“Kingston Be Wise:” Jamaica’s Reggae Revival, Musical Livity, and Troubling Temporality in the Modern Global Music Industry

John Vilanova


Kingston, Jamaica’s capital city, is home to a cohort of creative and music industry workers organizing for creative industrial development and social uplift. This article uses interviews and textual analysis to historicize and contextualize one group, Manifesto Jamaica, and situates its work alongside close readings of new music written by political Jamaican artists organizing alongside Manifesto under the umbrella of the “Reggae Revival.” The groups’ media are characterized by two themes: (1) a cross-textual referencing practice connected to the Rastafari folk religion’s concept of livity, or collectivity; and (2) an intentional troubling of temporal order, which connects the politics and people of the 1970s reggae golden age to today through the use of riddims, or backing tracks. Together, Manifesto Jamaica and the Reggae Revival represent creative industries development and cultural production in a specific neocolonial and Afro-diasporic global context that is worthy of study for its connection to previous histories and its impact today.


Jamaica, reggae, Rastafari, music industry, creative industries development, neocolonialism, global communication, development

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