chapter  3
20 Pages

The Travels of Johnny Reggae: From Jonathan King to Prince Far I; From Skinhead to Rasta

In 1971 the British census listed 304,000 people of Caribbean origin as living in the United Kingdom. They brought with them their cultures. This was a critical postcolonial moment. For the first time the ways of the life of the colonized – though, in this case, of African-originated peoples taken to the Caribbean islands as slaves – were being introduced into the heart of empire, into the country of the colonizer. As we have seen, ska developed in Jamaica around 1960 and was picked up by the West Indian population in Britain a couple of years later. Where, historically, it was primarily the culture of the colonizer that was taken up by the colonized, now there was a counter-movement. White British youth cultures adopted ska along with the sharp dress sense of Jamaican rude boys. Through the 1960s ska and, subsequently rocksteady and reggae, began to be incorporated into British popular music.