Jamaica Observer hits new low with amateur reporting on Stone | MIDNIGHT RAVER
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Jamaica Observer hits new low with amateur reporting on Stone

In yet another example of poor reporting from the Jamaica Observer, the newspaper once again wrongly asserts that Billboard Magazine named Joss Stone the 2015 “Reggae Artist of the Year.”  In fact, Billboard makes no such proclamations about the velvet-voiced British pop star whose 2015 pop/fusion album Water for Your Soul sold more copies than all of the top-selling Jamaican reggae albums combined (never mind that Stone’s album is anything but a “reggae” album).  The magazine simply reported the fact that Joss Stone had the top-charting reggae album of 2015 based solely on total sales.  This is not conjecture on behalf of Billboard, who panned Stone’s album upon its release last July, it is fact, pure and simple.

The Observer’s poor reporting has resulted in Bounty Killah lashing out publicly against both Billboard and the Jamaican government.  In a recent article titled “Bounty Blasts Billboard,” the Observer reports “never one to shy away from controversy, Bounty Killer has hit out against Billboard Magazine for naming British singer Joss Stone Reggae Artiste of The Year. The fiery deejay also had some harsh words for Jamaica’s Government.” It is clear that Bounty Killah has his facts wrong, however, who can blame him when Jamaica’s newspaper has reported so irresponsibly on this issue?

This entire episode stems from the fact that Joss Stone released a pop album containing several reggae tracks. Billboard made a huge mistake by classifying this album in the reggae category for the purposes of chart tabulation. Sure the album includes a song featuring Damian Marley, and there are four or five tracks which could be considered reggae, however, this is clearly a pop fusion album which should be listed in the R&B category. Peter Gabriel’s So, Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, and Paul Simon’s Graceland all featured African-themed music and musicians. Were these albums categorized as Tropical, African, Reggae or World Music albums? I don’t think that was the case.  Stephen Marley’s Revelation Part I featured DC rapper Wale on a track.  Does this make the album a hip-hop album?  Of course not.

That being said, the Observer seems to be focused on the wrong issue. Instead of worrying about why her album was mistakenly categorized as a reggae album, the conversation should be about the meager sales of reggae’s top albums, most of which I’ve summarized HERE. Reggae fans should be ashamed of themselves for not supporting their favorite artists. It is painfully obvious that fans are pirating the albums online rather than paying the $9.99 for the proper release. If this sort of behavior continues you can say goodbye to this music we love.

To add insult to injury the Observer is now questioning whether Stone’s race is an issue as if simply by the fact of being white somehow allows her to outsell black artists. This is incredulous. Stone didn’t outsell black artists because she is white. She outsold black artists because her fans, both black and white, purchased her album while fans of black reggae artists did not! The attempt by the Observer to turn this into an issue about race is shameful and inexcusable.  The newspaper’s distractions and deflections from the real issue are an embarrassment to talented and hard-working Jamaican artists. Once again, the Jamaican establishment is attempting to discredit and destroy a vital aspect of the island’s cultural history.  It is amateur reporting at its worst. Instead of distracting, race-baiting, and excuse-making, maybe the Observer should report on the reasons why Jamaican reggae artists are unable to sell records.




  1. Jesse says:

    What about the irresponsible reporting by Billboard, in labeling Stone’s album “reggae”? There’s like 2 or 3 kinda reggae tracks on there. By that definition, Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” (which sold way more copies) might as well have gotten that recognition, since his song “Sorry” kinda sounds like dancehall.

    1. midnightraverblog says:

      True, Jesse, true. Billboard gets no quarter on this one…post on Billboard soon come!

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