REGGAE NEWS - OTHERS
1980 reggae movie ‘Rockers’ still has cult following
Posted by November 11 2009 at 15:02
Category : Others
Reggae and a 30-year-old movie about its Jamaican culture has become popular with a new generation.
Inner Circle includes founding members Ian and Roger Lewis, who both appeared in the 1978 film “Rockers.”
“We didn’t know the reggae sounds was so popular there now, but the movie has become like an underground cult movie in Asia,” Ian Lewis told Lake Tahoe Action after arriving in the United States from the Far East last week. “Remember that ‘Rocky Horror (Picture) Show?’ It became like a cult. ‘Rockers’ movie is like that now in Vietnam and Singapore because younger kids, they like that culture.”
The movie, filmed in six weeks in 1977 at the Kingston ghetto Trenchtown and two weeks in Ocho Rios, is an authentic representation of the Jamaican culture during that era because all the characters portrayed themselves. The loosely written and improvised storyline is a reggae version of Robin Hood.
“When we made that movie everybody was laughing because nobody was no actor,” Lewis said. “It offered up our true vibe because everybody was playing ourselves. They wasn’t trying to be no actor. So that’s the best kind of acting, just be yourself.”
Zephyr Cove real-estate agent Richard Bolen was a “post-production producer” for “Rockers.” Bolen negotiated performance rights, located 26 master recordings and raised $350,000 to finish putting the film together. He also made all the domestic and international film and record distribution deals.
“We knew what we had was good,” Bolen said. “We didn’t know we were catching the roots reggae culture at its epitome.”
While there was extreme poverty, it was also seminal period for Jamaica, which influenced cultures throughout the world.
“It was tantamount to the ’60s generation,” Bolen said. “They thought they were changing the world for a better way.”
Just a few years after “Rockers” was filmed some of reggae’s pioneers were gone. Inner Circle’s Jacob Miller was killed in a 1980 car accident, Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981 and Peter Tosh was murdered in 1987.
“Bob Marley was a living god with them,” Bolen said. “He was significant here but so much more palpable in the Caribbean and Africa and Europe. He was a genuine world spokesman of human spirit and hope, and he knew it.”
Marley did not appear in “Rockers,” but his peers did. And while Bolen was in Jamaica dealing with people who claimed to be in the movie and demanded to be paid, Peter Tosh was on tour with the Rolling Stones, often appearing onstage with a “Rockers” T-shirt.
Although Bolen was surrounded by desperate and dirt-poor Kingston residents during a three-year period, he had two guides and never felt he was in danger.
“They were guides to how the ghetto worked,” Bolen said. “They did protect me but it was more of a vibratory thing. The general consensus was we were there doing Jah works.”
Lewis understands why a new generation appreciates “Rockers.”
“They see it’s real,” he said. “It’s natural. Some of the older folks might see the weed smoking and they’re not used to that. But what they see is a real culture, and the kids like that.
“It made me happy to see something that was done 20, 30 years ago has come full circle to fruition, that people appreciate it for what it is.”
source : tahoe.com
Find "Rockers OST" on Roots Archives overhere
Winston Riley invests $50m in studio, museum project
Posted by October 30 2009 at 19:17
Category : Others
Veteran producer, Winston Riley, is investing just over $50 million in a studio and museum he intends to open before year-end on Orange Street, downtown Kingston.
The building is being constructed on the same site that housed Riley's record label, Techniques Records, which he said was burnt down by arsonists last month. The new property, Riley told Splash, will be rebranded Techniques Records and Museum, which, in addition to producing songs, will be a depository showcasing the history of reggae and dancehall music.
"We're going to teach everybody the history of reggae music, from when it started, come right up," said Riley. "Nothing will be like this in Jamaica."
Riley, who was founder of rocksteady vocal group The Techniques before he became a successful producer, is funding the venture out of pocket. He said the aim is to turn the location into a tourist attraction and help re-establish downtown Kingston, the once vibrant commercial district which attracted many overseas vistors, as part of the island's tourism product.
"All type of persons come (to Jamaica) and ask questions - white, black, brown etc. We are going to have books, displays, graffiti etc outlining to them all the top musicians who built this thing," said Riley, adding that locals are being targeted as well.
The successful musician, who was born and bred in downtown Kingston, said he is unphased by the negative perception of the crime-torn district, dismissing suggestions that his multimillion dollar investment may be too risky for that part of town.
"This is my place," he said of downtown. "It can go back to where it once was...it starts here."
Indeed, a few decades ago, along the same road on Orange Street where Riley's new studio and museum is being built, used to be a corridor of record shops and studios. The 'beat-street', as it was known, was home to Studio One, Rockers International, Niney the Observer and Joe Gibbs to name a few.
Riley is originally from neigbouring West Street, where he formed The Techniques in 1962. The group left the Treasure Isle label in the late 1960's, after which Riley set up his own Techniques Label - originally based on West Street but relocated to Orange Street in 1991. He went on to become one of the most successful Jamaican producers of all time, producing a string of hits in the 1980's. The producer said it was always his intention to remain in downtown and invest in the area through reggae music.
"This is my dream," he said to Splash, while watching labourers do work on his new site.
By Julian Richardson
source : jamaicaobserver.com
Sonia Pottinger - a true Jamaican musical heroine
Posted by October 25 2009 at 16:11
Category : Others
On the heels of National Heroes Day, Jamaica's renowned female music producer, Sonia Pottinger, OD, triumphed in the Supreme Court, which ruled on Wednesday that she is the rightful owner of the famed Treasure Isle record catalogue.
The highest court of the land was convinced that this collection of recorded music, one of the richest in Jamaica's history, originally belonging to legendary producer Arthur Stanley 'Duke' Reid, was sold to her in 1975. The Honourable Justice E Brown dismissed other claims to the contrary, including that of Anthony Reid, son of the late Duke Reid, as well as that of other notable producers.
Given that legal victory, one cannot help but ponder just what message Pottinger was sending when she named the various labels she created as SEP (Sonia E Pottinger), Gayfeet, High Note and Glory Records.
The grand dame of Jamaican music who in February was honoured at the Excellence in Music, and Entertainment (EME) Awards, has been experiencing success since she opened her Tip Top Records Shop in 1965.
From that year, the widow of the late Lyndon Pottinger - himself a record producer - was the matriarch of the local music industry until the mid-1980s. During the rocksteady to early Reggae periods she produced music for some of reggae's finest artistes beginning with her release of Every Night by the duo, Joe White and Chuck.
For Yesterday's Notes, that marked the start of Sonia Pottinger's prolific era of hits that gave us gayfeet (for dancing) such as The Whip by the Ethiopians, Delano Stewart and the Melodians' Swing And Dine, as well as a slew of others from Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Marcia Griffiths, Phyllis Dillon, Culture, Bob Andy, U Roy, Big Youth and Toots and the Maytals.
Almost on the eve of her victory in the Supreme Court, this 'musical heroine' struck a high note when she landed an online distribution deal with the US-based Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA). The deal will see her musical treasures being distributed worldwide distribution through IODA's network of digital retail outlets, mobile retailers and subscription services.
This will pave the way for more glory to Sonia E Pottinger as under the three-tier agreement, IODA will distribute the songs through Notable Music which represents her own High Note and Treasure Isle Records.
As early as next year, Notable Music will re-release her entire catalogue of Tip Top reggae music. What a glorious reward for Jamaica's first female record producer.
source : jamaicaobserver.com
Reggae's future worries pioneer
Posted by July 11 2009 at 20:22
Category : Others
Burning Spear is fired up about the direction of reggae.
The 61-year-old Jamaican, born Winston Rodney, is a pioneer of the genre. He was a contemporary of Bob Marley, recorded for the famed Studio One label and influenced the entire island with his political and spiritual music.
He is still writing and recording as he always has, but is disturbed about where reggae is heading. Young performers are changing its vibe from an organic music of the people to something more artificial, he says.
"The music has changed," Rodney says. "There's a different flavour, taste and type of arrangement. There's less musicians playing their instruments; it's a programming thing now. The kids are singing off key. The music needs direction."
The dreadlocked Rastafarian believes the government should be doing more to support and nurture the music so strongly associated with the country of 2.8 million people. Rodney would like to see the minister of culture and heritage establish a national recording studio to teach people the history of the music and allow them to record in the traditional way with live musicians.
"I think it needs protection, a voice to protect the music and musicians," Rodney says over the phone from his Long Island home, where he spends half the year. "We need more traditional reggae -- the youth of today are not looking in that direction and not going with that. We need a stronger voice. I think a lot of people in Jamaica don't know the strength of this music and what the music has done for people all over the world."
He's doing his part.
Since his first recordings in 1966 to his latest Grammy-winning release, last year's Jah is Real, Rodney has been spreading his personal and political message all over the world. He and his eight-piece band make their first visit to Winnipeg tonight when he performs a mainstage set at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
"I'm still going better than a Duracell battery," he says with a laugh.
Rodney got his start in 1966 when Marley, who was from the same home town of St. Ann's Bay, told the budding musician and his partner Rupert Willington to try their luck in Kingston at Studio One where many of the island's most notable reggae musicians, including Marley and the Wailers, got their start.
Rodney took the advice and the pair was signed to the label as Burning Spear. Over the next decade Burning Spear -- who expanded to a trio with the addition of Delroy Hinds -- recorded for Studio One before hooking up with producer Jack Ruby, who helped the group achieve their greatest success up to that point with the 1975 album, Marcus Garvey. The record made the group stars in their home country and established their political and spiritual credentials.
He never got a chance to record with Marley before his friend died in 1981, something Rodney believes would have happened naturally had the legend lived.
"I know if Bob was around at this point we would have done something together," he says. "Bob and I were good buddies. We used to smoke and eat lunch by the studio. We'd talk and reason. Bob was a good man, a people person. There was a lot of inspiration coming off Bob."
Like Marley, Rodney considers himself an artist of the people, for the people.
"If the artist isn't seeing himself that way then you're doing something wrong," he says. "My outspoken beliefs have been embraced, but I don't consider myself an activist. Maybe people consider me as that, but it's not anything outrageous or bad I can't live with."
These days Rodney is continuing to spread his own inspiring words, which he records whenever the mood strikes. He is getting ready to release a 40th anniversary DVD with old footage and interviews.
By Rob Williams
source : Winnipeg Free Press
Music producer Warwick Lyn dies
Posted by May 18 2009 at 17:59
Category : Others
Warwick Lyn, the music producer who helped shape some of Toots and the Maytals' finest work, died May 10 in Miami, Florida, from a cancer-related illness. He was 64 years old.
Lyn's older brother, Ferdinand Lyn, told The Gleaner his sibling had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. He also suffered from two tumours in his spinal region and had been wheelchair-bound.
Lyn is scheduled to be buried today at Louis Roman Catholic Church in Pinecrest, Florida.
The fifth of eight children born in Kingston to a Chinese-Jamaican family, Lyn first came to prominence in Manning Cup football, playing for St George's College and Jamaica College. In the 1960s, he got involved in the music business, working as a sound engineer and A&R (Artiste and Repertoire) man for producer Leslie Kong's Beverley's Records.
Kong was the first person to record Bob Marley (1962's Judge Not) and assembled a formidable team of artistes during the mid-1960s. They included Desmond Dekker and the Aces and Toots and the Maytals.
When Kong died from a heart attack in 1971, Lyn became Toots and the Maytals' manager and is credited as co-producer for two of the group's best albums, 1973's Funky Kingston and Reggae Got Soul, which was released three years later.
For most of the 1970s, Lyn worked with Tommy Cowan at Talent Corporation.
They managed and produced acts like The Melodians, Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus, Zap Pow, Inner Circle and Junior Tucker.
"One thing people will always remember about Warwick, he was a calm person. You never saw him ruffled," said Cowan.
Lyn immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s where he operated a painting business. He and his wife, 1973 Miss Jamaica, Patsy Yuen, also ran the Miss Jamaica Miami beauty pageant.
source : jamaica-gleaner
The Definition Of Reggae
Posted by March 27 2009 at 16:19
Category : Others
Through out the years of the musical genres existence, its ideological definition has been a platform for debate. Various intellectual and institutionalized impressions have been grafted in an effort to refine the clarity of this task; however each one seemingly takes to its own tangent of identity.
It is as though the blend to define is either too diluted, or over concentrated.
How then can we define the musical structure of this art form without writing an entire book?
Firstly, we have to truly understand and appreciate the development of the music beyond the mainstream contemporaries such as Bob Marley, and Peter Tosh and the basic terminology of “Reggae”. No disrespect intended, but we have to peel away the layers of the onion to reveal its core.
It is the core that defines the music.
Reggae is not as many may think. A fusion of externalized influences, interpreted, and blended to fit our own cultural experience. This fact may be argued, evident by the past and present trend, but this experience happens to all musical art forms as it tries to find a place outside of its own social habitat.
Hiphop/Rap fused with classical, latin, and slews of 60’s and 70’s groove samples. Jazz eventually fused with Blues, R&B, Doowoop etc. and let us not forget the latest and greatest example, reggaeton. Yet the purist fans of every musical genre enjoy the fused experience. Some stay for the ride, while others retreat to purity, like a tribe splitting up, sub-genres are born.
As Yuppies become boomers, and Generation X gave birth to Generation Next each generation holds onto their own musical classification. Their rhythmical identity, a subliminal time machine that when needed creates some kind of nostalgic, physiological comfort zone, which for every generation is incomparable.
Yuppies, now boomers, still think Jimmy Riley is the biggest thing since slice bread. But Generation Next thinks Tarrus Riley is the man of all times. And when Generation Next gives birth to Generation Y(any child born 2000+), Tarrus will still be the biggest thing for our generation.
To each his own, and that’s a fact.
In the early days, as far back as the 1920’s, reggae was unnamed. It had no true social identity in Jamaican culture. It was just called, “Rasta music”, or blackheart chant, that these, so called “madmen” would chant and beat whilst they burned bonfires to cover the scent of the marijuana they consumed. The few Sadhu Indians that’s came to Jamaica in the late 1880’s, brought with them not only weed seeds, but the Nazarene vow, and word of mouth updates of the middle east and its spiritual practices.
This influx of information up stirred the yearning few, who crudely interpreted this new knowledge to create a social ideology that other “sufferers” as themselves could identify with. Once the Leonard Howell saga took place in the 30’s, it not only further isolated these outcast, but it fevered their unstated mission of creating a social identity for the people, primarily the black indentured laborers and subsistence sufferers who could recognize, and sympathize with their cause. This was helped heavily by the illiteracy rate amongst the lower class individuals within Jamaica and as such the art of “word of mouth” and rhythmical rhymes were all simple ways used to pass stories, history and lessons of life to the next generation.
Reggae embraced this mantra from its conception quite incidentally, and once it was recognized, it became the steam that kept the fledgling art form growing until its upsurge, during the Garveyian Era that not only brought the Selassian prophecy, but with it the ideology of black heritage which was soon blended into this infantile movement aptly name “Rastafari”.
As the movement grew, so did the music, and by the 1940’s the term Nyabinghi was attached to the art form, a crude reference to the Nyabinghi drum chants, somewhat like the “talking drums” of the North American Indians, supposedly used by secret Ethiopian warriors to communicate during the 1935 Italian invasion. This would later be redefined (or refined from your point of view) by the Bobo Tribe in the latter 1960’s.
The Coral Garden drama in the early 60’s only helped to feed the fire that simmered this musical cauldron, creating a social platform in an instance for the Rastafarian movement, by giving them a very evident mission. To uplift the people, and to give them a sense of heritage, and a spiritual purpose with which they could truly identify.
The Nyabinghi sound was experimented with, and soon a new soundscape emerged. The heavy horn based influences of up-tempo Jazz, and the big band sound streaming across the radios in Jamaica during the mid to late 60’s, gave birth to “Ska” or a crude definition of the “skat”, cool cat horn driven up-tempo jazz of the 50’s/60’s that in itself, gave way to Rock.
Once the R&B era of the early to mid 60’s rolled around, the experimentation spawned rocksteady. But the greatest catalyst for the music’s rapid evolution would only arrive once H.I.M Haile Selassie , Emperor Of Ethiopia, visited Jamaica in the late 60’s. The “in the flesh” evidence that the black dynasty was no myth exploded the movement to such a level, it became a cause for concern once it reached the confines of middle and upper class Jamaica in the late 60’s.The existing social strata within the island forced an ideological segregation within the movement, the two most popular being the Bobo and the 12 tribe.
This split contrast in “Rasta” ideology was deeply ingrained in the music which emitted from each tribe. The puritan Nyabinghi sound was retained somewhat, by the Bobo along with the chanting principle. The 12 tribe on the other hand created a slow, smooth folk sound with thought provoking limericks and acoustic guitar accompaniment, occasionally accentuated with a Nyabinghi derivative.
Unlike Nyabinghi where the drum was the center of the soundscape, the 12 tribe soundscape was centered on the acoustic guitar. It is this sound that became the trademark of the greats we know today. However it was not until Bob Marley and the Gang met Chris Blackwell, did it obtain the “Rock and Roll” accents which commercialized the music on an international level.
Since then reggae has evolved, surely, spawning many sub-genres, fusions and soundscapes from its womb, the latest being Reggaeton. Yet despite all the various children that have been derived from Reggae it has not lost its core identity. We the listeners have just forgotten it.
Reggae in its true essence is not only an art form. But it is the cultural epitaph of the Jamaican people; It the indigenous identity of a proud nation which has influenced millions worldwide. It is the voice of its people and as this generation redefines the sound, reggae at its core will always be the music of reason.
Check the connections here.
The Reggae New Agency
source : riddimjamaica.net
Jamaican film maker Dickie Jobson (Countryman) has passed away
Posted by December 27 2008 at 16:28
Category : Others
Jamaican film maker, Dickie Jobson, known for the 1970s feature film Countryman, has passed away.
Jobson, according to officials of the Reggae Film Festival, passed away on Christmas Eve.
In Countryman, Jobson told the tale of an American young woman who crash-lands her plane in Jamaica. A local named Countryman rescues her and leads her away from the authorities, who have fabricated a story about the plane, involving drug and arms smuggling by the CIA, in order to gain popularity in an upcoming election.
The Jamaica Film Academy had honored Jobson at the February 2008 staging of the first Reggae Film Festival and screened his 1970s feature film
Countryman in one of its rare Jamaican showings.
Jobson was a friend and business associate of film makers Perry Henzell and Chris Blackwell. As part of the Island Jamaica film and music team, he was associated with every film project of that prolific organization, and assisted many overseas film production companies to interact with Jamaica.
source : caribbeanworldnews.com
Jamaican music has passed its golden age, says Chris Blackwell
Posted by December 07 2008 at 01:16
Category : Others
Legendary business mogul and one of the most successful independent entrepreneurs in pop music history, Chris Blackwell, says the golden age of Jamaican music, has passed.
Blackwell's assessment was in response to questions after sharing his experiences as a stalwart record producer and investor on the Mayberry Monthly Forum on Investment at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Wednesday.
The last of such fora for the year, the format took the form of relaxed living-room conversation on the podium with veteran broadcaster Fae Ellington. But in respect to his reflection on Jamaican music, a causal-looking Blackwell, sporting a beach shirt and a pair of jeans, made his most profound statement during the question-and-answer segment. When asked for his perspective on today's music by a member of the audience at the well attended event, the shy, soft-spoken guru of the local music industry declared, "I believe that the golden age of Jamaican music is definitely behind us, I really do believe that."
"Because," he continued, "there was such a wealth of incredible music that came out of Jamaica during the '60s right through to the '80s, in the '60s and '70s particularly. Just incredible music, an unbelievable amount of music."
Speaking as someone with the most intimate knowledge of contemporary Jamaican music, Chris Blackwell added. "I just want to stop for one second to point out, y'know, only England and America have produced so consistently hit music for such a long period of time. No other country has done it. Brazil had some great music for two, three, four years and then disappeared. Jamaica, not only has it had incredible music, it also invented so much.... I just want to point this out to make people realise what is what."
The founder for Island Records didn't stop there, but went on to provide example of the knowledge base from which he made his assertion. "Jamaica is where the whole use of electronics....when I said the use of electronics, people used to use it very gently, Jamaicans just lapped it up," he said to great amusement.
In his reference to electronic music, Blackwell explained that he was really talking about the sound effects of dub music. "All this kind of sound which was completely unheard of, it never happened anywhere else. It started here, and now you are hearing it all over the world. Now it is generally known as dub music. Every country in the world is doing dub music now. The best dub music now is coming out of India, incredible dub music."
He also reminded his audience, mainly comprising financiers, that everybody is now trying to emulate what was done in Jamaica, started off by such pioneers as U Roy and others, and how this trend led to the creation of what is today known as rap music.
Having said all of the above, Blackwell in a more pointed response to the question concluded: "So now back to your question, what do I think of dancehall. I like some of it. And then I don't like some of it. I love music. I love the musicianship. But also in popular music is attitude.... I think dancehall, the attitude is overriding the music. But some of the records. I love it when they have some kind of musical rift or some element to it...."
Next year will make 50 years since the 71-year-old London born Blackwell has been involved in reggae music. With an initial investment of £1,000, he formed a record company in 1959, which has been instrumental in the development of many the giants in the music from home and aboard. The man with a golden eye for talent has over the years done successful projects with the likes of Laurel Airtken, Millie Small (whom he said celebrated her 61st birthday on October 6), Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, Third World, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear, Sly and Robbie, Grace Jones, The Spencer Davis Group, Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Angelique Kidjo, and the list continues.
He was also involved with few flicks like Dr No, The Harder They Come and Third World Cop.
source : jamaicaobserver.com
Rastafari 78th anniversary and its impact on reggae
Posted by November 02 2008 at 09:21
Category : Others
Today marks the 78th anniversary of the divine concept Rastafari. It was on Sunday, November 2, 1930, His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I, was crowned King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Elect of God, alongside his wife, Empress Menen. The unique coronation was the first time in history a king and his wife were crowned at the same time, and it gave birth to the Rastafari Movement.
The movement came to light in the community of Pinnacle on the outskirts of Spanish Town, St Catherine, home of the first Rastafarian Leonard Howell who was originally from Redland, Clarendon. The Rastafari worldview, despite being rejected and scorned by mainstream Jamaican society at that time, rapidly impacted on the downtrodden, spreading to the slums of Kingston and neighbouring parish of St Thomas, where Howell, aka The Gong (Bob Marley adaptation for his record company and studio), once lived.
The relationship between Rastafari and reggae is a special one indeed. Both feed from each other, to the point where there was a time when people abroad thought that every reggae artiste was a ganja-smoking, dreadlock-wearing rasta, particularly because members of the Rastafari faith do not evangelise in the way conventional religions do.
Reggae music was the main vehicle to express the Rastafari way of life, and the stage was the pulpit. So the shows became pseudocrusades, and artistes such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Burning Spear, Culture, Black Uhuru, Big Youth, Abyssinians, Fredlocks, Israel Vibration, Jacob Miller, Augustos Pablo, Dennis Brown, I Kong (remember him?), Keith Hudson, Willie Williams, Ijahman Levi, Hugh Mandell, Junior Reid, Freddie McGregor were some of the original crusaders.
Among a later breed of roots rock reggae stalwarts were Garnett Silk, Luciano, Tony Rebel, Capleton, Buju Banton, Sizzla Kalonjie and Spragga Benz, and of more recent vintage are I-Wayne, Queen Ifrica, Etana, Tarrus Riley, Warrior King, and Chuck Fenda, among others.
But the Rastafari contribution to music in Jamaica did not start with reggae. It began with the Nyahbinghi elders, with their style of drumming and chanting and from that emerged the Folks Brothers who gave us Oh Carolina, which in time provided Shaggy with his first international hit.
As far as Jamaican music goes, in all phases of the Rastafari involvement one thing remains constant - the message. The message of a holistic way of life, of mental, physical and spiritual upliftment. A message of equal rights and justice. A message of one love. This message has resonated with people of all races, around the world.
Both Rastafari and reggae were once frowned upon by the wider society. But as the greatest reggae artiste of all time, Bob Marley, told us "Reggae music will rise and rise until it finds it rightful place."
Today, as the Rastafari Community celebrates its 78th anniversary (on a Sunday, as it was in the beginning), all that is left to say is, Jah Lives.
source : jamaicaobserver.com
Remembering Old Marcus Garvey
Posted by August 23 2008 at 17:54
Category : Others
Throughout the course of history, no man has ever set out to become an icon. Simply, he tries to satisfy his own self need for actualization of some task, some mission that he feels truly passionate about, and in seeking an outcome, inspires the world.
Marcus Garvey was such as person.
Born to a poor Jamaican family, he identified from his youth that education was a vital ingredient to “self upliftment”. By his early years he acquired work as a printers apprentice and eagerly absorbed all the reading material that was available in the company’s library. This aptitude helped Garvey attain in his early adulthood a managerial position at the same company. During this stint, Garvey’s knowledge of “Maafa” and the early teachings of Pan-Africanism sunk in and took its own reflection in his social landscape; Marcus subconsciously took onto himself the role of “Protector”, “Educator of the disadvantage” as per the title granted unto him during the wage disputes at the Printing House where he garnered this knowledge.
He eventually lost his job after successful negotiations.
But this did not deter Garvey; it only empowered him as he recognized the strength and possibility of an intellectual revolution amongst people of his kind. This led him to ask the question “If I, then can how many?”. It was the fuel that flamed the Garveyian Era.
Exemplifying the role of a missionary, Garvey left his homeland to experience the social livelihood of the world outside of Jamaica circa 1910. During this journey he entered Panama, The “Miami” of the era and eventually crossed the Central American Pan Handle into South America. Along his journey he tried to use his skill as a printer, and moonshine “journalist”. His various short run publications earned him the reputation of “Radicalist”, equivalent to “terrorist” of these times.
After one too many evictions and a stint of social isolation, Garvey decided to pack up and visit his sister in England. While there, he met an Ethiopian Muslim, named Duse Mohammed Ali, whose publication “The African Times & Oriental Review” exposed Garvey not only to his Motherland, but also to the current social events in Africa.
This new enlightment thrilled Garvey, finally he was able to provide Jamaican People with credible information on what was Happening in Africa !!. Maybe this would awaken the people!
Garvey set home to Jamaica. With the works of Booker T Washington and W.E.B Dubios so deeply ingrained in young Garvey,s mind, it inspired him to write a letter to Booker T Washington, who replied, inviting him to America.
History it seems is nothing but a series of incidents.
By the time Garvey arrived in New York it was on the cusp of World War I. Black America it seemed, was ripe and ready for the injection of Garvey’s much honed “train of thought” and soon found a voice among impoverished urban Black Americans.
This public support gave Garvey the encouragement to start his United Negro Improvement Association, the UNIA. Marcus Garvey probably thought that this was his moment of self-actualization. He had left his homeland, educated himself and had become a social influence in a faraway country. For a St. Ann country boy that was it, he had made it. But History was not finished with him yet.
In 1920, two years after the idea bore fruit, the UNIA had hundreds of chapters spread throughout the US and the World. Always an aspiring journalist Garvey seized the opportunity to fulfill this need, and began publishing “The Negro World” which eventually expanded to include the French and Spanish speaking Chapters of his organization, reaching nearly 55,000 readers worldwide.
Marcus Garvey was now, the Black Superstar of his time. The popularity propelled his self confidence, and he took onto himself the core mantra of “Post Maafa” or the ultimate goal of Pan-Africanism… the Back To Africa Movement.
This mission ultimately changed the reflection of Marcus Garvey in the eye of the “Social Gate Keepers.” Such as the F.B.I whose head of operations, the “flamboyant” J. Edgar Hoover, decided that Garvey was trying to cause “massive social disruption” by uprooting the core workforce of the American society.
Who would wash the dishes if all the dishwashers were in Africa?
The relentless Bureau eventually forced Garvey’s publication “The Negro World” distribution system into array, by capturing papers routed to major chapters and hubs. Garvey tried to use a little ingenuity to create a bypass and this was what the F.B.I used to charge him for mail fraud in 1923.
For the next fours years Garvey and the operations of the UNIA were disrupted by various court appearances, fines and jail terms. A strategic move that worked for the F.B.I and when Garvey finally seceded and negotiated voluntary deportation in 1927, he was immediately exiled from the US States.
He returned to Jamaica, with great expectations forming his own political party which had minimal success, and he had no warm welcome from his local branch of the UNIA.
The years that followed proved no easy challenge for Garvey. The “fanatical” dread heads”, had supposedly misinterpreted his dissemination of some African current affairs news, taken it as gospel, and founded a new religion naming him “Chief Disciple”. Garvey tried to reject this premise many a times and wrote one deafening article against Selassie in a local publication of the “The Negro World” that he was almost banished again by his public.
Tired and rattled by various health problems mostly related to stress and depression, Garvey moved to England under advice from his sister in 1935. There he found a spurt of enthusiasm, even traveling one again, his most final destination being Canada, where he founded The School of African Philosophy.
Marcus was a man ahead of his time. His success was limited in his era but nearly seventy years after his death, the stone that this builder refused, has become the cornerstone of his philosophy so much it has created its own voice of sound, namely reggae music.
And if for only this, we must, remember old Marcus Garvey……..
source : riddimjamaica.net