The world body’s cultural and scientific agency, UNESCO, has added Reggae music to the United Nations’ list of global cultural treasures.
UNESCO, in a statement on Thursday said the genre that originated in Jamaica, is added to its collection of “intangible cultural heritage” and it is deemed worthy of protection and promotion.
Reggae music’s “contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual.
“While in its embryonic state Reggae music was the voice of the marginalized, the music is now played and embraced by a wide cross-section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups,” UNESCO said.
The musical style joined a list of cultural traditions that includes the horsemanship of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, a Mongolian camel-coaxing ritual and Czech puppetry, and more than 300 other traditional practices spanning from boat-building and pilgrimages to cooking and dance.
Jamaica applied for reggae’s inclusion on the list this year at a meeting of the UN agency on the island of Mauritius, where 40 proposals were under consideration.
Reggae was competing for inclusion alongside Bahamian strawcraft, South Korean wrestling, Irish hurling and perfume making in the southern French city of Grasse.