Answer the Call
May 7, 2015
The journey did not end, the paths stretches still before me. My voice is not dumbed down just gathering its power to release and roar once again. It will never be silenced. So many things to say but we must say the things most beneficent to the purpose.
Observation teaches much and when I take it all in, circumstances often reveal the true man or woman we are. We lay exposed, all our intentions and motives spread in full view. I feel a certain call in this time, a call to stand. A call that will separate those ready to answer courageously and those willing to just go along.
Our world is filled with so much injustice. Blood runs in the streets like rivers. We see, surely, there is uprising in all forms. This is not the only thing that dominates my attention however, my true self will not allow me to only see ruin but also the rising. Those standing, speaking out, revolting and re-evaluating. This concept of revolution. What is it really to have a revolution, be the revolution? Yes be the revolution in real Life.
History shows us when there is an uprising; yes there is possible bloodshed yet our ancestors still answered the call. They did not fear death and they live on in us to carry this mission forward. The call to justice, fairness, upfulness is for all of us and we will not be denied. How long will we stand aside or on the wall “a watch dem a crush wi”? Revolution is evolution for survival and while it takes place in the streets it also should take place in our grass roots. When we gather to ground and strive together, it should be to reason, strategize and build our plans to survive. Institutions must be set up to be the framework for the sustenance of the revolution long after you and I have past. So we have the blueprint, let’s execute in our niche by connecting with those of like mind.
Ubuntu and Umoja are critical glue holding us together. We should be as ferocious and systematic in our approach to surviving. My voice, my voice cannot be still, my pen will speak on paper. That is one call I must always answer. I ask who will join me. Who will answer the call? Find your calling. Answer it and let’s connect and work together, Get it? Work together. Many more things to release but time waits for no man. “The people, who were trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off, how can I? Light up the darkness.”
Who is the revolution? It’s you and I when we are self-determined and interdependent on each other. It is you and I using all our skills for the benefit of the community. Farmers, Readers, Writers, Singers Teachers Healers, Lovers, Helpers, and Warriors, we need you all but first we must ground ourselves and when the universe is ready and calls, Answer, answer the call.
“Strength out to the wise and protection to the meek” in these and all times (Protoje/ Protection from the Ancient Future Album).
Salute from this Warrior - Sistren.
Protoje's Ancient Future: The Progression
Art expressed in its various forms represents a story, a journey of sorts that sees the creator, taking us the audience, through their experiences as they happen. Such is the most recent album released from Protoje entitled Ancient Future produced by Winta James. By name, the project released March 10TH, 2015, emphatically implies a merger of styles and sounds from the 80’s era, melting into the present which will, in a way, pave the way for the future.
The Ancient Future experience opens with “Protection”, a track that sets the tone for this musical journey we are about to take. This solemn but solid song features the haunting and raspy vocals of Mortimer backed by semi heavy bass and xylophone accompaniments. The story begins explaining the jungle life, which comes with growing fame and notoriety and clearly states Protoje’s intention to go out for his own.
Scratching his seven year itch and some time now since the 8th year affair, I feel like Protoje lets us into the challenges he faces as king on his throne, a man with a legacy building. Despite these challenges and those who seek to destroy the roots of the youth’s unity, he cautions and calls for vigilance among associations and reminds that the “lion nuh turn when dog barking”. He expresses commitment to the trod, establishing the roots of movement and its resulting impact on the youth.
“I RATHER MARCH ALONE THAN FI MARCH BACK HOME
TELL ME QUEEN SAY ME LOST THE THRONE, NO
THIS WAS BUILT ON THE POWER OF THE TRUTH
DISCOVERING THE COWARDS AND EMPOWERING THE YOUTH”
He will not accept defeat with the power of truth as his sure foundation. He expounds, “Enemies in disguise wanna see my demise, …cause I see that in life you achieve supmn nice, but achieve sumen twice is a problem” to those who would devour the fruit and “chop the root”. We see exactly the pickle in which he now resides when he considers how his progression appears to be stumbling block to many looking on at his steady rise. Protoje comes back from this dilemma stating his sharp lyrical resilience and indeed reaffirming the “clarity weh speak”, through his words and indeed that we receive from his works. He closes by sending “strength out to the wise and protection for the meek”. Mortimer seals the warning with the following wise words:
“CAUSE OUT HERE IN THIS JUNGLE WE ROAM
EVERY KING HAS HIS THRONE
AND IF YOU ENTER MY ZONE
I VOW TO PROTECT MY OWN, PROTECT MY OWN
I WILL PROTECT MY OWN, PROTECT MY OWN”
Introductions complete, we enter the realms of the Ancient Future. Moving to the upbeat and catchy “Criminal”, Protoje delivers a straight sharp arrow to those who he feels are responsible for some atrocities. Sampling and updating “General” by InI Kamoze. He summarizes the crisis which involves certain key events representing the pinnacle of injustices against Ras Tafari, the harassment and death of Leonard Howell, Peter Tosh and Free I. He repeats “oh dem a criminal, watch it dem criminal, whole a dem a criminal” but a we follow Jah Law... see dem a fraud wid dem tra la la la…” Regardless of all these acts “we nuh retreat we jus gone to the east”. Emphatically, Protoje chants:
“THAT COULDN’T STOP THE MESSAGE THIS A SELASSIE PLACE”
Ras Tafari faces no defeat because “Jah a the main shield and the eye dem stay peeled”. With this confidence and vigilance, Protoje segues into “Who Knows” accompanied by Chronixx easing some of the heavy discussion already had but still maintaining and staying with the topic at hand.
He expounds on the simple provisions of rural life which makes one thankful, no doubt reflecting close to real life experiences in the breadbasket parish. He closes with the ultimate goal and mission succinctly stated in the lyrics:
“AFRICA INNA WE SOUL
BUT A JAH INNA WE HEART
IT IS OF IMPORTANCE FI I&I GATHER
IF WE CANNOT SHOW NOW A BALANCE AT WE YARD
HOW DO WE PROPOSE THEN TO CARRY IT ABROAD
CANNOT GO TO ETHIOPIA AND YOU NUH HAVE A PLAN
THE BUILDING OF A NATION A HAND A HELP A HAND
EVERYONE ONE A LOVE A ONE
A MAN IS JUST A MAN
IT SHALL BE A CORONATION WHEN WE LAND”
To get to the goal, “All will have to Change” this next track emphasizes the role of each man in his destiny. Each must change in his own way and do his own thing. The movement is as collective as it is individual. Protoje comments that though we speak of revolution, we must also speak of the evolution of mind. After all what is the revolution but the consciousness of the individuals who revolute.
Ancient Future’s tone changes with “Stylin” and so begins the story of love spoiling. It is now more personal and intimate perspectives. One other change that must happen is letting things go that cannot be changed. Protoje makes no bones about it, the love affair has ended, the “quart pan full”.
The love left behind because of the stylin’ transitions to “Love Gone Cold”. This one features the clean and passionate vocals of Sevana against electric guitar. An upbeat tale of moving on and finally closing the chapter, the chorus summarizes the state of the over love affair.
“LOVE GONE COLD
GAVE YOU ALL I HAD YES I PLAYED MY ROLE
CANNOT GIVE YOU MORE THAN THAT
I LOVE YOU BUT I’M NOT COMING BACK”
“Suddent Flight” drops gritty on the scene appropriately accompanied by Jesse Royal and Sevana in her second feature. Protoje declares the objective of this one to “warn the ghetto yutes about the choice wah dem a make”. He poignantly presents the ills of being trapped in political partisan plots with the examples of betrayal of those like, Jim Brown and Christopher “Dudus” Coke. He encourages instead and presents the antithesis if one wants to represent delivering the following lyrics:
“SO BREDDA BREDDA IF YOU WAR TONIGHT
CARRY THE SCARS OF A GARVEYITE
CARRY THE FIRE OF A MELCHEZIDECK
MENTALLY GET UNCHAINED
A ONE GOAL A ONE AIM A THE SAME WHA YOU SAYING”
Sevana soulfully further encourages one “…to stay true to the things you know are right, nothing worth the gain, you attain by sudden flight, brother keep your goals in sight, even in the darkest night, have faith in the father in the Father the one who shines light”.
Jesse Royal seals the deal with his rebel lyrical delivery, calling for the brothers to “straight up, wake up, lay down their arms, real tools you fi take up”. I can only hope the brothers are listening and “stay up way up” recognize their power and show “the cowards what we’re made of”.
“Bubblin” is the ode to herb on the album, extolling the healing properties and ital nature of the green. Protoje gives permission to “get lifted” as he gives various accounts of the communal use of herb for meditation. The song also comments on the hot topic of ganja legalization more specifically in Jamaica. Its purpose is fully served, providing for some additional highlighting of the matter as a solution for many ills now plaguing the people.
“RUFFER PON THE GOVERNMENT FREE UP ECONOMY
…. SLAVE OWNER LAW COME TELL ME YOU NUH SEE IT SO
GET UP OUT YOU SEAT AND DO SOMETHING FOR THE PEOPLE”
In and of itself the use of herb is not even being glorified but is an accepted way of life.
“Answer to Your Name” takes us back into time to the era of ska, telling the story of a surprise visit to a lover in a distant land. The story telling methodology heavy in this one creates the most perfect scenes. Truthfully, as I listened this song more carefully and looked at the lyrics, I thought how cleverly this was delivered. The mental picture was painted so well that I could imagine the dance, the circumstances and while it was a slightly serious situation, in true Diggy style Protoje remained calm and turned the situation on its head asking his lover who refuses to acknowledge him, “Girl why don’t you answer to your name”. This was playful and enjoyable to say the least and would do well with accompanying visuals.
“Who Can you Call?” slows the pace down and brings us back to the journey of the growing legacy. In this one, Protoje confesses to getting caught up in the game, after all he is human and becomes even more relatable as we see his story as something that befalls so many before. He however, cautions that “money it is not all, cause when the dough ends, who can you call?” The supporting female background vocals provide a proper prick to the conscience. I think on this track he cleanses his conscience of the struggles he has faced and leaves the listener to really reflect on the realities of life in the money chase. He posits for close consideration
“AND DO YOU THINK THAT WITH THE LAST BREATH THAT YOU TAKE
YOU’LL BE SITTING THINKING BOUT THE MONEY THAT YOU MADE
HOUSES THAT YOU LIVED IN CARS YOU DROVE THE BILLS YOU PAID
AND YET IT IS THE FOCUS WHAT WE DO AND WHAT WE SAY
WHAT WE GIVE WE ENERGY
SO YOU SPEND YOUR LIFE A WORK
ACTING LIKE THE MONEY WILL BE WITH YOU IN THE HEARSE”
It is rightly so that we need this refocus button to reset the priorities if you will. We must assess ourselves to see what life in the living of it is really all about. It is appropriate that “The Flame” opens thus:
“FOREVER THE SAME
IS ONLY JAH LOVE WILL REMAIN
FOREVER THE SAME
NEVER THE FORTUNE NOR THE FAME”
This one seals up Ancient Future with a feature by Kabaka Pyramid. It is always a pleasure to have these two meet. Two lyrically potent of Jah army, warriors in their individual rights. Protoje reiterates his commitment to the cause “Babylon shall fall to knees and cyaan out the flame” stating thus:
“HAND COULDA TIRED BUT THE BANNER HAFFI FLY”
I believe my favourite part of this album is the final delivery from Protoje. Somehow once he echoes the final words, I am already so taken by the content of the last verse, I haven’t even realized the song has ended till I hear the silence. Seems my mind just catches up with my emotions and while I listen for more I realize alas it’s over and my appetite burns within. Deliberately and carefully done to inspire the looking forward for the next chapter, I am sure.
What I enjoyed most about Protoje's Ancient Future is his artful sharing of his journey. Inherent in it is his ability to pay homage to the past, while remaining present and preparing you for a greater feast to come. It almost feels like a melting pot experience. A smorgasbord of pleasurable sounds which is so refreshing to the ear.
His lyrical word play never ceases to amaze and the content always leaves the listener with something to learn or peruse more deeply. Of course they represent the thoughts of the man and where he is on his journey.
Ancient Future is a contemporary masterpiece and history will tell this, the work “becomes less about the tune them wah a spin…, but knowing the work was the best it coulda been”. Protoje is a growing master of his craft and as a music lover, I am excited to see where he will take us all next. Brilliant! Fullgratulations Protoje, Winta James and the entire Team who contributed to the complete work.
Blessings from this Sistren.
What the Reggae Revival means to me –A live music lover’s perspective
For the last two years I have experienced life changes, which have taken me on interesting journeys and provided truly invaluable experiences. Believe it or not the now acclaimed reggae revival has had as much to do with it as any other thing that has impacted me greatly during this time.
Let me take you back to when I wasn’t even inside this community at all just on the outskirts looking for something different, indeed searching for something to replace the mundane. In this search, I kind of stumbled upon the live music scene which wasn't new in and of itself but it was the certain specific word sound message my spirit longed for in short that drew me in.
I needed something real that I could connect with in a meaning full way. It was then about 2010 and I hadn’t even heard of the term reggae revival, or its meaning, what I was drawn to were the sounds, the rhythm of live music which spoke to my soul.
I recall vividly my first Wickie Wackie hearing the sounds of the Raging Fyah and revisiting to see Chronixx, accompanied by Infinite on guitar for the first time, the glee and excitement of buying the Judgement Day album and having it on repeat to my heart’s content then researching to uncover more brought me to discover Nomaddz, Kabaka Pyramid, Jesse Royal and many more.
Then there was Protoje and his arguments, which led me to fall in Rasta Love, purchasing the 7 year Itch from his knapsack in Port Royal. I thought how fresh and original this whole experience was. Lover of reggae music that I was how could I resist this.
This was also the first time I saw and heard the soulful moving sounds of Jah 9. I believe now all the occurrences culminated into the yellow brick to where I am today working alongside those who want to see this music reach the masses. The message of course is the most critical.
I followed the crumbs all the way to the conscious emerald city, which now shines so brightly for the world to see. This is how the revival has impacted me. It coincided with a pivotal awakening of a dormant giant, an overtaking of my consciousness and pointing of a light to look within before acting externally to not only feel good, but stand as my own person in the confidence that what I felt in my spirit all these years was true as my authentic natural whole self.
Yes the music has been that to me but it has also afforded me the chance to interact with some bright beautiful souls who all in some way connected by this unifying thread. I could not have written this into my life but I accept my place in this universe. I remain grateful for all my divine relations and to all with whom I have connected and give thanks for the sharing of Nrg, space and time.
In the words of the Wailing Wailers…”Music goin’ to teach them one lesson, THIS YAH rebel, music goin’ to teach them one lesson”. To all ones who represent this rebel spirit in their art remember the message. It is for the reviving of the people’s consciousness. We are all messenjahs in our own rights. As we move forward, let’s not lose sight of the path along which we have come. I am still a fan but I also know there is a lot of work to be done. I extend my hand to you so we can work together to see each through.
In all things I am because we are, reggae will never die in the hearts of the people. Keep contributing however you do to show the world that this movement is not about “I, its us”( Protoje).
Coming Full Circle: The Changes Continue
– January 22, 2015
MMERE DANE "time changes "
symbol of change, life's dynamics – Adinkra Symbol
Changes by nature upset the comfort zone and require adjustments which are sometimes unsettling to those so affected. It is however important to recognize that while adjustments are required, change is not always a bad thing. It can act as a major trigger towards greater things and better direction.
With each life experience I am learning change is a beautiful thing. Change can be amazing. It is easier to roll with the waves and fall right into the niche of things than to be uncooperative with each inevitability. As you grasp the lessons from each change you face, it raise one’s ability to effectively handle the next uprising. Change has also brought me full circle to the appointed place of my destiny.
This became quite apparent towards the end of last year and I thought how relevant that I will begin my new year with such new experiences coupled with some not so new ones. I consider them new however because at a certain point in time this was reality but having come back to where I indeed started, I am a new person in new circumstances with familiar places and people who have also grown through the passage of time. So, I indeed love my New Year with its New Paths to walk and conquer.
I do not want to jinx my blessings so it’s best to open myself to the greatest possibilities which can manifest. I choose instead to be brave, set my face to the challenge to grow than to shrink away and not attempt what I do not know. My life is all my own responsibility so I have to make it all it can be.
Getting to this place is no easy task but the more you embrace it the easier it gets. Change your attitude towards something you fear and see how you can create the circumstances which are fertile for your benefit. Won’t you try it? Just try and see. Words from the bible said “oh taste and see that the Lord is good” I say Oh taste and see how life can be good. No Limitations or hesitation. Let’s embrace change together and watch it work for us. I really hope this encourages you as it does me to share. Here’s to change and bringing our lives into full focus.
Much Love reflected and always more to come, from this sistren.
Self Determination for Survival
December 9, 2014
It is with a brave heart that I attempt to begin to pull together all the inspiration that has brought me to the page once again in sharing what life has given me in lessons. Today I would like us to consider the matter of “Kujichagulia”. The word in Swahili refers to self-determination, a concept; I became most closely aware of through exposure to the celebration of Kwanzaa.
“Kujichagulia” means "To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves."
Deep in these words more than the activity or work that is required is the point that all this must be done for self by self. Why do we need to create define, name or speak for ourselves? The answer is quite obvious, if we don’t, someone else will. Then, the natural result is that we will be subject to the creation of that mind’s reality. In my humble opinion, the principle of self-determination applies to anyone who wishes to manifest his/her own life on his/her own terms.
Now that we have established this foundation for the reasoning, I will share how a few at first unrelated incidents in the last couple of months have had me taking a more serious look at the importance of this very principle.
First, there has been an innate fire growing inside me to, as I will quote from a song of Buju Banton 'rule my destiny'. I have observed in the rushed life of urban living, the need to retract from the programming we so daily engage in, focus more internally which often then leads me to desire to set my own life agenda undisturbed by external forces.
I have seen how easy it is to be swallowed whole by routines and expectations of everyone but yourself. Simply, my tolerance for this has grown thin and waning in the last couple of months.
The second is the re-reading of certain critical chapters of Groundings with My Brothers by Walter Rodney which through the glance of more searching 'eyes', I began to connect more deeply, with his “Statement of the Jamaican Situation” (chap. 1), seeing the true nature of this land in which I had been born and how it had indeed progressed negatively to now. So many parallels jumped out at me and it saddened me to know we were still not far removed from these very rootical issues and concerns.
The 3rd and final spur to me sharing my experience was participating in the Jamaica Music Conference weekend which was held last month here in Jamaica which exposed me to individuals who were independently trying determine their own paths, most times un-aided and fighting an uphill battle to survive according to their rules. The reasonings in that space helped bolster the fire burning for self-assessment and indeed change, a need to stand up and be counted as an individual and also as a community.
A part of this experience also involved a visit to Pinnacle and also exposure to the knowledge of a self-sufficient community here in Jamaica one of many I presume, which was the Source Farm Eco village in John’s Town St. Thomas.
All three things screamed to me self-reliance in the following ways: here was Walter Rodney describing the state of things, as they exist, prophecy fulfilling and pointing towards the solution, which is self-determination as a collective. So was also the declaration in the discussions and reasonings at the conference and a physical example was held up by those living this self-reliant determined life, which in and of itself provided proof that we can choose to live how we want to. We are gifted to create define and make the rules for our paths even when met with opposition.
It called forth a need to examine this life that we are living on the daily. Are we truly living as how we would like to or are we living in the construct of another’s idea of how our life should be?
As I broke down the meaning of these words more deeply, a more popular set of words sprung to mind “To thine own self be true” taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. If I am to be true to myself then I must embrace myself, all that I am and come from. I must also accept responsibility for my life. In other words I can stay in the passenger seat or jump into the driver’s seat.
And then came the light, self-determination not only needs to happen on an individual level but in a communal collective setting where we join together to create the communities we want to see exist. Inevitably this is for our survival. It is time indeed for me, for all of us as a people to “resume the handling of our, their own destinies” as Walter Rodney posits as he expounds on Black Power and its relevance to the West Indies. Regaining our power and independence is one sure way to chart the path to the life of our own design.
It will not be easy, it was not easy for our ancestors. Yet their vision inspires us still. On my visit to Pinnacle, I was struck by this very truth how far ahead our ancestors saw to do the things expedient in their time so that we have an example from which to pull our own inspiration. As I stood on the grounds of the highest point, I could feel a natural connection with the land and also what occurred to me more than anything, was here was a space that was created for the people by the people. In Leonard Howell’s vision he had created a safe space, a place where our people could live and be according to their own purpose if they so chose; an example of self-sufficiency and determination that was later seen as a threat to the established norms of his time.
I see that things still have not progressed as far as we would like because here I am trying to chart the same path for myself and not without opposition. I realize the preservation of this place means cementing the ideology and philosophy of a self-sustaining life that no one should be denied. Isn’t this what we all want in the end? Think about it. This isn’t just a Rasta ting. This community was built on the principle that we as people can make it work. We can organize. We can build. We can feed ourselves. In these treacherous times we need self-determination more than ever. This is what Pinnacle now means to me, what the Source Village in Johns Town St. Thomas means, what Kujichagulia means. I can make it work and more importantly we can make it work.
Won’t you join me? Let’s define and create for ourselves and speak for ourselves the very lives we really do desire. We are the change we have been waiting on all our lives. I leave you with this for contemplation.
Blissings and Love Always from this Sistren.
Royally Speaking - The Second Edition
- October 1, 2014
Royally Speaking featuring the Small Axe Jesse Royal premiered for the second time on the Usain Bolt Tracks and Records behind the screen series stage, last evening September 30th 2014.
The popular Sports Bar in Kingston was a lively melting pot of patrons as all awaited the arrival of the Small Axe on stage. Close to midnight, Kamila McDonald-Alcock welcomed the now burgeoning gathering, in her role as host for the night's proceedings. Shortly thereafter, the band in place opened with an instrumental version of Sizzla's 'Solid as a Rock'. This was followed by Kamila’s introduction of Jesse Royal. The Royal One entered the stage to screams and woots, in signature style skanking to the “rootical” playing of “so long Ras Tafari a call u so long.”
The Palace Pickney's first selection was ‘Hotter the Battle’ to which he received a warm welcome. It was immediately obvious that the Small Axe was ready for business. He easily transitioned to the single ‘Muddy Road’ which was featured his Royally Speaking mixtape recently released by Major Lazer. He was in undeniable command of the stage; drawing for ‘Wadada’ featured on the In Comes the Small Axe mixtape. The vibration and energy in the venue seemed to be rising as each selection was given to the people.
If you were in the gathering and never knew of Jesse Royal before tonight, you might perhaps have been ashamed, as you perused the audience enraptured by this performance, chanting ‘Wadadadadadadada’, it was really something to both behold and feel. This felt like a reggae rockers revolution part, chopping lyrics from ‘Greedy Babylon’ was Jesse's next axe of choice. The small in stature Lion with a big voice and big lyrics stood tall in principle against the oppressor and spoke for the people.
I took note of the confidence and growth I was witnessing. This was the Royal completely in his zone. He gave impromptu lyrics as is his signature style, easing easily into ‘Little Did They Know’ from XTM Nation’s The Living Heart album. Then something fairly new was inserted “Gimme likkle herb mek mi calm dung mi nerves” as The Royal One asked Richie Spice to join him on stage. They performed ‘Herb Burner’ together much to the delight of patrons. It was a pleasant surprise and added extra spice to the already sweet deal.
Noteworthy was how Jesse provided complimentary support to Spice, humility and respect were displayed as he gave a strength to his fellow colleague. Jesse then turned his attention to his female fans sweetly presenting ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Baby Let Me Be’ with its jazzy, neo-soul feel, his movements on stage personifying the music coursing through him much to the delight of the audience.
As he moved, rocked and swayed, I saw a man fully in tuned and aware of his passion, this musical offering wasn't just a performance he was offering himself; he became love personified in our presence. The lyrics “if u have got someone, hold them tight” provided a beautiful ambiance in the moment, a sweet note to wrap up the tribute.
Acoustic guitar sounds then transitioned the moment to introduce the opening notes for ‘Journey’, a personal favourite from the Royally speaking mixtape The Palace pickney delivered a most passionate performance which was a soul uplifting reminder, echoing the message “its never ok to quit”. He then did something special he segued into Damian Marley's ‘Road to Zion’. Jesse just knows how to mix it up like that, perfect! He was then joined on stage by Nature who delivered an electrifying performance of ‘World Peace,’ which was a nice compliment.
We were then transported to ‘Dreams of Africa’, “the resources in the west are drying up”, Jesse stated, facts that we live and know so well, but “Africa still has so much to give.” It was at this juncture, Kabaka Pyramid joined the Royal One on stage, with what seems like a yet to be released song, delivering his own commentary on the state of affairs in the west, expressing in satirical congrats to the government for the decriminalization of herb. Dre Island then joined the duo on stage delivering ‘Uptown Downtown’ and Protoge’s ‘Resist not Evil’ amply covered by Kabaka.
The Roots Man Riddim then heralded the entrance of Jah 9 who offered ‘Reverence’ in her usual serious and calm tones. The only Warriess on stage, she beautifully complimented the Kings with her vocals. The house was rocking at this point having their fill of such talent and comradery, when the Young General Chronixx entered stage right delivering ‘Here Comes Trouble’, ‘Capture Land’ along with ‘Spirulina’.
Musical Ites were gained and maintained, you were entertained and edutained. To seal the beautiful sharing of gifts, Jesse closed with ‘This Morning’ in fine style to a now very grateful and pleased audience. Our cups were filled and I dare say overflowing. Jamaica and the world have taken note and it’s now glaringly obvious that these youths will not be denied. This movement will continue to inspire growth and the rise of consciousness will continue. It is indeed here to stay.
Kudos to the organizing members of the team for putting on an excellent show and for the love offering from a definite prodigy of this time, Jesse Royal, the Palace Pickney and Small Axe was all we needed and more. He didn't leave us wanting. Supported of course, by a stellar band and ‘bredrens and sistrens’ of like ilk, only made the evening that much sweeter. Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records Behind the Screen Series could not have ended its first season for 2014 in finer style. Royally Speaking was effortless and fluid. Love was definitely in the house for all those who gathered.
It was a pleasure to be there to experience and report in my words its impact.
Love, Love, Love! To one and all
BLAK IWA TV.
The View through Maturing Eyes…
September 20, 2014
Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. It may mean giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, and relationships that have lost their meaning.
John C. Maxwell
My sense of the world has changed so significantly in the last two years that I hardly connect with how life “used to be” with my present eyes. Some very important seemingly im-possibilities, said hello to me and manifested into reality. The journey has not always been sweet but it’s been everything I need.
I am working it all out in this lifetime, instead of watching it all pass me by. I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to spread my pretty wings. The view from up here is amazing. I can see so far, and it’s also quite humbling as I mature into the womb-man I am becoming every single day.
Maturing eyes also means growing up from self-destructive patterns of behavior which often stagnate your blessings. I have learnt not to give up on myself, my blissings or my power. Love never leaves me alone so I have no need to fear. Extending trust in the process is also a major requirement.
I would not suggest blind faith, just to have confidence in your ability to create and to attract the best things through focus, and to trust in the universe and nature’s ability to provide what you need. Ponder the birds, the bees, and the trees and how they live and be; you are no less than they are.
Acting with more wisdom is also a by-product of my growth. I am more willing to take some time to decide, thinking and looking more deeply, respecting my intuition, and letting it be my inner guide to overstanding the situations I find myself in. I am always looking for lessons where once existed problems and enigmas, which seemed insurmountable.
I must admit also that in seeing myself, I am less hard on myself. The world is not linear to me and I am learning to accept the ying and yang of life, duality if you will. Maturity, growth and learning do not stop, they are continual, so I will always be evolving and that’s ok with me. As Nesta Marley reminds me “every little thing is gonna be alright.” I am thankhful for this message. It reminds me to take a deep breath and let life unfold, as it should.
I am also learning to cherish and hold closely those relationships and connections, which are upful and positive. Your innerg will tell you when you are being affected by toxic Nrg, do pay attention and make the necessary adjustments required to preserve your most precious commodity, other than the breath of life, that of your peace of mind. Misery loves company but we don’t have to be about that life.
I intended to share these few gleanings from the life I’ve been leading, in the hopes that something imparted will influence reflection and perhaps contemplation, then acts of positive change. Change is after all our most consistent companion in life. I began sharing myself with you through my words and I will continue to do so. When next we meet, time only knows. From my heart to yours, know it’s always warriess love.
This has been a peek at the view through my maturing eyes. I invite you to stay with me as I grow and find my glow. Peace and blissings
Evolving into Your Highest Self
August 5, 2014
When you look into my eyes, do tell me what you see? I can tell you what I certainly feel, it is the determination that keeps the drive in me.
Success or achievements cannot always be measured in silver and gold but it’s easy to observe when you have turned the corner moving away from mediocre. It is when you start requiring more of yourself, digging deeper for the treasure. It’s when things hidden from sight, surface and shine, you are your own archaeological gold mine.When you can see in yourself without vain conceit, the beauty of all you can be and indeed have become, it’s a life changing moment that brings a smile to the soul.
In getting to this place of proud acknowledgment, we must take the road of self-evolution. Flowing with all the opportunities the universe provides to tap into our personal wealth, indeed I may regard them as the gifts, given to first empower ourselves then others. You must be fluid enough to allow the tide to take you out to unchartered territory. Trusting the waves of change as they take you to self-discovery and knowledge.
It may involve discomfort, maybe even pain but the invaluable lessons you will obtain are far too priceless to give up. You must lose the eyes you once saw with and open your mind to possibilities and inevitabilities which never seemed possible. On this journey, observe that the path of the least resistance is most beneficial. This is not simply just going along or taking a ride, but it is being able to go where the trade winds blow, recognizing in every miniscule moment the blissing i.e. the things which are so befitting your growth and development.
In this space, it is possible to experience the boundless manifestations, your imagination can create. In this realm many “crazy” ideas and “who would have thought or known” moments will come so brace yourself. Your doors are essentially waiting to be opened and closed as needed.
The opportunity to be more than you previously thought to be realistic is right here. The places and spaces which lay ahead have one thing in common, your choice. Will you evolve or stay stagnant? There are no right or wrong answers only the consequences to our actions, which ultimately result in learning, growing, overcoming and being all in a lifetime of living. Still, if you so desire it, your highest self awaits you and so does your best life.
Light and Love, Warrior Sistren
Remembering the Path, Why I began
- June 2, 2013
From whence I came, I must retrace. The journey with myself to this loving embrace. I do not think this feeling to be unique, the struggle of what to express and what to contain, and sometimes silence inevitably wins.
These days, I ponder more and do not let my words just fly. Perhaps I am not yet ready to commit to this long love affair with pressed letters on page, letting my feelings speak. As I have this thought a reminder comes, ‘in sharing my words I give myself to you’ and sometimes the thought makes me feel so vulnerable but I must let the words flow, let them go, for they will not remain silent for long.
Gladly speaking because of the opportunity I have been given, time is no factor for this is not a race this is endurance.
Sometimes it’s like I have forgotten how to keep going, sometimes distractions come in many forms but it is important to recognize, assess and then develop a plan of action to dispel the spell before it becomes binding.
Do not deny yourself the joys which are certainly yours if you just keep going, keep following your path. You are indeed making a way for yourself. I am making my way. Each thought recorded here is done in fulfillment of my contribution to the universe based on this calling. Remember your soul call, that which satisfies your soul the most, the best. Do not ever forget it. Do not forget why you began.
Sankofa, the Akan word from Ghana, means in English to "reach back and get it" (san - to return; ko - to go; fa - to look, to seek and take). It is said to be associated with the proverb "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” If you have forgotten reach back and remember, seek and take a Hold of your destiny, let it manifest.
Catch my drift. Don’t let the waves capsize your ship, stay riding the waves of your potential and prospering from strength to strength. As I remember where I began it is also is where I end, at least for now, these my words, my mind on these pages. Sankofa Bredrin and Sistren… Sankofa!
Love and Light Itinual
Gaining Perspective: Tipping the scale in your Favour
April 22, 2014
“Perspective makes the difference between tragedy and things meant to provide you with an opportunity”– Jah 9 ‘Keep Holding On’
The above quoted words from the prolific Janine Cunningham have a sobering effect on me as I read them and repeat them to myself from memory, having heard them some time before and my spirit never let them go.
They are a gentle reminder and call to presence of mind. They are needed especially when I am faced with seemingly insurmountable mental mountains. Often in life’s university we face situations, incidents and circumstances, which refine our characters, and in the process, sometimes we can feel only the heat of the flames and nothing beyond.
If we should however pause for a moment, take mental stock of this situation; we may be able to see the opportunity that resides in the flames and heat of refinement. The fire at the “muss muss” tail is not always a bad thing. It can most certainly serve as a warning to move because there is danger, and which one of us doesn’t want a warning instead of just basking away in the cool breeze of ignorance? Think about it.
So if the application of fire resulting in heat refines gold, then in the end, the result is an opportunity, which is profitable. A tragedy can take many forms and is all a matter again of perspective. Perspective however can also help you to see your circumstances in a new light that will result in a more edifying experience than at perhaps first glance.
So how do you gain perspective to tip the scale in your favour? Well the first step is to find the objective eye in the situation. Sometimes this is hard to do on your own, you may seek support or advice from a trust worthy source who can be a voice of reason to you. If not, take some time to remove your emotions from the situation and then dissect it in a factual way.
Some questions that might help: How bad or tragic is this really? Might I be over-reacting?
After this, you may accept that you are affected regardless of how bad or not so bad the situation. Now turn your attention to the facts of the situation.
What happened and why? This will help you identify causes and effects and also ways to avoid a reoccurrence if possible or it may also provide you with perspective that will help you be less hard on yourself while facing the flames.
Having accepted the occurrence, and the facts of it, you can then start to examine the following questions: What might I learn from this and how will these lessons help in the future?
These are your opportunity questions, because regardless of what has happened, the take away from any negatively perceived situation should at least be the learning of something that will benefit one’s future journey. Sounds like the work of a lifetime of learning to me, which is exactly how it needs to be viewed, if you and I are to capitalize on the opportunities from our perceived tragedies.
Use perspective as the clarifying lens to view any situation especially the uncomfortable ones. The words of the song continue…” consciousness will guide you and keep you in the right just stay focused on the light … and keep holding on … my brothers and sisters…. Don’t let them draw you out, maintain composure” for your tragedies are working for you greater opportunities for growth.
I extend these few thoughts to you as I ponder my own perspectives and hope that in reading, you will see that in life there is more than pain, it’s just how the picture is framed.
Blissings and Universoul-love
The “Living Heart” of Xterminator Productions
A Tribute to Philip “Fatis” Burrell
Living Heart Volume 1 produced jointly by Kareem Burrell and father Philip “Fatis” Burrell is a twelve track tribute to the life and works of the patriarch of XTM.Nation. It also represents a silver anniversary celebration for Xterminator Productions; however the songs chosen for the compilation are nothing short of golden. So is this opportunity to share my humble thoughts on the legacy of such an astute name in the musical arena, who is Philip “Fatis” Burrell.
From the first guitar strum on the first track song “Part of One Big Family” featuring Luciano, there is an immediate feeling of love and family, emotions strongly connected to the heart are stirred by The Messenger.
Luciano is perfect on this one as the Living Heart of XTM opens itself to the world. He repeats these lyrics ‘I’m a part of your father’s family, we’re apart of one big father’s family, you’re part of my Father’s family’. Family it seems is a very important theme and rightly so as son salutes father with respect. For what is family without the heart of love and togetherness? This one could very much be the album’s anthem.
The legendary Lee Scratch Perry is featured on “Stand in Love”, track two from the album. His delivery is simple and whimsical, no stranger to the eccentric, he delivers gems of wisdom. He pays tribute to the glory and power of love. No doubt Philip “Fatis” Burrell life was one of love and giving. We are encouraged to ‘manifest your dream’, and here the dream is fulfilled with the rise and legacy of XTM.Nation, which lives in Kareem Burrell.
Track three “Shield and Guide” finds voice with Pressure. It’s a noteworthy ode to Jah being our shield and guide. The saxophone support provided by Dean Fraser is stellar. You won’t be able to resist moving to its catchy rhythm and lyrics, giving you a genuine reggae feel with the full support of band in tow. This easily segues into the more deliberately fiery “Show Dem How fi Blaze” with Jah Man featuring Jesse Royal, who are a perfect combination on this track. This one will be a sure hit.
Listening to this production of both tracks provides glimpses of the perfection and quality work put into the music by the XTM.Nation Team. Setting themselves apart from all others they continue to blaze a trail of excellence. The Xterminator Label will “live on while d rest a cascade”, from inception to present day, creating hits and making timeless music.
Gentleman softens the fire created by Jesse Royal and Jah Man, with “Eyes wide open”. He opens with the lyrics ‘So many idle words been spoken but no righteousness in the meaning’, this heralds the truth that XTM.Nation stands for righteous words, to uplift and not just to obtain hype. As someone who has appreciated the works of Kareem Burrell teamed with Jesse Royal, I can fully second this assessment of the music put out by the label.
Music for a change, a message for change, transforming from the inside, Sizzla chants on track five entitled “Daylight”, “Teach us for what it’s worth… Give us Ras Tafari first”. This is a signature Sizzla track; high notes included showing his versatility and firm meditation which has made him beloved in the hearts of many. “Your good deeds will be your strength for tomorrow”, how true and accurate these words apply to the works done by Philip “Fatis” Burrell. His works continue to bring good through those he “fed” in his living days. Befitting the relationship forged between both men, Sizzla delivers his tribute in fine style to his former Manager and Mentor who played a significant role in his ascendancy and legendary contribution to reggae music.
Track six “We pop it off” is lyrically potent, delivered by Ini Kamoze, the upbeat rhythms with Ini Kamoze’s witty lyrical content is a perfect marriage. After a few listens, I began to think of Jesse Royal royal speaking, rebellious but with a righteous cause. I can trace in the musical timeline incarnations in each generation of artists and producers alike, the preservation of authentic sound, consistent themes and fire energy in the music.
After this “direct hit” declaration by Ini Kamoze, I am now completely convinced that Xterminator “nuh graze”, yes wi musically yes wi pop it off”. Who can disagree with those words, certainly no lover of authentic and resonating music which is Living Heart Volume 1.
The album then moves easily to “Little did they know” featuring the wise words from the small axe, Jesse Royal. The Palace pickney eases out speaking truth authentically on this one, declaring himself “Selassie Son fi true, nuh care weh dem hail from nuh bizniz a who”. Defiant but not arrogantly so, letting his unique message be heard, it is signature Jesse style, wise message music and lyrics.
The next track entitled “Oh My Father” is a raw, acoustic and organic presentation by Buju Banton. It was a definite treat hearing the acoustic set, delivered with true passion as a prayer to the Most High. One on one communion with the Father, this is music in its most revealing state, just a guitar played by legendary Earl Chinna Smith, a voice and all the experiences of the singer laid out on the track. It made me think of the loss that must have been felt by the family and loved ones by the XTM.Nation family when Philip ‘Fatis’ Burrell transitioned. It could also have easily been a father‘s prayer to ask the Most High to watch over his family as he transitioned, wishing all “a perfect and pleasant day” as he trod on. I couldn’t help but also think of Buju’s incarceration as he sings his heart out. This song is the most cathartic of the collection.
After this emotional outpouring, “Do It Now” helps you pick up the pieces of the sensed loss, as the great Beres Ford Hammond delivers sweetly in fine style an ode to staying in the moment while recalling memories of good times spent with loved ones, no doubt referencing times spent with the Burrell family. He gently persuades you to ‘When you love … love strong, do it now”. As I soaked this one in, the production is again flawless and so is Berris‘s classic soulful sound. This one is a true testament and example to great music. Again saxophonist Dean Frazer is exemplary.
An even sweeter delivery follows with Kayla Bliss singing “One More Chance”, the first of the feminine energy on the album. She delivers a soulful lover’s rock piece supported by beautiful musical accompaniment. She represents well the new generation of XTM.Nation continuity in providing soul satisfying music. The second female voice on the album is easily recognizable, Nadine Sutherland with her rendition of “Pair of Wings”. Living Heart closes beautifully with this one, the piano and Nadine’s voice are heavenly and the delivery is also emotional as we come to the conclusion in musical tribute to Philip “Fatis” Burrell, the man and his works. The works spanning two generations speak to the larger than life stature of the work that began and continues with XTM.Nation. Philip “Fatis” Burrell was a man as evidenced by the works of his mind and hands, spiritual but connected to his time, his ability to identify unique talent and also work with artists to provide high quality and timeless productions, show he was a man with a deep sense of appreciation for purposefulness.
“Music was not just a business but a spiritual force” – John Massouri, these words conclude and summarize my response to this musical tribute. “There are no limitations to music”, how true this is just take a listen to Jesse Royal and Kayla Bliss protégés of the new era of XTM.Nation. My ears and soul were blessed with this album, I found it aesthetically beautiful but it also provided inspiration for my own sense of purpose as a writer. Living Heart Volume 1 gets full marks for providing a musical history lesson with some of the greatest voices in Reggae and the rising stars of the current generation.
Thanks to Sameel Kush I for affording me this opportunity and special salute to the Burrell and XTM.Nation Family for the contribution to music which will stand forever. Manifested dreams live on forever. Long Live Xterminator, Rise and Shine XTM. Nation, stand and rise forever.
BLAK IWA TV
The Dub Treatment with Janine ‘Jah9’ Cunningham
‘An offering of Service to the Afrikan Commune-ity”
February 27, 2014
The wonderful opportunity was extended to BLAK IWA TV which we humbly accepted, to stream the event dubbed “The Dub Treatment” with our Warriess Priestess, Sister Janine Jah9 Cunningham and others from the Revival Community on February 27, 2014. I thought how grand to ring in the one year commemoration of Jah 9’s New Name Album by bringing this auspicious event to the internet family overseas and elsewhere and to also be associated with such a celebration of Life, Art and Ras Tafari. This was indeed perfect synchronicity. From the moment I saw the event being advertised, a little seed was planted and here it had come to bloom.
Yoga on Dub opened the evening with participants fully equipped with Yoga mats on the grounds of the Country Side Club. The instructor was quite pleasant and meticulous during the exercises and participants seemed grateful for the occasion to bring themselves back to alignment and balance. In her closing remarks Jah 9 remarked that yoga is not an ‘uptown ting’ it’s for everyone. Herself a yoga instructor, she was seen assisting participants during the exercises; I smiled and thought this is a true woman of service.
The yoga session ended and the next segment of the gathering was opened in traditional Afrikan style with the offering of libations complete with re-calling the names of those transitioned by the audience. It was a powerful experience to hear each one call the name of beloved from memory and into the moment paying homage to the ancestors gone before us. I personally, was especially moved because the memory of a dear friend who recently transitioned was still fresh so in like manner I spoke his name and felt the warmth of his presence again.
With this acknowledgement complete, Abbebe Payne was introduced to begin his spoken word offering. His delivery, as always, was potent, passionate and emotive. This was followed by fashion display from Iya Wear, designed by Arlene Paisley and pieces form Mamayashi’s collection and then a presentation of Afrikan Dance. The apparel lines for women were as beautiful to behold as the ‘womb-men’ who wore them. Filling in the spaces was Rory Stone Love echoing sounds of dub throughout the venue.
It was then time for Jah9 to make her presence felt in word sound offerings. She began with ‘Intentions’ firmly backed by her newly formed band The Dub Treatment, this was followed by ‘Gratitude’. In between delivering the lines, she emphasized the importance of gratitude in one’s attitude to override all negativity. Her words burned in me as I realized this was not just words from a song but a call to become your higher self.
“Brothers” was delivered in tribute to all man of right who inspire and lead within the community. This hit a deep note as Jah 9 commented on the imbalance in relationships and the need to have mutual love and respect between partners, as mirrored in the example of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen I.
From “Brothers” she transitioned easily into spicy ‘Avocado,’ then segued into ‘Taken Up’. In this moment, it hit me that “New Name” album was more than a musical compilation, it is an entire work of dedication and love towards the upliftment of the I in I likewise to all I’s in the commune-ity.
While we were taken up, we floated over to the Kush Treatment segment which was dedicated to the demystification of Herb, the steamers and using the Herb as medicine, Jah 9 took us to the school, demonstrating the use of the steamers and cited personal benefits of harnessing the healing properties of herb.
This was quite educational as well as eye opening. She cited that this was also preparation for the pending decriminalization of the herb in Jamaica. I felt like this was needed, I had never been to any event where conscious efforts were made to educate persons instead of just speaking of herb use as a means to just get “high”. Professor K’adamawe K’nIfe then delivered in almost lightening speed a discourse on the usefulness of herb for Industry Medicine and Food drawing the analogy that Herb and all its benefits could replace the debt situation of the country. It was a conscious but concise and revealing discourse.
To wash all of this knowledge down were performances by Keida with ‘Ganja Tea’, Kumar Bent of Raging Fyah with ‘Ganjah’, Micah Shemaiah with 'Ganja Farmer' which featured Infinite, Selah and Chronixx. Then he performed 'Reggae Rock it' which features Infinite and Matthias. Jahkime then performed 'Farmer Dem' featuring Kazam and Exile Di Brave then segued into 'Kannabis' joined by Micah Shemaiah, Infinite and Chronixx. Micah Shemaiah was especially impressive. The man known as ‘The Voice’ was in fine form and the infinitely talented Infinite was in his element. All worked together well adding lots of flavor and spice to this tribute to the “green”. The “Nrg”and synergy was unmistakable. Then Alexandria gave her quick contributions. Later Kazam Davis entered stage front and was rejoined by Jahkime and Exile di Brave, for ‘Ganja Farmer’. Nomaddz then provided a colourful rendition of ‘Ganja Stain’ as only they alone can, to close the proceedings.
I must not forget to mention that also highlighted in the village was the artwork of visual artists, most noteworthy Djet Damani Layne who had painted the Mural of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen. This provided a most beautiful backdrop for the proceedings as well presence of arts and craft from several other contributors which were laid out for viewing. There was also an artist who could be seen front stage creating, as Jah 9 performed her first set, no doubt drawing inspiration from the night’s entire proceedings. It was definitely a time to let the creative juices flow.
In celebration of Ras Tafari, Ras Ivi Tafari, A Rastafarian elder within the ‘commune-ity’ provided a historical context for Ras Tafari ‘s ascension to the throne of Ethiopia. He gave sufficient facts of His Majesty’s birth, coronation and its significance. This was especially informative. As the programme had progressed, it began to seep in that there were inevitably those in the ‘commune-ity’ who perhaps had attended with the intention of just being entertained but there was enough information and history for all to leave with something newly learnt. This bit soaked in most deeply for I, the name Ras mean ‘The Head One’ and Tafari means ‘to be feared;’ translation the Head One to be feared. As I heard this, immediately in my consciousness, came the words every knee shall bow to the Most High.
Quite befitting this moment, Jah 9 returned to the stage and with the prowess of a Warriess Priestess performed ‘New Name’ complete with perfect hornsmanship from her band. She then moved on to ‘Preacher Man’ and closed her performance with ‘Reverence’. The presentation was made complete with an impromptu nyahbinghi, with drumming and singing (chanting), bringing a beautiful vibration in closing to an already soul edifying event.
This presentation of Life, Art and Ras Tafari had taken the audience through a beautiful progression to a most “fillfulling” climax. Jah 9 closed with asking persons to love ferociously and confidently: beautiful words to those who had witnessed this supremely epic event. The Dub Treatment was organic edutainment with all three ingredients, live music, arts (spoken word, fashion, dance and art), and herb within the commune-ity led by the Omega "Nrg" (energy) as expressed in Janine Jah 9 Cunningham, amply and sufficiently supported by a most creative and inspired team. It was an event like no other I have ever been and I make no apologies. It set standards which I believe display the modesty, humility in service that are attributes of Jah 9 and they were demonstrated as needed for I ‘commune-ity’ in this time. Much Thanks to the team and to all who contributed to The Dub Treatment. Team BLAK IWA TV was extremely happy to be there, to bring it to the international audience by live stream as I also record in words, the impression it made on me. I give mighty thankhs.
Love, Light and Blissings I send to all till next time.
Meeting “Me” at the Cross Roads – The beginning of Transformation
December 4, 2013
After going through a major life change, I have found myself at the cross roads of my existence. The pain and pangs of the past are so much further away when compared to the day I started this journey.
These words that I write, communicate all that lies in my “heavens” and as they take shape on this page, they enunciate my very thoughts, thoughts of finding my way home to me and settling there.
At this juncture in my journey, I find that having broken the chains that helped me move more freely, I am just beginning to see the self that lays hidden but also finding that I have many questions still about this evolving woman, who keeps unfolding.
Each day to this moment has taught me that I can no longer depend on what I have always done to merely survive and be satisfied, I see that I want more than just what seems to come natural to me, or what could be considered normal under these circumstances.
Within I feel a deep sense of longing to arrive fully in the skin I should be in, meeting the real me in living colour and not the programmed manufactured one. I want all the masks to fall away and only what is real and genuine to remain. All the things I was taught which were never me but became a part of my consciousness must be unlearnt and replaced with new thinking, habits and actions. I want to meet me, all of me.
I ask myself, so now that you are free, have you imagined what you would like your life to be and how to manifest into reality? These words float up to face me, who are you? Who do you want to be? What resonates with you? Are you happy?
Spirit inside me responds, don’t worry about scripted lines; just let your heart speak truly and deeply. ‘Shhhhh…’ listen while your inner voice is speaking.
In these moments, some answers are clear, some still need flesh, but they are 100 percent honest, at this stage of discovery. I am also learning that I don’t have to have it all figured out but I should lend as much effort, thought and energy to my pyramid, as I do with other important ventures in my life. I am worth it and deserve it. I repeat slowly this time, I am worth this, all of this and I deserve it.
So since I deserve it, I must make time for it, commit to it, the process of meeting me.
Standing at the cross roads means a path is still in front of you to be taken and where the steps will go, you decide. There can be No fear because thoughts become things.
Spirit speaks again; just trust in the optimistic feelings for your existence. Constantly count your blissings and be proud of how far you have come. Let your mind conceive the best possibilities then watch the opportunities open before you.
The greatest struggle at the cross roads is to get still, to be still so you can listen, so you can hear. Getting rid of the distractions, creating that balance, so essential to keeping yourself happy, connected and aligned. Life is so divinely complex yet so beautifully simple when taken moment by moment in quiet contemplation.
My mission now is to find my fire which will keep this locomotive moving in its intended direction. From the crown of my Head to the Soul of my feet, all things moving in unison knowing I-self, being I-self and not shape-shifting into someone else.
Everything is available and possible my spirit speaks again. So I listen and claim all the power and strength it gives me.
My challenge to myself: To rise not just to the occasions which will come, but to begin with a mental picture or vision of all the possible things of interest which come to my mind and are confirmed in my spirit, as the things that are for me; to never waver in the pursuit of self-love and self-acceptance in all times; and to listen, learn then act then repeat in cycles as much as needed to move forward into my destiny.
The expressions of these words sustain me. I release them and all they mean first to me, then to you who read and contemplate every line. I share knowing that in the gift of giving we also receive many blissings.
The Year that made the difference
Growing fully into who you should be is hard work. Sometimes you will experience repetitions of scenarios past or forgotten or you may slip into old and familiar habits, but I have seen in this last year of growth and change that despite all this, I did find all that I needed to make the difference.
These words hold true and firm, “Not everyone will understand your journey, nevertheless, trod on.” In stepping over barriers to get to your higher self, to up-Lift, to transcend daily and keep going, you must put in heart work, soul work and mind work; the process of intense transformation. It takes commitment and support from those who overstand the process and are willing to help you reach the pinnacles of achievement. It also takes listening more to your inner voice and less to the distracting voices, which sometimes come.
The path cleared before my eyes, is so vivid that I wondered how I could have missed it all this time. I comfort myself knowing that this is what I should be doing, and who I am becoming was always inside me; it just needed time to be developed, to be more fully revealed. Simply put, when the student became ready the Teacher arrived. Today I am worldsapart from the person whom I was, the one who started the Journey to the Liberated I. I have grown in confidence and have embraced my purpose with increasing boldness.
I could not have done it alone and those who have been there know the true meaning of patience, endurance and love. All of which are necessary to achieve maximum brilliance.
Imagine this, striving to reach your fullest, most potent state, the highest being you can be: what could compare to this? It is indeed a great honour to have been blessed with the opportunity, and I have gained clarity, renewed strength, self-love and acceptance daily as I grow from strength to strength.
You see, I thought it was too late and when dark clouds gathered, they almost took away my hope of rainbows and sunshine. I was almost ready to settle for mediocre, then opportunity knocked and life gave me an alternative. My response to this opportunity was yes, I received it, and I got beauty for my perceived ashes.
From that moment, so many things inside me began to change and indeed keep changing. Greatest of all I learnt to truly love myself. I know now I can create what I prefer, making conditions right for me, no longer a victim to the whims and fancies of external factors. I see now, how I am so precious, so worthy and deserving of every good thing Life has to offer.
Nothing is impossible, if you want it, it can be yours. Another great lesson, you can change your creation if it no longer serves you. Think of it! An existence where all resistance fades away and all you experience is Life truly, magnificently beautiful.
A year in time made me see myself with new eyes. It took just some time to see what was real and what wasn’t. If that’s all it took for me, imagine what one moment, one decision, one choice can do for you. I write not just to speak of what I have experienced but also to share with you, hopefully some light that will guide you to your path of self actualization. Empowering yourself is the first tool to making the changes needed for the best “you” possible.
When you are ready to receive your deserved blissings, they will announce themselves in your presence. Trust yourself to know what you need and keep trusting yourself. If you are not living for you, who are you living for? Make the step to make the difference.
Blissings and Love always
Royally Speaking with the Small Axe Jesse Royal
Usain Bolt Tracks and Records “Behind the Screen Series”
July 30, 2013
The evening dubbed “Royally Speaking” showcasing the talent and music of the one and only Jesse Royal was hosted at the Usain Bolt Tracks and Records restaurant this Tuesday July 30, 2013. For most patrons who started arriving at the venue at the hour advertised, they had felt the irresistible need to be present and not miss the opportunity to have a full set done by the Royal One. I could not be excluded from this very exclusive opportunity.
While most early birds were liming, enjoying the ambiance of the bar and eats offered by the very popular spot in Kingston, made famous by its affiliation to world’s fastest man, many could be seen milling around anticipating the start of what was expected to be an unforgettable night.
Special mention should be made of the XTM Nation team who were visible, as well as what I am sure were supporters, clad in In Comes the Small Axe shirts. Other noteworthy supporters were No-Maddz, Jah 9, Suzie Q, Kelissa, Chronixx, Raging Fyah and Keznamdi.
Photographers took the opportunity to capture the moments unfolding. The vibes definitely building with sounds of notable names in Reggae pumping music in the venue, the like of Romain Virgo, Iba Mahr, Jah Bouks, Sizzla and Chronixx. The Band arrived in place at minutes after 11 starting their sound checks.
It was after 11:30 pm when Donisha Prendergast MC of the show greeted the already almost full to capacity filled venue and welcomed all to the beginning of Royally Speaking. She quickly introduced Jah 9 to open the stage.
Jah 9 made her entrance with New Name, extending blissing and greetings in word, sound and power. She was well received and as usual delivered a soul stirring performance. In reflecting, it seems she performed a blessing of the stage, paving the path for the entrance of Black Royalty, Jesse Royal. He joined her on stage to the sounds of drumming, chanting ‘So Long Ras Tafari a call u so long?’ He was greeted with whistles and hoots from fans obviously pleased that the show was finally underway. He began with Hotter the Battle which brought instant vibes.
Simply dressed the one proclaimed as the Small Axe delivered Modern Day Judas, which got resounding musical shots from fans who sang along with him. Jesse had his usual fun with the alliterative enunciations which is noteworthy of his musical style. The ‘Small Axe’ did not hesitate to chop down Babylon fluidly delivering Hatred is Obsolete and Raindrops with quick succession.
Supported by solid musicians the Royal One’s message was positively amplified. Next was One Eye Open and Talk to Me. From Jesse Royal’s message, one consistent theme runs like a universal thread, he is a speaker for the poor and needy, those who have no voice and he is always about the plight of the people. His word sound chants down Babylon who, in his words is “Greedy and robbing from the needy”.
His next segment featured songs like Butterflies and Feel Your Pain with lyrics sugar sweet for the empresses and ‘warriesses’ in attendance. It was a treat to hear Some Day which was delivered in fine style, I glimpsed Alaine Laughton in the audience taken up by the words “I know that it will be ok better muss come around some day, some way”, hands clasped over her heart and eyes closed. This confirmed what I already knew of the enchantment and healing that music with the right message provides. My faith was restored in this very fact that someday, today all would be and is indeed well.
The show then took flight with the upbeat and popular This Morning remixed with Light like a Feather. Jesse Royal proved that he is “light like a Feather but definitely heavy” with lyrical content and ability to “siddung pon a riddim”, much to the delight of his adoring fans. No-one was or could have been disappointed at this point. As I watched him perform I could not help but remember his performance at the The Resistance in December 2012, when Elise Kelly recalled Philip ‘Fattis’ Burrell’s comments about Jesse and how he is “jus royal as yuh look at him”. I smiled seeing the fulfilment before my eyes.
In closing, Jesse Royal’s message was for all to “know your power, hold your power, respect the power you have and the power of the music”, sound words indeed, in a society where many turn away from their responsibility, forgetting the creative power of word sound. With the crowd at this point calling for more, Chronixx, Kelissa and Keznamdi joined Jesse on stage and gave fans an unscripted live on the spot performance. They performed Warrior featuring Protoje from Kabaka Pyramid’s Rebel Music EP as well as Gideon from Kelissa’s Rebel In Disguise EP featuring Keznamdi. It was a beautiful final 15 minutes for unity in the reggae revival. Chronixx then closed the proceedings with Capitalist.
Jesse Royal is Black Royalty personified, the small axe for greedy Babylon and it was certainly an engaging and powerful experience to partake of such a beautiful spread of inspired works. Much Thanks to the artists who continue to show their support and unity in this movement to bring conscious music to the people. Salute to the XTM Nation family, well done and more works to come in the Gideon. It was blissing as always to share in the moment.
BLAK IWA TV
Who am I?