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Herbman hustlings

Autarchii talks ganja with ghetto youth

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The underground ganja industry has benefited countless Jamaican 'ghetto families' for decades. The plant's impact on inner-city youth is thus the focus of Cure My Pain , a documentary by singer Autarchii.

Tentatively scheduled for release in 2020, Cure My Pain contains interviews with youth in Autarchii's hometown of Christian Pen, Portmore, Southside in central Kingston and Rastafarian elders from the Inna De Yard acoustic group.

Since legislation for decriminalisation of ganja began in the Jamaican Senate in late 2015, Autarchii says there has been a change in attitude to its use in Jamaica. That was not the case when he was a boy.

“When I was a youth many people thought herbs made you insane, but modern research has shown that it is actually beneficial to society. Also, marijuana was scorned by majority of the bourgeoisie, now it is accepted by them with ease. However, I think their acceptance is profit-based,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Like his middle class counterparts, the ghetto 'weed man' sells ganja for a profit, but in most cases to take care of his family. This benevolence can be traced to the 1960s with the establishment of politically aligned garrison communities, but there are few cases of official documentation.

Coming from a working class background, Autarchii is aware of how the ghetto ganja industry operates. Yet, he had some eye-openers during Cure My Pain's production last year.

“I learnt that ganja is connected to the culture of the garrison. Many youths living in poverty use it to escape their harsh reality and it eases their mind from negative thoughts in most instances, as it is a plant that feeds off your vibration,” he reasoned, adding that until adequate resources are identified, there is no official release date or promotional campaign for Cure My Pain.

Based in New York, 25-year-old Autarchii (real name Jermaine Joseph) is executive producer and narrator for Cure My Pain, his first film project. It has been shown in Jamaica and Kenya, where he performed in September.

Cure My Pain is also the title of a song he released four years ago. Land of The Free, a jab at policies of the United States Government, and Ecological Integrity are some of his other songs.