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Sadiki calls for unity

Observer senior writer

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

AS the streets of major cities in the United States are overrun by angry people protesting the May 25 death of George Floyd, singer Sadiki believes it is appropriate to release Unite, a song he wrote two years ago denouncing racial prejudice.

The self-produced single is scheduled for release on Friday. It is the third release from Blue Mountain Acoustic, Sadiki's 2018 album.

Unite hails black heroes who fought racism, including Jamaica's National Hero Paul Bogle and American civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, black Americans who, like Floyd, died controversially, are also cited in Unite, which is driven by tribal African drums.

According to Sadiki, “I was inspired by historical events from the black experience in America. The sad reality is that Unite could have been written 60 years ago and it would have been as relevant then as it is today. The fight for basic human rights and equality continues for blacks in America and by extension, the rest of the world.”

Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a white police officer put the weight of his knee on his neck for almost nine minutes, suffocating him while three other officers watched. The incident has been ruled a homicide and the officer in question charged with third-degree murder.

Floyd's horrific death has been sparking protests in major cities like Atlanta, New York and Chicago – where Sadiki lived for many years. Having experienced discrimination, he empathises with 'persons of colour' in the US.

“I've experienced blatant racism, bigotry and xenophobia in America many times. But this isn't just an American problem, this is a worldwide problem. I was not in the United States when I was first called the 'N' word by a white person. I've been followed in stores countless times; stood in stores waiting to be helped only to see the white customer who entered after me being greeted at the door upon entry; gone into banks to deposit cash only to see my bills being checked for authenticity while the white customer beside me made their deposit without incident,” he said. “What happened to George Floyd was a tragedy that should never have happened.”

Blue Mountain Acoustic was released in June 2018. Twelve of its 13 songs, including a cover of Peter Tosh's Pick Myself Up, are produced by Sadiki's Skinny Bwoy Records.