Since the Olympics kicked off yesterday, the celebration and pride of every country is exploding across every aspect of the games. That burst of energy filled the air yesterday when fireworks lit up the sky during the opening ceremony. You know where else the sky is ever blazing, Jamaica! Between outdoor concerts and backyard bashments in JA, there are partygoers known to light aerosol fueled flames into the air—hence the term “more fire.” It’s come with the raucous reputation dancehall music has in the Caribbean influencing every other pocket of the globe from Brixton to Brooklyn. The culture around the music—equally as important as the athletes representing Jamaica—has a grand stage near Olympic Park through Festival Jamaica, an event featuring the photography of Jamil GS. Jamil, who shot for Mass Appeal back in the day, adidas, and for Supreme’s 2001 calendar, described Festival Jamaica as, “a really massive event covering all angles of the Jamaican experience without being on the island itself. He adds about his dedication to profiling Jamaica,
“Although I have captured and created work in Jamaica since ’93, my photographs in this particular show are focused on more recent works during my artist in residence stay at Geejam in Port Antonio, and while living in Kingston. It’s about dancehall lifestyle and fashion. The dancers featured are Ganna Ganna at Folly Oval in Port Antonio and Shelly Belly with Mystic Davis at Club Asylum in Kingston.”
Jamaica’s history is rich, 50 years strong to be exact. This year, Jamaica celebrates the anniversary of its independence from British rule in 1962. Throughout, reggae and dancehall have produced voices like Gregory Isaacs, Buju Banton, and Busy Signal who have impacted race, politics, and pop culture globally. These iconic musicians are just three artists highlighting Out of Many: 50 Years of Reggae Music, arguably the most important release from VP Records (on sale July 31st).
Catch the London 2102 Olympics and Jamil GS’ exhibit for Festival Jamaica through August 12th.