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Arlington band wins Grammy award

SOJA at the 2022 Grammys (via @sojagram/Instagram)

A band that formed at Yorktown High School in Arlington is now a Grammy winner.

SOJA, also known as Soldiers of Jah Army, won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album for their 2021 release Beauty in the Silence, following two prior nominations in the same category. The awards aired last night on CBS.

The band has received international acclaim while maintaining its Arlington roots. SOJA performed on the Tonight Show in 2012; it also performed one of the last shows at Whitlow’s in Clarendon last summer.

Not everybody was happy with a reggae band from Arlington winning out over notable Jamaican nominees like Spice and Sean Paul.

“The win marks the first time an all-white Reggae band has won the award and the third time a non-Jamaican person or group has won in the Reggae category’s 37 year history. During the acceptance speech, SOJA paid tribute to Jamaica, the homeland of Reggae,” reported BET. “However, the announcement did not appear to sit well with music fans who took to their social media platforms to air out their frustration.”

Smh,” tweeted Jamaican dancehall artist Beenie Man, one of several who were not nominated but expressed disappointment at fellow Jamaicans not winning the Grammy.

SOJA, meanwhile, thanked fans via social media “for all your years of support” yesterday, prior to winning. After winning, frontman Jacob Hemphill expressed more gratitude.

“We wanna thank all our influences when we were growing up. Starting our reggae band was kind of our dream and the only thing we wanted to do. And then one day people started coming to the shows,” Hemphill said, as quoted by BET. “To the founding fathers of reggae music into the island of Jamaica, you inspired us all. Give thanks. One love.”

Photo via @sojagram/Instagram

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