What really are our intentions for the youth?
What is our social responsibility?
For a long time I’ve been withholding comment on the excrement that bombards the social media. Even limiting my interactions with social media to avoid the stain of this feces circulating in my psyche.
I am a lover of art in whatever form it may be. Whether it promotes wholesome communal interactions, highlight's the various atrocities which we have faced in the past, that we face in the present, or just be it the sheer positive expressions of an artist, I am all for it. Art lends itself to the interpretations and perspectives of the viewer and the artist alike. Therefore, all artists should be open to criticism as well as praise. I have the right to say if I don’t like a work of art; if it didn’t ‘capture me’. My opinion is just that!
So, recently I’ve been seeing Lion Rastafari Guide’s (LRG’s) new song release “My 45” pop up in my newsfeed on regular basis on Facebook. Truthfully, I watched it days ago and thought to myself “what is happening here??? … Is this song pro-gun violence / anti- gun violence?” Anyway, I watched and continued scrolling and afterward I read some of the comments. Yesterday, while scrolling, up pops “My 45” as a sponsored video in my newsfeed, it was also shared to me by a few of my Facebook friends. Again, I checked out the comments, but today what made me unable to keep scrolling was a comment that read, “more life, more music Rastafari”.
Simple as it may seem I said to myself, “ok… watch the video again” and I didn't and I still don’t see any sign of Rastafari being portrayed in this video expect for a portrait of His Majesty Haile Selassie that was affixed to the door where some 'mercs’ (Killers) exited and were about to commit some sort of criminal act . . In my mind and as Rastafari I felt a need to state what I thought was the obvious, and it is that this song is far removed from Rastafari livity.
So I commented on the video saying as much… “THIS IS NOT OF RASTAFARI LIVITY N THE TRUTH IS SELF EVIDENT ... PPL WILL C N KNOW ... UPLIFTMENT OF THE YOUTS IS RASTAFARI WAY NOT PROMOTION OF VIOLENCE B IT TO YA BROTHER / SISTA ... RASTAFARI PROMOTES A BETTER WAY DESPITE WHAT OUR CURRENT "REALITY" MAYBE ... STEP UP MY BROTHER U HAVE THE ATTENTION Of MANY YOUNG IMPRESSIONABLE MINDS.
No less than 10 minutes later up pops a chat from LRG saying, "You Rasta right ? ️judge yourself instead on pointed fingers / How long U been singing positive music / 1 song make ppl jump up to ️judge ️LRG / Well, I got thousands more".
He continued like this and went on about judging myself and not him. How I should look in the mirror and my opinion was irrelevant to him.
Now… seriously??? Wait a minute… people like dem just get real foolish! “Everybody don’t have to like wunna tings and wunna should be able to take criticism in all forms …both constructive and otherwise”!
The song name “My 45” and the hook has lines that say “man ah buss, man ah buss, man ah buss gun.” With lines stating “ ‘my’ 45 snub-nose Smith and Wesson nah stall, anyway (anywhere) me see dem me lick out dem gall ” LRG are you aware of the example that you are setting for the youths? My opinion now is that the song is condoning and promoting gun violence. The only thing that the audience is not told in this song is where to source said guns. Mind you, he sings in the second verse that he has lost friends to gun violence. He is “madd n badd” and has a number of impressionable boys in the video sitting down listening; while he glorifies gun violence. Do you want to buss your Smith and Wesson or do you want the youths to continue to “Never Listen when LRG dey talk to you”? Make up your mind.
Every argument nowadays upholding the mediocrity in our local reggae and dancehall arena is, “De Jamaicans does do it too”. Stupse! Positive lyrics are just that and they can be felt by anyone. We are fooling ourselves if we think that music doesn’t have an influence on individuals, especially teenagers and young adults.
Let me put things into perspective, when I was a teenager growing up in Haynesville and gravitating toward Rastafari, music was a major influence for me. Many days after school I would find myself in areas where said LRG would frequent, and he would be mostly chanting or singing some Sizzla song. Although in that time I wouldn't have rated him as an inspiration to me on my journey as a youngster looking into Rastafari, LRG or Jermaine as he was called was moving like a positive youth on his own journey. That is why when he kicked off I was one of his number one supporters. With songs like “Never Listen”, “Mr. Minister”, “Final Warrior” even “Ghetto Youts” and “Journey” I think you LRG have great ability. My question to you now is, will you continue to use your talent to represent and advocate the potential for positive change in our communities or are you now satisfied to be part of the mediocrity and ‘the hype’ a mere ‘follower’?
“Never Listen” speaks to the same gun violence but it approaches that subject matter from the perspective of a solution, condemning violence and saying to the youth there is a better way in the King of Kings. Maybe LRG forgot ‘bout the Rastafari Lion that is Guiding.
As far as I am concerned all artist and by extension people have a social responsibility. I don’t litter because I want to help protect the environment. What social responsibility do artists have? I know that it is not to flood the airwaves with low-frequency shouts through a microphone!
Another argument to justify the creation of this song and others like it will be that it is reality and that these things happening every day. Do you people listen to yourself?
Ok … so… you singing reality… domestic violence is a reality…. pedophilia is a reality… ok so that might not be your reality or his or her reality ... ok … so ... rise in food prices, unemployment that leads to crime, the need for better opportunities for young school leavers .... the need for job securities, better housing and health care. There are a plethora of pressing social issues ‘inna Barbados’ that need social commentary, but the music people are marketing to the poor under aged audiences who soak up this fecal matter like the Sahara desert would a drop of sweat from a brow .
When I was a teenager I liked a youngster called “Eagle”, who was shot and killed and I also knew a girl at school who was shot and died as a result - Gun violence has touched many of us. But I will not be propagating killing people just because my friend/ my brother was killed. Leave Rastafari out please! His Majesty Haile Selassie had to fight wars but circumstances must be weighed, and with wisdom and overstanding (understanding ) we will also know which battles should be fought like His Imperial Majesty and Ethiopia did against fascism. I think that Rastafari people and those promoting the livity need to go and read His Majesty’s speeches.
"The person, who ... realizes the needs of his country and has a proper sense of values and urgency will see what is needed, and will be able to fill it. He need not be separated from his country and its culture before being prepared to handle a position of responsibility." His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
The post tugged at his gangster-portrayed façade heart strings. As I said, I have known him a long time and I respect positivity - “open rebuke is always better than secret love” – and if my brother or sister needs a hand … “call me by my name – I am ready to roll.”
I would hate to be the one to lead any of our sons and daughters astray and I hope that everyone would think like that, especially those in positions to influence these impressionable minds, let us set a good example for them to follow … even though too many of us are too distracted to even care.