Women In Reggae You Should Know-2BKaribbean Top Five
Reggae music has been growing in popularity around the world as one of Jamaica’s major cultural exports. It has definitely played a significant role in getting global recognition for Caribbean music and culture. Part of the success of the genre is due to the women who have contributed chart-topping songs and albums over the past few decades. Women in Reggae have helped to develop the genre exponentially and take it to new heights. From Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam” to Dawn Penn’s “No, No, No,” women in reggae have helped to move the genre into the mainstream listening pool through their powerful messages and unmistakable rhythms. As we continue to celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month, here is our 2BKaribbean top five women in reggae music you should know and a very special bonus.
Best known for her incredible vocals and hits like “Electric Boogie” (1983) and “Don’t Let Me Down” (1974), Marcia Griffiths, O.D. has been an integral part of Jamaican reggae music since her collaborations with Bob Andy, and then as a member of the I Threes, performing with Bob Marley & The Wailers. She has collaborated with groups such as Toots and the Maytals, which won the 2004 Best Reggae Album at the Grammys. For her contribution to reggae music, Griffiths received the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican Government in October 2014.
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Most known for her hit “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” (1994), Dawn Penn brought Jamaican reggae to the pop charts in the 1990’s, and continues to be sampled and remixed by present day artistes, most recently being featured by Beyonce during her performance at Coachella in 2018. Her most recent album, Conscious, was released in 2012.
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With her hits “Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet” (1997) and “It’s a Pity,” Tanya Stephens has been an influential reggae music icon, spreading music as far as Sweden with her deal with Warner Music Sweden. A social advocate, Stephens has released music that has been used in advertisements to curve stigmas about HIV in the Caribbean.
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Grammy nominated reggae singer Etana released her first album in 2008 and has been growing in popularity ever since. Her most recent album Reggae Forever (2018) maintained its position at number one on the Billboard charts for two consecutive weeks featuring songs like “Fighting for Nothing,” “Spread Love” and “Soldier.”
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Queen Ifrica has been active in music since performing at a talent competition in the 1990’s in Montego Bay. With the release of her first album, Montego Bay (2009), Queen Ifrica featured singles such as “Daddy” and “Lioness on the Rise.” She’s also been featured on albums such as Reggae Gold 2011, with her song “Times Like These.” Her most recent album, Climb, was released in 2017, reaching peak positions in the Billboard Reggae chart.
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Although she is known for being the wife of Bob Marley and a member of the I Threes, Rita Marley began her career by meeting Peter Tosh. It was after she met Bob and after the development of the Wail ‘n’ Soul’m label that Rita Marley became part of The Wailers. Her solo hits include “One Draw” (1982) and “Harambe.” For her contribution to reggae, she received the Order of Distinction in Jamaica in 1996.
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