Bridgeman Images is delighted to represent the Step Lively Video Archive. The Step Lively Video Archive offers an exclusive look at late 1980s and 1990s Reggae culture in New York, Jamaica and around the world. 

Reggae Strong - Black Uhuru episode / Step Lively / Bridgeman Images

Reggae is a genre of music that emerged out of 1960s Jamaica. It merged the upbeat tempos of ska, with American R&B. The lyrics reflected the concerns of the times and would often include themes of repatriation, protest, unity, and social change. In the 1970s, Reggae blossomed in the United Kingdom, United States, and Africa as more Jamaican immigrants were relocating there and bringing their music with them. One of its most notable influences can be seen on many UK punk acts of the late 1970s and early 1980s who blended the Reggae tempos with conventional punk music. 

Reggae Strong - Sly & Robbie episode / Step Lively / Bridgeman Images


By the late 1980s, reggae had a large following of dedicated fans, but received little media attention outside of radio play - Reggae Strong set out to change that. Producer Diane ‘Strong’ Gurwitz and playwright/director, Stafford Ashani (Harrison) assembled the Step Lively crew and created the Reggae Strong series which included interviews, concert footage, community news, and cultural segments, in a magazine format. The programme was based out of New York City, a hub of music and culture. Many of the concert clips were filmed in New York’s iconic World Music venues, including S.O.B.s, the Ritz, the Beacon Theater, Kilimanjaro, Wetlands, and Sag Harbor’s Bay Street.

In 1987, Reggae Strong became the first Reggae television programme to be broadcast internationally, introducing the ins and outs of reggae and Caribbean culture to the world. The programmes were picked up across North and Central America and received viewer mail from as far as the tiny island of Guam. 

Reggae Strong - Burning Spear episode / Step Lively / Bridgeman Images

Reggae Strong offers insight into facets of the reggae genre. Musicians talk about their unique backgrounds that form the type of reggae they play, such as interweaving native Creole music with reggae. The artist's backgrounds impact the music they produce, making the music personal and distinct. 
The Step Lively Video Archive includes full episodes and clips from Reggae Strong, featuring acts such as Sly and Robbie, Third World, Maxi Priest, Pato Banton, Jimmy Cliff, Majek Fashek, and Lucky Dube. Each  episode also offers a time capsule look at community news and music reviews presented by radio personality, the Night Nurse, Amy Wachtel.

Reggae Strong Episode 1 - Lucky Dube / Step Lively / Bridgeman Images

Reggae Strong launched the career of South African reggae legend, Lucky Dube. His episode consists of performance clips and an interview shot on location in Sag Harbor, New York. Like every episode in the series, the Lucky Dube programme offers a time capsule look at community news and concerts presented by The Night Nurse, Amy Wachtel. 

The Step Lively Video Archive offers an enthralling look at the Reggae community. If you would like to see more Reggae Strong footage or would like to license whole programmes, please contact us.

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