Jamaican Lifestyle: UK’s assimilation of the Jamaican culture, through dancehall, fashion and patois

rise of dancehallAs one of the most desired cities in the world, London is not afraid to embrace new cultures and identities. The Jamaican culture has unquestionably had a huge impact on UK’s capital city. Whilst, travelling throughout the city, you will often be confused as to where you actually are. Areas such as Brixton in South London, is awash with Jamaican staples. From jerk stands, reggae dancehall stalls, and grocery shops; everything you need to embrace a Jamaican way of life is here.

One of the biggest trends in London is Jamaican music, which is often referred to as ‘Bashment’. It is a staple in most clubs and at the majority of parties in the UK. Dancehall music plays a massive part in the entertainment scene here, with people from all races gravitated towards its raw energy. It’s this raw energy that has also allowed us to establish our own UK dancehall sound that many of the underground artists work hard to create and promote. Artists such as Stylo G and Gappy Ranks are two well-known artists who are making waves in the UK dancehall and reggae scene. And with the Jamaican music comes the fashion, which also has a big influence here. Influences of Jamaican fashion trends can often be seen in the way many of the young Brits dress. Ensuring their ‘swagger is on point’; many youths carry off a style that complements their music tastes.

Since the 1960s, London has also played host to an annual event that celebrates Caribbean culture. At the end of every August, Notting Hill in northwest London holds its eagerly anticipated two-day carnival. At Europe’s biggest two-day festival, hundreds of thousands of people flock to the streets to party to the sweet sounds of Caribbean music. Although the majority of the floats entertain the crowds with soca music, many of the sounds darted around the streets thump out reggae and dancehall anthems until the early evening.

But is there any point in eating Jamaican food, listening to Jamaican music and taking inspiration from its fashion trends if bob marley posteryou can’t talk the talk? Patois has almost taken over and that’s not an exaggeration. The trend for talking with a Jamaican dialect has become so widespread in London that the term Multicultural London English has been coined. The Jamaican dialect heard by many in the inner cities, has almost eclipsed the Cockney English of the working class of yesteryear!

As a country once voted the third coolest nationality in the world, it’s not surprising that many of its trends have been adopted in the UK. Having been born in England but with Jamaican heritage, I fully embrace all that is the land of wood and water. Although Jamaica doesn’t always have the best reputation, it’s nice to see how the Jamaican culture has been adopted and embraced by people who want a little Caribbean charm in their identity.

Post Chantel’e Marie a broadcaster and writer from London. In her spare time Chantel’e Marie publishes reggae dancehall music and lifestyle topics at: http://wordsandriddims.com

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