This year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has added reggae music to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In addition to compiling their World Heritage List, which includes geographic locations worthy of protection and preservation on an international scale, UNESCO reserves another list of “intangible” cultural elements specifically for practices and traditions. The news of reggae’s inclusion on the list comes after last week’s announcement that Jamaica had submitted the genre for consideration earlier this year. In a statement announcing their decision, UNESCO wrote the following:
[Reggae’s] contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual. The basic social functions of the music – as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice, and a means of praising God – have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all.
Egyptian puppetry and Mongolian camel-coaxing rituals also made the cut for the Intangible Cultural Heritage list this year.