9 Reggae Music Artists African Americans Love

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Reggae is a well-known music style that started in Jamaica in the late 1960s and quickly became the nation’s dominant music. By the 1970s, the music genre also became an international style that was particularly popular in the United States, Britain, and Africa. 

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While it originated in Jamaica, many reggae artists have garnered immense popularity among African American listeners. Continue reading to discover the twelve reggae music artists that are loved by black Americans. 

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Bob Marley

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Could You Be Loved. Video Credit: @BobMarley

Born on 6 February 1945, Bob Marley is undoubtedly one of the most iconic figures in reggae music. Many folks consider him as one of the pioneers of the music genre

Bob Marley and his band, ‘The Wailers’, made roots reggae popular in the 1970s. And many African American communities loved his musical message of ‘one love, peace, and redemption.’ 

Many black people used his songs, such as ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ and ‘Redemption Song’ as anthems for equal rights and social issues. This made his connection with the black American communities much stronger. And it still exists today. 

People Also Read: Reggae Artists: These 6 Female Singers Should Top Your List

Peter Tosh

Peter Tosh Greatest Hits (Full Album). Video Credit: @adoptarescue123

Peter Tosh was one of the Jamaican reggae artists who established ‘The Wailers’. After the brand’s separation, he started his solo career. His good songwriting skills and powerful vocals showed in his tracks ‘Equal Rights‘ and Legalize It.’ These songs were loved by black people fighting for racial inequalities and societal issues of marijuana prohibition. 

Toots Hibbert

54-46 Was My Number. Video Credit: @TootsandtheMaytalsOfficial

Born on 8 December 1942, Toots Hibbert was the lead vocalist for the reggae and ska band Toots and the Maytals. Toots Hibbert performed for six years and helped establish some of the basics of reggae music. Their ska and rocksteady have a reggae sound. You can see this in their classics like ‘Pressure Drop” and “54-46 (That’s My Number).’ 

The songs got the black audience’s attention with their upbeat tempo and infectious danceability.

Bunny Wailer

The Best Of Bunny Wailer 2022. Video Credit: @lovesongs8891

Neville O’Riley Livingston, Also known as Bunny Wailer was a professional Jamaican reggae artist. He was an ordinary member of The Wailers. However, he decided to pursue a solo career after the separation of the band. 

The singer won the Grammy Award three times and he’s considered the longtime standard-bearer of reggae music. Bunny Wailer has smooth vocals and conscious lyrics, which helped him gain a large following among black music lovers. Songs like ‘Electric Avenue’ and ‘Jammin’ showed his talent to the world while staying true to the roots of reggae music.

People Also Read: Lucky Dube Best Songs List for the Best Reggae Experience

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Jimmy Cliff

James Chambers, OM, also known as Jimmy Cliff, is a Jamaican reggae and soul music artist. He’s the only living reggae artist to hold the Order of Merit (OM), the highest honor the Jamaican government awards people for their contributions to the arts and sciences.

The artist is known by a global audience, including Black American music lovers for songs like ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ and ‘Many Rivers to Cross’. You stream and listen to many of his songs on Amazon

Burning Spear

Burning Spear (Best Of Burning Spear ). Video Credit: @robertvilchez5533

Winston Rodney OD, better known by the stage name Burning Spear is a roots reggae vocalist, singer-songwriter, and musician. He’s a Rastafarian and one of the well-known long-standing roots musicians from the 1970s. 

Burning Spear’s powerful vocals and good drumming skills are evident in his songs, including ‘Red, Gold, and Green” and “Marcus Garvey.’ And the songs appeal to many black Americans who are seeking cultural connection and historical awareness.

Desmond Dekker

Born on 16 July 1941 in St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica, Desmond Dekker was a Jamaican rocksteady, ska, and musician. Together with the Aces, his backing group, he had one of the earliest global reggae songs hits with ‘Israelites’. Other Desmond’s hits include ‘007’ and ‘It Mek’. Many of these songs were very popular in most black communities in the late 1960s. 

Derrick “Duckie” Simpson

Black Uhuru ~ Solidarity. Video Credit: @Brotherwhitelion

Aged 73 years, Derrick “Duckie” Simpson is the leader and founder of ‘Black Uhuru’, a reggae group known for its powerful vocals and dancehall influences. Although going through several musicians and lead singers the group has remained one of the most popular and prolific reggae bands for more than 40 years. 

Many African Americans, and black people in general, vibe to their songs, especially the two most popular ones – ‘Shine On Top’ and ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner‘.

Dennis Brown

Born on 1 February 1957 in Kingston, Jamaica, Dennis Emmanuel Brown CD is one of the best reggae artists of all time. During his prolific musical career, which started in the late 1960s when he was just eleven years old, he recorded over 75 albums. Within this time, he was among the major stars of lovers rock, a reggae subgenre. 

His romantic lyrics and smooth vocals were evident in many of his songs, including ‘Money Man’ and ‘Love Has No Colour.’ And these songs resonated with black music lovers yearning for love songs infused with the reggae groove.

Morgan Heritage

This is a Grammy-winning Jamaican reggae group established by Una Morgan, Peter “Peetah” Morgan, Memmalatel “Mr. Mojo” Morgan, Nakhamyah “Lukes” Morgan, and Roy “Gramps” Morgan. The group has toured across the globe, including the UK and released a good number of albums. 

These reggae music artists, along with countless others, such as ‘Steel Pulse’, a reggae band from Birmingham, England have cemented their place in the hearts of Black American audiences. They inject strong social and political consciousness into their music. So, their songs have continued to inspire, uplift, and unite music lovers across generations.

People Also Read: Gone But Not Forgotten: Honoring the Legacy of 11 Iconic Black Music Legends

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Uchenna Agwu
Uchenna Agwu
Hi there! I’m Uchenna Agwu, and I love to write. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me reading books or watching documentaries (I’m a bit of a nerd). But I also like to get out and explore – whether that means going on hikes or checking out new restaurants.

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