USA | Feb 25, 2023

Grange makes Reggae Month call on Jamaican Diaspora in South Florida

/ Our Today

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Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, addresses the opening ceremony of the Jamaica 60 Diaspora Conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Kingston on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (Photo: JIS)

Jamaica’s Culture Minister, Olivia “Babsy” Grange made a call on the Jamaican Diaspora in South Florida earlier this week, as part of its commemoration of Reggae Month.

Grange participated in South Florida for Reggae Month activities and attended the ICON Awards and the Pre-Ash Gospel Spectacular show at Miramar Cultural Center on February 21. Whilst speaking in South Florida, Minister Grange has called on persons with Jamaican heritage to acquire passports to strengthen ties with their family’s homeland.

She told the South Florida Jamaican Diaspora, “once you have Jamaican roots, you are Jamaican. I would encourage second-generation [and] third-generation…go get your Jamaican passport, no matter what other citizenship you have. You cannot get the culture out of you as a Jamaican because you may be born in the US or in Canada, but yuh parents cook Jamaican food…love di ackee an’ saltfish, they love di stew peas an’ rice, they love di curry goat. Yuh love di Jamaican food, di Jamaican music, even di Jamaican swag.”

In February 2022, approximately 290 Americans of Jamaican heritage were granted Jamaican citizenship in a virtual ceremony called, ‘Back To My Roots’. Among them was Gramps Morgan, lead vocalist of the Grammy-winning group, Morgan Heritage.

Back To My Roots is an initiative of the Office of the Consul General in Miami. The application process can take as long as three months. Grange was also patron to ‘Gospel Spectacular’, which showcased new wave artists such as Jabez, Prodigal Son and Omari, along with more conventional gospel artists like Glacia Robinson and Carlene Davis.

She is pleased with response to Reggae Month events in South Florida, which returned this year after a two-year break due to COVID-19 saying “reggae is global, it’s Jamaican-made, straight from the heart but it’s for the people of the world. And so, Reggae Month has been growing outside of Jamaica because everywhere you go in the world you find a Jamaican and everywhere a Jamaican deh is Jamaica, as (folklorist) Miss Lou would say. We came to Florida couple [of] years back and we’ve expanded in Florida, so that’s great to see.”


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