About Reggae Gyals
Our Mission Statement
Reggae Gyals is both a reggae calendaring company and women's empowerment group. This is the mission statement for our group.
We are a social group primarily for women of all cultures (but respectful men are welcome to join) who enjoy reggae/dancehall music, clubs, and dancing to find like-minded women for networking and positivity.
The mission of this group is to promote women's independence by: (1) providing a unifying network of women to support each other; (2) encouraging self respect and mutual respect among women; (3) advocating women's empowerment through music and dance; (4) providing a source for advice and support for women, and (5) to create an alliance among women of different cultures.
Where Reggae Gyals Got Its Name
Reggae Gyals got its name from a paper written in 1998 titled ‘Lions, Black Skins and Reggae Gyals: Race, Nation and Identity in Football' written by Les Back, Tim Crabbe and John Solomos and published by the University of London. Here is an excerpt about the women fans of Jamaica's national football (soccer) team, referred to as "Reggae Gyals" :
"The participation of black women in football showed parallels with some of the broader patterns of female expression in Jamaican popular culture. In the context of the reggae dance-hall women have used music and dance to engender female power through dancing and ‘extravagant display of flashy jewellery, expensive clothes, elaborate hairstyles.’ Carolyn Cooper has argued, these performances embody complex gender politics in which women’s power lies in the control over their own bodies and sexuality. Through dance-hall culture women have achieved high levels of autonomy and self-affirmation. Equally, their presence within football grounds raised parallel issues with regard to those discussed previously in connection with the construction of black men within white masculinities in football. The range of representations of black femininity within football pose similar questions and we will address these in what follows. But clear traces of dance-hall culture are present amongst Jamaican football fans both in terms of their style and the significant numbers of young women in attendance at games."
~ Reggae Gyals
Reggae Gyals & Women's Empowerment
For Reggae Gyals, women's empowerment means that we recognize the unrecorded contributions women make to reggae, and we strive to help give them the proper value they deserve: the same value as men. Women are worth as much, are as capable, and have as much potential as men. Women should be free to make choices without having to consider our gender as a liability; but to see it as an asset. Women's empowerment is about being recognized as valuable in areas in which our value is ignored due to our gender.
How We Live Up to Our Mission Statement
2. We act as a team of mutual protection along with other women at clubs and music venues. Whether or not we are friends with other women, we recognize that women's empowerment includes all women, and therefore we take the initiative to look out for all women in the reggae community in terms of protection, defense, and support.
We also encourage people to not use the word "female" as a noun when describing a woman, as this cheapens us to our biological parts. The word "female" is properly an adjective, not a noun.
Self-respect is about accepting nothing less than what we deserve as women and educating men on what that means. Mutual respect means we've got to look out for each other, since we are far more powerful as a group.
3. We advocate women's empowerment through music and dance in two main ways:
First, we protest and encourage others to protest misogynistic and homophobic music in the form of not dancing. That is to say, parking on the dancefloor and waiting for the DJ/performer to play something else. DJs and performers learn pretty quick not to play that crap anymore.
Second, we encourage women to dance as they please without feeling self-conscious. Women's empowerment in the dance is about being free to move our bodies without concern for who is watching. We are not dancing for any man, we are dancing for our own personal enjoyment. We also encourage men to respect that, and ask to dance instead of invading our dance space unsolicited.
4. The greatness of reggae music is that it belongs to those that love it. Reggae crosses all boundaries of faith, ethnicity, economy, etc. Reggae Gyals members come in all shapes, colors, genders, and sizes, but share two common bonds: their love of reggae and their commitment to women's empowerment. We accept the differences between us, and honor the commonalities we share.
~ Reggae Gyals