Community is never about what separates you from each other, your race, or your culture. Its about what binds you together.
-Myron "Pinky" Thompson
The culture in Hawai'i is unlike anywhere else in the world. The Hawaiian Islands are one of the few places on earth where the west meets the east, tradition meets modernity, indigenous meets foreign, and the jungle meets the city. Erupting volcanoes, populated suburbs, tropical beaches, snow covered mountains, 10 lane highways, lush rainforest, barren land, sky scraping buildings, pristine waterfalls, graffiti covered alleys, and flowing rivers are all found here. Our islands are home to approximately 1.5 million people who speak dozens of languages, come from continents and islands all over the world, and worship gods from Buddha to Pele to the nature that surrounds us. Every year, 8 million more people from around the planet come to visit our islands and experience our culture, or at least one version of it.
As for those who call this place home, some live off the land in the mountains while others in waterfront mansions and penthouse suites. Some families can trace their genealogy back hundreds of years in these lands while others couldn't go back more than a week. Some spend their days at the beach and some haven't been to the beach in decades. There are surfers, scientists, musicians, bankers, students, fishermen, construction workers, presidents, beggars, beach boys, professional athletes, bikini models, priests, cultural practitioners, CEO's, environmentalists, celebrities, and everything in between.
This diversity has been a blessing and a curse for Hawaiʻi, its people, its land, and its culture. It's not always easy and certainly not always pretty for everyone to get along with so many different people and perspectives. However, against the odds, more often than not, people remember Hawaiʻi as representing the concept of Aloha through the love and compassion shown amongst people here despite the differences. Music, and especially reggae music has unquestionably helped bridge the gaps between cultures, classes, and ethnicities here in Hawaiʻi, bringing all types of people together.
The musical lineage of Hawai'i is unparalleled. Rich, thriving, and diverse are understatements. However, the music doesn't exist in and of itself, it is deeply engrained and strongly intertwined within the culture. One that is strongly rooted in Hawaiian and Oceanic peoples but heavily influenced by the US and Asia. A culture and music which is constantly being shaped by the hands of globalization and the traditions of the past.
Instead of attempting to describe the relationship between reggae music and Hawaiian culture (and by Hawaiian culture I mean all the cultures that come together in the melting pot of our islands) with words (which would hardly do it justice), provided below are a selection of films that tell the story of where these two paths intersect. Each video is contextualized and also included were some important extras that may not necessarily directly relate to Hawaiian reggae, but are significant within local culture and thus ultimately end up helping shape the music.