Acts decry racial injustice

Entertainment

Acts decry racial injustice

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

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JAMAICAN artistes are registering their protest and tapping into the civil unrest currently taking place in the United States.

Protesters are taking to the streets as a result of the May 25 death of an African-American man, George Floyd of Powderhorn, Minnesota, due to excessive force by the police. The demonstrations are across that country, as persons call for the lawman to be charged with murder, and to highlight racial inequalities.

In Jamaica, the entertainment fraternity has joined in solidarity with the protests. The latest two acts are Kabaka Pyramid and Billy Mystic, who stated their positions on social media.

In a post on Instagram, Kabaka Pyramid, who has a song titled Can't Breathe, the last words uttered by both Floyd and Eric Garner, another African-American man who died at the hands of the police in New York in 2014, noted that racism is a global phenomenon which must be tackled.

“If you say or do nothing, you are part of the problem. If you're in a position [of] privilege and say or do nothing, you are the problem. The system is not the problem; it was built like this and for this. The problem is the people who stand by and allow it to exist. This is a worldwide issue. How many more will have to be sacrificed before we wake up?” he posted.

Kabaka Pyramid is part of the current roots-revival movement. His songs include Prophecy, Africans Arise, and Kontraband featuring Damian Marley.

In a near five-minute video posted on his Instagram page, a clearly shaken Billy Mystic did not mince words as he described the situation.

“I just finished having a good cry. This morning mi wake up and somebody send me the alternate clip of the policeman dem with Floyd. I saw the previous one, but another one was posted this morning and it illustrate the total disregard for this man life. We always knew it. But this one hit me different when mi see it. Me is a peaceful man, mi don't promote violence. Mi feel say love is the answer to everything… love conquers all. But yuh see this morning when me watch that video in its entirety, tears come to mi eye and me start cry an' can't believe seh this really happen; that them police bwoy deh stand up deh, kneel dung inna him neck when he was of no threat to none of them and dem kneel dung inna di man neck until him dead. I knew that this was what happen all along, but when mi see it this morning mi couldn't withhold mi anger and mi tears,” he said.

“Please, America, do something. Listen to the cry of the black people. Listen to the cry of the American people, because when you look at the crowds it is not black people alone. Every race has come out together, everybody come together and marching to seh dem nuh want this. America mi a beg yuh please. You say you are a world leader, the number one country in the world and you can't give justice to a poor unarmed black man from your own police force,” he pleaded on social media.

Billy Mystic is lead singer for the Bull Bay-based band Mystic Revealers. The band first came to mainstream attention in 1985 with the ballad, Saw You Smiling. Their 1993 album, Jah Works, was a strong collection that had songs like Religion, That's Life and Remember Romeo.

Other acts who have added their voices to the call for the eradication of injustice include Koffee, Queen Ifrica, Tanya Stephens, Gramps Morgan and Spragga Benz.


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