Plantation, Florida: The heartbeat of reggae is set to echo through Plantation, Florida, as Island SPACE Caribbean Museum orchestrates an insightful panel discussion that promises an exploration of the roots and offshoots of Jamaican music. On Saturday, January 20, 2024, the panel, “The Roots & Fruits of the Reggae Family Tree,” will be held at Island SPACE Caribbean Museum inside the Broward Mall, to examine the captivating path of reggae music’s evolution. The discussion is a prelude to the eagerly awaited Reggae Genealogy outdoor music festival planned for Reggae Month celebrations in February.

Jazz in the Gardens 2024
Jazz in the Gardens 2024

From 5-7 p.m., industry experts Willie Stewart, Maxine Stowe and Copeland Forbes will discuss their personal experiences with the music, the greats, and the conditions that prompted phases in the life cycle of Jamaican sounds.

Stewart was a member of the legendary Third World Band, and has a decades-long history in percussion, production and performance. Stowe has played instrumental roles at iconic labels like Island Records, Studio One, Skengdon, VP Records, and Columbia Records, and in collaborations with influential artists like Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Diana King and Jimmy Cliff. She has also made pivotal contributions to soundtracks including “Cool Runnings” and “Bad Boys.”

Stowe offers Jamaican music and cultural heritage consultancy for government organizations and works with Indigenous communities for the recognition of their intellectual property rights. Forbes is a former tour and personal manager and assistant to a roster of artists including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Jimmy Cliff, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Third World and Black Uhuru. He is the author of the insightful book “Reggae My Life Is.”

The panel will be moderated by Richard Blackford, producer and presenter of Sunday Scoops, a reggae history interview series. Panelists will delve into the rich tapestry of Jamaican popular music, encapsulating its evolution, influences, and unarguable impact on the global music scene. The genealogy of reggae is a story about the ancestors, relatives and offsprings of the music. Like the Reggae Genealogy concert event taking place the following Saturday, February 10, the panel will explore the progression from mento through nyabinghi, ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dancehall, as well as Jamaican music influence on hip hop, reggaeton, EDM and Afrobeats.

Island SPACE president Calibe Thompson said, “I’m always fascinated when I think about all the types of music Jamaica has produced and how genres like ska, reggae and dancehall have been adopted and adapted by many other cultures and made into their own.” The power and influence of reggae music were inspirational to the museum’s decision to explore it in a deeper way. 

Jamaican music has been featured on the soundtrack of transformative and revolutionary moments in global history. Panelist Willie Stewart reflects, “Reggae is the heartbeat to the world. It expands and touches countries and nations everywhere in a positive and amazing way. When ANC South Africa went out to defend their rights they played Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Third World and more reggae music to inspire them.”

Tickets to the panel are available pre-sold at $15 or for $20 at the door and may be purchased at islandspacefl.org/reggaepanel2024. Later in the evening, attendees and media will linger for an evening of music and celebration at the Reggae Genealogy Launch Party which follows from 7-9 p.m.

Reggae Genealogy and its related events are presented in partnership with Broward Mall and made possible in part by the support of the City of Plantation, Broward County Cultural Division, State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Jamaica Tourist Board, VP Records, Grace Foods, Blue Mahoe Capital, Visit Lauderdale, The Beach Channel, Only the Best Printing and the following funds at the Community Foundation of Broward: Judith Cornfeld Fund for the Arts, Helen and Frank Stoykov Charitable Endowment Fund, The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation Broward Community Fund and Samuel F. Morrison Community Impact Fund.

Meet the Artists

Willie Stewart

Reggae Genealogy Prequel - Willie Stewert

Chairman/Co Founder of Embrace Music Foundation curators and presenters of South Florida’s Rhythms Of Africa annual concert series, was the principal drummer and percussionist for the international supergroup Third World, the reggae ambassadors of Jamaica. With an illustrious career spanning 23 years as its principal drummer and percussionist, Willie co-produced 13 albums, 5 of which received Grammy nominations. He has received world acclaim as the recipient of the NAACP Image award, The Diamond Award and the United Nations Peace Medal. He received the African American Achievers Award Nomination (2009) and the Knight Arts Challenge Award (2010).

Known for excellent collaborative skills and musical genius. He was a recipient of the Jamaica Diaspora Honors 2012, in the category of “Vanguard Award for Significant Contribution to Culture and Entertainment art, presented by the Consulate General of Jamaica, Miami. ICABA saluted Willie Stewart as one of the 2012 South Florida “100 Most Accomplished Caribbean Americans.” He was also featured in the August 2012 issue of Modern Drummer Magazine.

Reggae Genealogy Prequel - Maxine Stowe

Maxine Stowe

Maxine Stowe is one of the most recognized and authoritative voices in the music industry today. Her experience and command of the field spans decades of service both in the diaspora and her native country Jamaica.

Maxine’s professional aspirations began with studying Political Science at Barnard University, which was enhanced by social issues into advocacy and Rastafari Community living from the mid to late 1970’s between New York and Jamaica.

While living in New York, she maintained strong links to Jamaica, and the Jamaican music industry via her uncle the late Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd and the late Lincoln ‘Sugar’ Minott.
Maxine was part of the Who is Who in Jamaican music through working relationships with Studio One, Black Roots/Youth Promotion, Skengdon, VP Records, Columbia Records/SONY, Island/Motown/Universal, Ghetto Youths International/Tuff Gong and Solomonic Records.

She was an integral part of the international success of artists such as Shabba Ranks, Diana King, Lady Patra, Super Cat, and Mad Cobra.

Reggae Genealogy Prequel - Copeland Forbes

Copeland Forbes

Copeland Forbes is one of the most consequential figures in the history of modern Jamaican music. He has been personal assistant, tour manager and personal manager for some of the most iconic artists in Reggae music including Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Third World, Luciano and Black Uhuru. 

His recently published book “Reggae My Life Is” recounts memorable incidents on his journey and dispels some of the myths and erroneous accounts of incidents involving artists such as The Wailers, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Forbes is a much sought after speaker at music symposia and seminars across the world where his name is often a prime attraction and his vast knowledge a source of enlightenment and entertainment. 

Copeland has received numerous awards for his outstanding contribution to the music industry, including the Order of Distinction from the Government of Jamaica in 2017. 


About Reggae Genealogy

On Saturday, February 10, 2024 from 3-9 p.m. at the Broward Mall northeast parking lot, Island SPACE Caribbean Museum will host a unique musical concert event. The audiovisual journey explores the origins, evolution, and influence of Jamaican music, and features live music, DJs, dancers, narrators, and even video messages from industry leaders current and past. Learn more at reggaegenealogy.org.

About Island SPACE

Island Society for the Promotion of Artistic and Cultural Education (Island SPACE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of arts, culture, history, and educational initiatives that represent the Caribbean region, in South Florida and the broader diaspora. The public is invited to visit the Caribbean Museum Thursdays through Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. General museum entry is $10 per adult and $5 per child. Visit www.islandspacefl.org to learn more.


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