Since the 1960s, Jamaican culture has hugely influenced music, fashion, and popular culture globally. After introducing the world to ska and reggae music, this Caribbean island inspired fashion trends, culture, language and even religion around the world.
Musicians like Bob Marley and The Wailers, Peter Tosh, and Toots and the Maytals were some of the firsts to popularize Jamaica’s music genres that are now globally admired and imitated. Ska and Reggae draw heavily from Jamaican folklore, as well as African and Caribbean musical influences. These genres were some of the firsts to bring Caribbean music to the mainstream, after Calypso had a brief limelight in the 1960s. Dancehall, dub, and hip-hop followed.
Jamaica has also had a major influence on fashion, particularly in the past few decades. Designers like Sean John and Karl Kani introduced popular clothing lines influenced by Jamaican culture and style. Celebrities like Rihanna and Drake have been seen wearing Jamaican-influenced clothing and hairstyles, popularizing the trend. Jamaican fashion has also been featured prominently in music videos by artists like Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Jamaican culture has seeped into popular culture in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe. Several popular television shows in Britain have featured Jamaican characters, and in the United States the hit sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” featured a Jamaican character named Carlton Banks. Movies like “Cool Runnings” (about the Jamaican bobsled team) and “The Harder They Come” (about a Jamaican musician) have also been popular in the past.
Much of what the world imitates from Jamaica comes from the Rastafarian culture. Dreadlocks are now de rigueur among youth globally. The red, green and gold Rastafarian colors may even be more widely known than the colors of the Jamaican flag (black, green and gold). The Jamaican patois or attempts at it is spoken across the world, especially among those who have adopted the Rastafarian culture. Yeah Mon!