Yasus Afari keeps it clean


Yasus Afari keeps it clean

Observer writer

Monday, March 30, 2020

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Hi Gene , Yasus Afari's song highlighting the benefits of proper hygiene, has a new lease on life.

“Di title of di song is a play on words. Naturally, we are poets, so wi want to be more creative an' go beyond di literal. So, we call it Hi Gene 'cause we never really did want people to get offended but [we] still [want to] send a message about cleanliness,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

The song, produced by Big Ship Records, was originally released in the early 2000s on his album, Yasus Afari and Friends.

“Because it so youth-friendly, it became very popular in di classroom. A teacher called me a few weeks back an' she ask me if I can send her di song. I sent it to her an' she asked if she could share it. I told her do what she want to do with it an' after dat mi see it a get big a England an' Canada, so mi start put it out to my network an' it start tek on a life of its own,” Yasus explained.

The dub poet said the inspiration for the ditty came from an incident while he operated a restaurant, House of Honour, on Burlington Avenue in Kingston.

“Wah 'picky-picky' head dread come beg inna di shop but he had such a strong stench an' even after him leave di scent was still there. We used air freshener to try get out di scent but as soon as it wore off di scent come back again. One of my workers bring mop and water an' bleach, an' use some liquid soap fi wipe out back di place, an' dat was when di scent left. Same time mi jus' run fi notepad an' start write,” he recalled.

Yasus Afari hopes that Hi Gene will be used to promote a clean lifestyle.

“Di message is jus' practise good, proper personal hygiene — no need for anyone to not keep demself good an' clean. From wi a grow up, we hear certain thing like 'spread yuh bed', whether a you first or last get up out of it. We have to take it from di basics; even if yuh caan bathe, wipe up yuhself, tidy up yuhself, brush yuh teeth. As Miss Lou [folklorist Louis Bennett-Coverly] sey: 'Tun yuh hand mek fashion'. There is no excuse,” he said.

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