is also one of the first and only reggae singers to sing to the glory of Marcus Garvey.



The Abyssinians is a reggae vocal trio founded in Jamaica in 1968. In 1969, they recorded the piece Satta Massagana at Studio One. After a first separation in 1980, the group reformed in 2003 and is still active at the moment.


Toots and the Maytals:

The band Toots and the Maytals, originally called The Maytals, is one of the most famous vocal groups of ska, rocksteady and reggae. Their 1968 song "Do the Reggay" was the first song to use the word "reggae", giving a name to the genre in which many Jamaican musicians find themselves and presenting it to a more general audience.


Jimmy Cliff, born James Chambers is a Jamaican reggae singer. His career began when he left the countryside by bus to the capital Kingston. Jimmy Cliff gets the lead in Perry Henzell's The Harder They Come, which tells the harsh reality of the record industry in Jamaica. Unlike most of his compatriots who adopt the theses of Rastafarianism, Jimmy Cliff converts to Islam that he considers universal in Senegal, taking as new name: El Hadj Naim Bachir.


U Roy (born Ewart Beckford is a Jamaican reggae deejay, also known as The Originator, Hugh Roy or Daddy U Roy (due to his status as "godfather" of the deejay style) U Roy is the first to have made hits and is behind the explosion of the deejay style in the 1970s. This style of deejay reggae is considered one of the fathers of rap (for the vocal part).


(Alpharita Constantia Anderson, known by the nickname Rita Marley, is the widow of reggae musician Bob Marley, a member of the I Threes trio, Wailers and reggae band The Soulettes, Rita married Bob on February 11, 1966, she became a singer for the group's choir.1 She converted to the Rasta movement after seeing Haile Selassie visiting Kingston.



Alpha Blondy was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother. In 1981, Roger Fulgence Kassy invited him to appear on his Ivorian television program (RTI), Première Chance. Faced with the enthusiasm generated by the switch to television, Georges Benson offers the singer to produce his first album. It will be Jah Glory, which comes out at the end of 1982.



Linton Kwesi Johnson (aka LKJ) is a British dub poet and reggae musician born August 24, 1952 in Chapelton, Jamaica. "Kwesi", name ashanti reserved for boys born on a Sunday, is the nickname he took at the beginning of his poetic career. In 1974 he published his first poetry collection Voices of the Living and the Dead. In 1981, LKJ founded his own label, LKJ Records, and thus produced the important Jamaican dub poet Michal Smith.


Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus

Born in 1943 in Kingston, Michael Georges Henry grew up in a rasta community. He is cradled in faith in Haile Selassie, Ital food and ceremonial restas. It is from an early age that he learns the secrets of Niyabinghi percussion, characteristic of the original Rasta music. He quickly formed the Sons of Negus, a collective of Rasta musicians with whom he organized his first concerts.


He explains that it was his parents who gave him the passion for tropical rhythms. In 1979, Lavilliers moved to Saint-Malo, bought a boat and left for Jamaica. At the end of 2010, Lavilliers released Causes perdues and tropical music. 2008: "Saturday night in Beirut" Recorded in Kingston (Jamaica) and Memphis (Tennessee), "Saturday night in Beirut" is the eighteenth album of the adventurous sexagenarian.


Steel Pulse is a British reggae band formed in 1975 in Birmingham. They are known for their strong socio-political rhetoric and their stance against the continuing injustice of the African diaspora. "Rally Round the Flag" song from the True Democracy album was often used as a rallying cry and symbol for African Unity.



A turn-of-the-century producer, singer, dancer, composer, sound engineer, genius handyman, virulent spokesman and visionary, he remains one of the rare Jamaican artists of his generation still in business. It was first for his studio work and the influential role he played and then played in Jamaican music that he was given great consideration.


The Twinkle Brothers are a Jamaican reggae band formed in 1962 and still active in the 21st century. The Twinkle Brothers were formed in 1962 by the Norman brothers. Their first album, Rasta Pon Top, was released in 1975, featuring songs geared towards Rastafarian.


Chris Blackwell, born in London (England), is an English music producer, founder of Island Records. He is one of the founders of the Jamaican music industry and is involved in the international expansion of reggae, notably through Bob Marley, a label that he signed onto the label in the early 1970s and which is a worldwide success.


The art of banana is a unique skill created by Ras Hailu Tefari of the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Caribbean) and currently lives in Shashemane, Ethiopia. He creates his art by sticking leaves, bark and banana flowers on the surface of a wooden board. No color, blemishes or dyes are added. "All the effects and nuances are natural," he says. His ten works of "banana art" were part of the Rastafarian exhibition organized at the Alliance French-Ethiopie.






Helene Lee is a French journalist specializing in Jamaican and West African music. She began her career in 1979 at Libération and was one of the first to defend world music in France. His work on African artists helped some of them to take off on the international scene, such as Salif Keita, Alpha Blondy, Ray Lema or Tiken Jah Fakoly.


Le Dr Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Mossiah Garvey, founder of the Association for the Universal Improvement of Negroes (UNIA). Dr. Julius W. Garvey, a surgeon and professor of medicine, was born on September 17, 1933 in Kingston, Jamaica.


Allan Hope says Mutabaruka is a revolutionary Dub poet, Jamaican Rastafarian actor and activist. He was born on December 26, 1952 in the "Rae Town" district of Kingston. His pseudonym means in the Rwandan language "the one who is always victorious".



Roger Steffens (born June 17, 1942) is an American actor from Brooklyn, New York, author, speaker, publisher, reggae archivist, photographer and producer. He is best known for his reggae recordings, particularly his Bob Marley Records.

Conclusion :

UNESCO REGGAE DAY is an idea of the association Aphrika-Beat, which proposes to UNESCO, the organization of a presentation of trophies or medals in a symbolic way, to the actors and artists who contributed to the promotion of this music on the international level .


This follows the inclusion of Reggae music in UNESCO's Intangible Heritage, for its contribution to international awareness, on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity.


This event will take place on November 29 & 30 th at UNESCO and it will not be a prize-giving ceremony, but as UNESCO stresses, representing the diversity of the intangible cultural heritage, highlighting the know-how brought by communities.


This guest list is not exhaustive and may change, depending on the proposals of the parties involved.

To this list should be added delegations of senior Jamaican officials, ambassadors from African countries and members of the Ethiopian World Federation, some of whom live in the United Kingdom, Ethiopia and the United States.