Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Hashim Gibrill

Second Advisor



The major objective of this research is to analyze the political message in the lyrics of Reggae music, and to show how black American audiences can use that message to gain a black political consciousness. The work attempts to show how Reggae music can act as a source of political education to American blacks.

The method used to show how this would be accomplished involved the formulation of a scheme that linked the expression in Reggae to black American music, and domestic American political struggles by blacks. This was made possible through the analysis of Reggae's link to American radio, and the connection between Jamaican born Marcus Garvey and the "Black Power" movement in the 1960's.

Reggae music was found to be a source for political education of blacks in America. Through critical analysis of lyrics of the music, an ideological system was shown to exist in Reggae. This system was a language of black political struggle in the world, based in an African ideology, with the implication of a bio-cultural factor which called blacks to unite and strive towards the Pan-African philosophy invented by Marcus Garvey.

The significance of this work concerns the area of culture and its influence on man's ability to create. In one sense this involves the evolution of Reggae music as artistic creation, and on the other hand it involves Pan-African thought which is an ideo-philosophical creation. These two are important since the basis of culture is learning and communication. Through learning and culture Reggae music's influence is drawn, and in them Reggae as a tool of political education can be validated. This analysis is grounded in a cultural base, which establishes Reggae's relationship to the idea of a "black identity."

This research has found that Reggae music is a useful tool for the political education of black's in the United States. Yet, it has shown that it is the lyrical system presented in the music which is most important. This work suggests that there is an ultimate reasoning in Reggae, and its basic concerns are "black identity" and African identification.