Tony Roots takes a stand

Tony Roots takes a stand

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Monday, January 25, 2021

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LIKE Emmet Till's brutal death in 1955 and the beating of Rodney King 36 years later, the death of George Floyd will go down in history as a racial flashpoint.

Roots singer Tony Roots, incensed at the controversial killing of the black American last May in Minneapolis, wrote Let me Breathe, a song released on January 22. It features Luciano and Turbulence.

“The way in which he was killed sparked a whole movement towards the ongoing police ill treatment towards black men and black people on a whole. His death had a devastating effect on me as a black man, to see his life being...I mean…I really don't like talking about it,” a passionate Tony Roots told the Jamaica Observer.

He co-produced Let me Breathe with The Firehouse Crew who also backed him on the song. It is the follow-up to Digi Human, another track he cut with the veteran band.

Tony Roots said the global outrage that erupted following Floyd's death spurred him to action.

“A few days or so after the incident I was like tormented with lyrical ideas concerning the issue. Dusty Miller (Firehouse Crew drummer) had already introduced me to the riddim track and I just began to write and the lyrics flowed into a song, which I called Let Me Breathe,” he explained.

Floyd suffocated after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, after it was alleged he had been using counterfeit money. Three of Chauvin's colleagues stood by throughout the ordeal without intervening.

Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and the other officers charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Their trial begins in March.

Born Anthony Stultz, Tony Roots was born in Manchester where he was exposed to dancehall/roots-reggae through local sound systems like Destiny Outanational, which is usually credited for giving Garnet Silk and Tony Rebel their break.

His recording career took off while living in the United Kingdom, where he did several albums for independent companies including Jet Star Records.

For the past 15 years, Tony Roots has lived in Florida.


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