Derrick ‘Duckie’ Simpson, founder and leader of legendary roots reggae band Black Uhuru says that reggae is now “owned by the white guy”.
Simpson was reacting to THE STAR’s question regarding the significance, if any, of Californian reggae band, Stick Figure, pushing Bob Marley from the number one position on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.
Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers, has been number one for 140 consecutive weeks. This week, Stick Figure’s just-released album, Wisdom, is number one. Stick Figure is also dominating the iTunes Top 100 Reggae Albums chart, with a total of four albums in the top 10 – Wisdom, World on Fire, Set in Stone and Burial Ground.
“The significance of that is that reggae has been dethroned permanently,” Simpson, who has been in the music business for more than 50 years said calmly.
His band, Black Uhuru, were the first-ever Best Reggae Album winners at the Grammy awards ceremony in 1985 for its album, Anthem. The band is known for classics such as Solidarity, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Great Train Robbery, What Is Life, Sponji Reggae and System.
In June, Simpson released his latest album, New Day,which was recorded at Hell Town Studio in California. He has spoken during a recent interview streamed on his social media page about the impact of New Day and that he could possibly be picking up the 2023 Reggae Grammy.
“Reggae is now owned by the white guys dem … yuh know … Rebelution, Stick Figure and those guys,” he added.
The veteran reggae singer shared his reason for his opinion.
“Jamaica people have turned their backs on it so reggae is now owned by the white people … like SOJA … Foundation, Grounation. A deh so it deh now,” Simpson said.
SOJA, a reggae band from California, this year became the first foreign, white group to win the Reggae Grammy award.
Stick Figure was founded in 2006 as a one-man band by multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Scott Woodruff. Woodruff, who is originally from Massachusetts. In a 2019 interview with The Gleaner, Woodruff opened up about his reggae music inspiration.
“My older brother, who is very passionate about music, was always playing reggae music around the house … like Bob Marley, Half Pint, Peter Tosh, Barrington Levy. That’s what inspired me to play reggae music. Reggae was just what we listened to,” Woodruff said.
On Wisdom, Stick Figure teams up with Barrington Levy on the song Soul of the World.