So. I am in the LAST days of my Spelman College experience, I have matriculated for 2 and a half years and I am proud to say that I will be graduating from this illustrious institution on May 20, 2012! It’s been an interesting experience to say the least. I have met some amazing, beautiful and extremely intelligent woman throughout my days here. I am proud to call them my Spelman Sisters beyond the Gates, I trust that Jah will guide us on our individual paths but that we will always remain close friends throughout our lives’ next journeys. Before exam week got into full swing, it was PROBATE season in the AUC and I have seen countless tweets referencing line numbers for various fraternities/sororities in these last few days of my undergraduate college experience. At first I was clueless as to what was going on; I had no idea that these probates were happening this semester then all of sudden Twitter was bombarded by the tweets.
Now I’m not Greek nor am I against Greek life, so this post is not going to be a play by play of probate season in the AUC. However, I do plan to talk about a fraternity that I am member of; that is the Dancehall Fraternity. If you’ve followed the dancehall movement for sometime, you would have heard various artistes and some sound bwoys reference being in the dancehall fraternity. In essence it’s a social group for those folks who promote the dancehall music movement. It is rooted in the heart of Caribbean culture. Now, the members are not called ‘sorors’ or ‘bruhs’ but the sisterhood and brotherhood that exist is a very real one.
Most DJs/Selectahs in the Caribbean music industry, have been so for many years or were influenced by some of the worlds oldest and greatest sound systems such as Duke Reid’s the Trojan and Clement Dodd’s Sir Coxsone Downbeat. It was these two pioneers, that I am dubbing ‘the Fathers of SS’, who started the movement that would foster a slew of followers and supporters worldwide. Since the beginning of reggae music in the 1950s, there have been many great artistes creating music, many DJs toasting over the mic getting the crowd excited to hear those tunes, many selectahs choosing what tunes will buss in the dancehall, and still many promoters pushing the music domestically and internationally.
I came to Atlanta in January of 2010, as a student of Spelman College and I longed to find reggae music within the city. I looked for places that played reggae music exclusively but living on campus posed a unique issue, most of my classmates were Americans who hardly ever listened to any music from the Caribbean unless it made its way onto the American mainstream music scene. As a result I totally immersed myself in keeping up to date with what music was being released in the Caribbean – if there was a new riddim, single or a new deejay/singjay to look out for – I had that information. By the time I moved off campus in the Fall of 2010, my wish to find a reggae spot had come true. I attended a hiphop versus reggae party hosted by a promotions group in the AUC, I was apprehensive at first but I literally was craving a good dancehall party so I convinced my friends to go out that night. It was from that evening when I entered the Atlanta dancehall music scene and I have never looked back since…
I’ve met many people who are currently in the Atlanta dancehall/reggae music scene and I’ve met some who were once in the Atlanta scene but who have made moves into other cities and some even international. The one thing I can say about this ‘fraternity’ is that if you have a true passion and a true love for this culture, you will fit perfectly! Many times people try to join a social group because they think that all the cool kids are doing it or have done it. Those are the same people who have no clue as to what exactly it is those ‘cool kids’ have that makes them a true member of the movement. There is nothing wrong with being a fan of the musical movement, however! That’s exactly how I started out – before 2010 I was a serious fan of Caribbean music. I had the music, knew the lyrics, partied at sessions with my friends but that’s as far as I got. I’ve wanted to be a selectah since 2008 but nervous energy played a part in me not pursuing that dream. However, in 2012 I’ve shed those fears and I am doing exactly what I want to do to support a genre and a culture that I TRULY LOVE.
I hope that as you read this post you got an understanding of how close the Caribbean community Caribbean citizens is. If you are Caribbean, the goal of this posts was to touch on the most important points that support our movement and in the event that I didn’t feel free to comment and let me know!
ONE LOVE MASSIVE. Until next time…