“Poverty Is Created By Man, Not By God”- Anthony B

Anthony B hates poverty

Anthony B: One of the versatile Jamaican musicians known for his quest for justice and equal rights

“Poverty, talking about suffering, I don’t even have words to explain it because this is the way we live. It is part of our lives that we never try to eliminate it.” – Anthony B.

Anthony Keith Blair, popularly known as Anthony B, is one of Jamaican globetrotting versatile musicians and member of the Rastafari faith.

Usually on stage in African attire depicting his roots, and a staff in his hand, the energetic- reverb musician’s lyric reflects on poverty, injustice, and crime, giving hope and consolation to the downtrodden masses.

Once in Antwerp, Belgium, after entertaining the massive spectators at the venue ‘Petrol,’ I took the opportunity to talk to Anthony B, about his life and music.

“Poverty, talking about suffering, I don’t even have words to explain it, because this is the way we live. It is part of our lives that we never try to eliminate it. We always have to remember our roots, as Burning Spear said. For me, there is too much suffering in the world. People live rich, while others live in poverty, yet no one cares. This was created by a man, not God. This is what ‘Mr. Heartless’ is about,” says Anthony B.

You were born Anthony Keith Blair. Did changing your name to Anthony B, enhance your success as a musician?

Not really but growing up in music in Jamaica as an artist, you need to find a name for yourself. I’m oriented African with an English name, so I made it Anthony B.

Anthony B speaks about his experience in Gambia

I have been to Senegal and Gambia. First and foremost, the reality as an African, I respect my culture. There was an incidence during my visit to Gambia as my visa expired the same day I was leaving.

I was at the airport when I was told the Gambia police were looking for me to be deported to Jamaica. It was a silly thing to know that you have been to the continent of your origin, but haven’t enough days to see the people. All these problems were created by political leaders.

If you want a visa to the Gambia you have to go to England first. They have to remove all these political barriers. I remember a friend from Accra, Ghana, who was deported from Germany to Jamaica because he claimed to be Jamaican.

He doesn’t know anyone in Jamaica. Luckily he had my number. He had to call me to help him because we are all Africans.

Versatile Jamaican reggae star Anthony B

Joel Savage speaks to Anthony B

Do you want to know more about other reggae stars, including Anthony B, whose conscious and mythical music has stolen the heart of music lovers around the globe? Get a copy of ‘The Passion Of Reggae And African Music,’ available at https://www.amazon.com/Passion-Reggae-African-Music-ebook/dp/B013L9A1JQ

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How Lucky Dube’s Music Reflects On The Existence Of Today’s Racially Violent World

Lucky Dube lost his life in a 'Crazy World' a song he sang before his death

‘Crazy World’ : Lucky Dube’s music is rapidly revealing violence and killings in today’s racially violent world

What Sort Of World Are We Inviting Our Children Into?

“Everywhere in the world, people are fighting for freedom, nobody knows what is right, nobody knows what is wrong. The black man says it’s the white man, the white man says it’s the black man. Indians say it’s the coloreds, coloreds say it’s everyone,” sings South African reggae legend, Lucky Dube, in a racial tension song called ‘War and Crime.’

This is a perfect song that lyrics describe the events of today’s racial chaotic world in Europe and America. The world is increasingly becoming so dangerous that we need to ask ourselves: What sort of world are we inviting our children into? And what sort of future are we building for them in this racially bitter society?

Years after slavery, the relationship between African-Americans and Americans remain very poor. After the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, in regards to Rodney King, many thought things will improve but recent shootings of police officers to death, evidently reveals that there isn’t any imminent peace near between African-Americans and Americans. “How long is this gonna last, cause we’ve come so far so fast,”- asked Lucky Dube, the South African reggae legend.

Lucky Dube continued “I’ m not saying this because I’m a coward, but I’m thinking of the lives that we lose every time we fight. Killing innocent people, women and children yeah,” reflecting on last week’s events of the senseless massacre of innocent people in Nice, France, as a truck plowed through Bastille Day crowd, killing 84 people, including children.

Bastille Day crowd killings in Nice, France

Nice, France, as a truck plowed through Bastille Day crowd, killing 84 people, including children. Two young women laying flowers for the victims.

Children are usually caught up in racially motivated crimes and violence, yet they are not responsible for any of them. But many times influenced by the crimes surrounding them and what they watch on the television, they grow up to be racists and criminals. Actually, a child is never born a racist, adults, and harsh environmental experience influenced them.

World leaders, schools, and parents have a huge task  to create a happy and safe environment for our children: “We should bury down apartheid, racism, discrimination and fight down war and crime,” Lucky Dube advised.

Brief Overview Of The Life And Poetic Music Of Linton Kwesi Johnson

Poetic musician LKJ

Linton Kwesi Johnson: Internationally bestselling artist, reggae poet, and activist

Linton Kwesi Johnson is one of the most internationally renowned Jamaican artists whose work is expressed in a “dub poetry” form using the patois of the Jamaican dialect.

His message, ideology and philosophy are similar to that of Mutabaruka. The only difference is, as a dub poet, although Rasta is important to him on the level of a cultural force that broadened and opened the consciousness to African heritage and African ancestry, he is not a Rastafarian.

Born on 24 August 1952 in Chapelton, Jamaica, Johnson came to London at the age of 11 to live with his mother. Like most Jamaican artists he holds on fast to his African culture. His middle name “Kwesi” broadly establishes his identity as someone holding on to the roots of his African origin. The name comes from the Western part of Africa. For example in Ghana, the Akans and the Fantis named male babies born on Sundays as “Kwesi” and females as “Esi” because Sunday is called”Kwesidah”

In England, LKJ went to school at Tulse Hill secondary school, Goldsmith’s College and the University of London. He joined the Black Panthers while still at school. “That’s where I learnt my politics and about my history and culture. That is where I discovered black literature, particularly the work of W.E. B. Dubois, the Afro-American who inspired me to write poetry”, said LKJ.

In 1977, he was awarded the C-Day Lewis Fellowship, becoming the writer-in-residence and working as the Library Resources and Education officer at Keskidee Centre, the first home of black theatre and art. As a poet, his first collection of poetry “Voice of the Living and Dead” and “Dread Beats an’ Blood” were published by the Race Today Review and later the same year, a documentary film on “Dread Beat an’ Blood” was made. In 1980, Race Today Review published his third book “Inglan is a Bitch”.

“If Association of Chief Police Officers, has come out and admitted that, racism is institutionalised within the police force, that the black nurses within the health service for years have gotten a raw deal. When one thinks of all these things, yeah, Inglan is a Bitch,” said LKJ.

As an artist LKJ travelled extensively from Japan to South Africa and from Europe to Brazil. His poetry songs are amongst the top selling Reggae albums in the world and his works have been translated into Italian and German.

His live concert, recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London 1985, was nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2004, his own recording company were delighted to launch the first ever DVD of an LKJ concert. He has been in the music business as a recording artist for over twenty-five years.

Lucky Dube: The Pride Of Africa’s Transcendent Reggae Star

Lucky Dube recorded 22 classic albums

Lucky Dube: The South African born reggae star was one of the world’s greatest musicians

Lucky Dube’s music was passionate, poetic and emotionally-rich

Ask any musician what it takes to be a successful musician to gain international status, believe me, the story you may hear might discourage you if wish to become a successful musician because music is one of the hardest industries to achieve instant success.

Many people who want to be musician think that the only things you need to get prepared is a set of drums and composition of few songs to be on the map of world music. That’s not the case. You can purchase the most expensive set of drums in the world but you’ll fail miserably and your dreams may be shattered.

You can have a good voice and be very good on the piano or guitar but if your music is not accepted by the audience, there wouldn’t be any room in your life for success. This is what has happened to many aspiring musicians to quit from the music business for good.

To be a proper musician you must be serious, ready to embrace all the disappointments, headaches, and setbacks involved in music to succeed else you’ll fail. That’s exactly what Lucky Dube did, but let’s ask, do names have an impact on people?

After many fruitless attempts to have a child, the mother successful had one and she named him Lucky, unknowing that name Lucky, was about to be one of the famous names within the music industry, for his success to overflow its banks. Lucky Dube was probably the most famous African reggae star the world has ever produced known throughout the whole world.

Jamaica could boast of great musicians such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Barrington Levi, Jimmy Cliff, Beres Hammond, Cocoa Tea, Freddie McGregor, Anthony Be, Bushman etc, but Africa has also great musicians in the reggae field, such as Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Ras Kimona, Majek Fashek and Lucky Dube.

Lucky was among one of the world’s successful reggae stars. He was a master of the trade. Many do ask how his fame and popularity spread so fast? The answer is simple and logical. He played the type of music no one could refuse. His music was passionate, poetic and emotionally-rich.

Get Rid Of The Passion Of The Love For Mobile Phones And Dangers We Often Ignore For Good

Expensive mobile phone

Luxury mobile phones often give us worries when they get missing

As the world, environment, life, and society rapidly change the creation of technology also changes, bombarding us with amenities of luxury and comfort of life in the fields of science, industrial arts, engineering, and electronics.

The humpback television many are using is gradually fading away giving room to what is now known as flat screens. Above all, to make communication easier, facilitate and enhance the business world, mobile or cell phones have become a very important part of our daily lives today.

In the city, at airports, shopping centers, and mobile phone shops, the sight of beautifully designed multi-brands of phones act like a powerful magnet pulling us into the shops either to feed our curiosity or forced us to change our phones, even though you are using one of the best phones in the world.

In today’s society, it is very difficult to live without a cell phone as most of our work is done using cell phones. Cell phones have made life simple, traveling and  communication in business easier, through text messages, browsing the internet, reading the weather and e-mail.

However, it seems our passion many times takes possession of our heart and steals our mind and concentration. Many often ignore the idiom ‘Cut your coat according to your cloth.’ They often buy expensive cell phones. Just imagine losing a phone that costs 850 between 1500 Euros. This can give you sleepless nights for over a month.

Due to often stealing and loss of cell phones new security measures are being introduced to trace a lost cell phones but not every lost phone is recovered because some are experts in decoding and changing built in security codes for the ‘new owner.’

Another sad part of the passion of cell phones is losing concentration when engaged. Not too long in Antwerp, a woman whose mobile phone has stolen her concentration was killed by a passing tram. This could easily be avoided. Many carelessly ignore the dangers surrounding them when actively engaged.

You often see them, texting and driving at the same time. I have seen many especially, teen girls on bicycle texting. The birth of technology doesn’t only help to make life easier and beautiful but also demands safety and carefulness to enjoy them for a very long time.

The Throbbing Reggae World Of Aswad

British reggae group Aswad

The dynamic reggae group Aswad

Formed around 1974 in London, the group Aswad was one of many bands that emerged during the fertile period in British reggae music. Deriving its name from the Arabic word for “black,”the group initially performed with five members. In addition to mainstay Angus “Drummie Zeb”Gaye on drums and vocals, the band included George “Ras Levi” Oban, Courtney Hemmings, Donald “Benjamin” Griffiths, and Brinsley “Dan” Forde on lead vocals.

Forde was perhaps the best-known of the members at the time of the band’s formation. As a child actor, he had appeared in several British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programs. Over the years, the group’s lineup would change several times. By the 1990’s, Aswad was a trio consisting of Gaye and Forde, joined by Tony Gad after 1980 on bass. In the late 1990’s, however, Forde also left the band, and Aswad carried on as a duo.

After 25 years and two dozen albums, Britain-based Aswad has become of one reggae’s institutions. Not only has the band outlasted almost every other band to emerge from the vibrant London reggae scene of the 1970’s, it has also survived numerous personnel changes over the years. The group even avoided the pitfalls of succumbing to its own success; after securing a number one single, Aswad continued to develop its style regardless of its presence on the charts.

Aswad band

Aswad has played all around the world including Belgium: Photo with Joel Savage

Known for its energetic live shows, the band has also sustained its popularity with an extensive tour schedule in Europe, Japan, and the Americas. For its longevity alone, Aswad ranks among the most notable reggae bands, as well as one of the most commercially successful.

Developed in Jamaica from the 1960’s onward, reggae mixed traditional Caribbean rhythms, a prominent bass line, and often socially profound lyrics with elements of American jazz and R&B. In Britain, where many of the island’s immigrants had settled after World War II, independent record companies brought the latest reggae releases to Jamaican expatriates.

By the mid 1960’s homegrown British reggae bands, such as the Cimarons, had sprung up among the immigrants and their children. Largely ignored by commercial radio and the major records labels, it was not until the mid 1970’s that reggae began to be heard on a significant scale outside of the Anglo-Jamaican community in Britain.

Aswad’s previous experimentation with jazz fusion, R&B, and various Jamaican styles had led some critics to question their commitment as bona-fide reggae artists. The band’s breakthrough success in 1988 seemed to confirm this skepticism. Taking a tune co-written by prolific American songwriter Diane Warren—best known at the time for penning hits by De-Barge, Laura Branigan, and Michael Bolton—Aswad’s version of “Don’t Turn Around” hit number one on the singles chart in Britain in early 1988.

The group followed the chart-topper with another hit co-authored by Warren, the top 20 single “Give a Little Love.” In similar fashion, Aswad’s 1988 album Distant Thunder hit the top ten on the album charts in Britain.

My experience with Aswad is shared in the book ‘The Passion Of Reggae And African Music.’: https://goo.gl/ks8vFp

The Amazon.com page of the group: https://www.amazon.com/Aswad/e/B000APWK4E/

Feel The Grandiose Reggae Beat Of Steel Pulse

Reggae group Steel Pulse

Steel Pulse was one of Britain’s greatest reggae bands

Amazing historical facts reveal how Reggae from Africa had its solid foundation in Jamaica, through the darkest period of slavery and the migration of reggae music continued when Jamaicans start settling in Britain. 

In the heart of United Kingdom, many reggae stars and groups were born. One of such reggae bands that painstaking used their voice to fight against discrimination, injustice, poverty, violence, and racism, to international stardom, is the eclectic group known as ‘Steel Pulse.’

Grammy award-winning reggae band Steel Pulse have been true to their roots for over 35 years. One of Bob Marley’s favorites, the band has maintained a sense of fierce integrity as it strives to get the message of love and justice across to all people.

“Without love there is no justice, and without justice there is no peace,” says founder David “Dread” Hinds, as he explains the band’s mission. “At the core of our music is a deep sense of love for our African heritage, and a commitment to fight for justice for all people on this planet, even for our planet itself. Man is destroying creation in the name of progress. And along the way, we kill, rob, loot, and exploit our brothers and sisters – dividing people by tribe, color, class, religion, you name it.”

“We stand against violence in all its forms. And poverty is a form of violence. It may sound like a cliche by now, but we believe in Love and Justice, living in harmony with one another and nature. Our mission is bring hope into the hearts of people – that things can get better if we unite to do the right thing. Despite the wickedness in the world, we believe in positivity. We want to see True Democracy, not hypocrisy.”

“We try to point out the mistakes we humans are making, either through ignorance or through evil intentions,”adds co-founder Selwyn “Bumbo” Brown. “We can’t sit back and watch what’s happening without trying to make a difference.

That’s what we felt like back in the day, as schoolmates in Handsworth, and that feeling hasn’t changed to this day. Babylon has been making the rules for long enough. Our job is to show that Jah Kingdom must be here on Earth – in our hearts and minds – so we can respect one another.”

Steel Pulse are working on a new album and DVD and, as always, are taking Jah message to the people. Amazon.com page of the reggae group: https://goo.gl/Rd8fd4