Updated: Oct 8, 2019
(& my tinge of jealousy as a Haitian).
Long has been the war between Haitians and Jamaicans. Since I can remember, Haitian's and Jamaicans were like oil and water. To be honest, I can't quite pinpoint where it started, and I'm sure it's rooted in some highly significant catalyst... but as a teen growing up in South Florida, it all I felt like some subtle war of who was "better". Fast forward about 20-something years, I can say that the discord has died down and Haitians and Jamaicans have pretty good relationships now. S/O to all the Haitian and Jamaican kids who defied their parents and created cross-cultural bonds with their Caribbean bredren & sistren. Y'all the real MVPs.
Anyhow, in my travels to Ghana, one of the things that stood out most to me was their love affair with Reggae and Dancehall music. While you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't like those genres, it's different in Ghana. It's deeper than rap... so to speak.
You see, during the transatlantic slave trade, the "Africans" we were taught about in the west were in large part Ghanaians. This year marks the 400 years since the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade and Ghana is marking this occasion as the Year of Return. Welcoming back African diaspora from all over the world. Namely an island like Jamaica, who much like Haiti, retain a great deal of their West African traditions. The relationship between the two nations is so amicable it reflects in the music, with Ghanian artists like StoneBoyB blazing the charts with his dancehall hits.
Truly incredible as a foreigner to see. Inspiring really. One can only hope for a similar fate for their own nation. #AyitiCherie.