Reggae singer Ginjah, who now goes by Ginjah – The Reggae Soul Man, is still processing having his own day in the United States.
Mayor of Buffalo Bryon Brown issued a proclamation announcing Ginjah – The Reggae Soul Man Day on June 12 in that city to acknowledge the singer’s musical contributions in a career spanning more than two decades.
The honour came after he was invited by Power 96.5 personality Ras Jomo to perform at a charity event in aid of victims of the May 14 Buffalo massacre, which saw 10 black people being gunned down by a 19-year-old.
“Ras Jomo reached out to me saying my music has always been healing the community and they’ve been listening to my music for years now, which I didn’t know,” the California-based singer told The Gleaner. “He asked if I could come and do the charity performance and I said, ‘If my music means so much to you people, then we nah watch nothing, just give me what the I dem have.’ So, I went there and they said they wanna do something special for my generosity; and as I was just about to perform, they said they had an announcement to make.”
That’s when Ras Jomo read the proclamation, which is captured on his social media. Though he feels elated, he couldn’t help but describe himself as “poor likkle Ginjah who just loves the music” throughout the interview.
“A lot of my friends saying, ‘You don’t know what that is? Bro, you have a day in America.’ It hasn’t really settled in. But true I trust and believe in the Most High, anything that comes my way because of the music, I know it’s not just me, but there’s something higher than me that’s manifesting these things. I’ve been staying humble over the years, and we always try to make positive music that will inspire and uplift, especially in our black community. Even when I was speaking to them, they know my love for the black community and not just the Jamaican community, but anywhere black people are in the world, my love goes out because it has always been an uphill battle for us … . I’ve always been just singing those types of music to make sure my people know what’s going on spiritually, physically, mentally, every way you can think of.”
It’s quite the achievement for the singer who was born in Hanover but moved to Central Village, St Catherine, as a child. He referenced the grimy culture all around and how several of his peers went down the path of crime and violence. Still, like his hit song, he “never lost his way”; he, instead, focused on his talent and musical ambitions.
“I was with Mr Beres Hammond’s camp for a couple of years and I’ve toured extensively also, so there are a lot of positives to talk about. We’ve also faced our struggles in the music but we never get bitter, no matter what anyone say; because one thing they never say is that him nav nuh talent. They just don’t know what’s going on (with my career), but when the Almighty is ready, slowly but surely.”
Given name Valentine Nakrumah Fraser, he updated and registered his moniker to Ginjah – The Reggae Soul Man this year to reflect the love ballad direction his music has taken in recent months.
“’Ginjah’ alone was too dry and harsh, and now we a deal with the love side and ladies, so you have to be more subtle. You can’t rough up the thing dealing with the ladies.”
His current releases are These Arms and Fall in Love, visuals for which are expected to be released soon.