Jamaica Culture

Jamaica Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Jamaica

According to DENTISTRYMYTH.COM, Jamaica is a country located in North America. The spread of daily newspapers in Jamaica is limited (62 items per 1,000 residents, 2000). There are four daily newspapers, the largest of which is the Daily Star newspaper with about 50,000 copies. and the independent Conservative Daily Gleaner (founded in 1834) with just over 40,000 items. (both have Sunday editions with about 100,000 copies in circulation).

The former state-owned Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation was privatized in 1997 and renamed Radio Jamaica Ltd (RJR) and Television Jamaica Ltd (TVJ) respectively. RJR is a commercial public service company that broadcasts radio in three channels. There are also other private stations. TVJ broadcasts advertising-financed TV in one channel. Radio and television broadcasting is large with 784 radio and 194 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to CALCULATORINC, reggae music originating in Jamaica has meant a lot to the cultural identity of the English-speaking parts of the Caribbean. Reggae is closely linked to the rasta movement.

The followers of the rastafari movement (see Religion) are easily recognized by their long hair with waxed hair braids, dreadlocks. However, everyone with dreadlocks are not rastafarian followers. The movement mainly attracts poor people and has long been in conflict with the country’s authorities, not least because of the marijuana use. The reggae mixes West Indian and African rhythms with American rhythm & blues. The texts are about praising Jah (God) as well as about politics, societal problems and everyday life. The most renowned reggae artist and Rastafarian supporter is Bob Marley (1945-1981). The UN cultural body UNESCO placed reggae on its list of international cultural heritage in 2018.

Music is an important part of the island’s cultural life. In the 1950s, working songs from the plantations became internationally popular since they were launched by singer Harry Belafonte (American with Jamaican blush). In the 1980s, several of the island’s artists reached the outside world with the new rhythms dancehall and ragga.

Closely associated with music is the tradition of verbally conveying poems to music, called dub poetry. The colonial era with its oppression is a common theme.

In the literature, racism, poverty and slavery are common topics. Claude McKay (1890-1948) is usually mentioned as the country’s first black novelist. He wrote the novels Home to Harlem (1928) and Banana bottom (1933) and poetry collections in Creole languages. Among now living writers are Lorna Goodison and Rachel Manley, who both live wholly or partly abroad. It also makes Marlon James who in 2015 won several literary awards including the prestigious British Man Booker Prize for his novel A brief chronicle of seven murders (A Brief History of seven killings).

The Jamaican visual artists Albert Huie (1920–2010) and Barrington Watson (1931–2016) are internationally renowned, as is the sculptor Edna Manley (1900–1987).



British honorary consul murdered

British Honorary Consul John Terry is found murdered in his home in the tourist resort of Montego Bay. A man is later convicted of the murder.


New Governor-General assumes office

Jamaica’s sixth Governor General, Patrick Allen, is installed. Allen has a background within the Protestant community of the Seventh-day Adventists. He replaces Kenneth Hall, who resigned for health reasons.



Parliament for the death penalty

Parliament votes to retain the death penalty. Although death sentences are being imposed, they have not been enforced since 1988, when the Privy Council in London introduced a moratorium (temporary halt) against executions.



Roll victory for the right-hand side JLP

September 3

In the parliamentary election, which was postponed a week due to Hurricane Dean, the right-wing party of the Jamaica Workers’ Party (JLP) wins after 18 years in opposition. Party leader Bruce Golding becomes new prime minister. The election result is very even, but after recalculation, the JLP receives 32 of the 60 seats, against 28 for the Socialist People’s Nationalist Party (PNP).


Election day is moved forward after the hurricane

Hurricane Dean pulls over the country in the middle of the month, causing great havoc. Around 300,000 people become homeless. Election day is moved forward.

Violence before the election

The election campaign ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for August will be violent. Street gangs with links to the political parties try to influence how people vote through threats and harassment. More than ten people are killed in the violence.

Jamaica Culture

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