October 23, 2023
At the height of the roots-reggae revolution during the 1970s, artistes stressed the importance of reading the Bible and seminal black-power books such as Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver.
On I-Niversal Light, his new song, Warrior King encourages a return to reading as a means of empowering Jamaican youth. The single is a joint production between Machete Records and Rootz Warrior Productions.
Describing himself as a “child of light”, the veteran singer believes Rastafarians have a part to play in getting young people to read.
“A lotta bredrin an’ sistren, dem wear dreadlocks, smoke di herb an’ sey Haile Selassie di first. But dem nuh have a clue about di faith an’ di doctrine, so education is very important, an’ His Majesty always emphasise dat education is di key,” Warrior King reasoned.
“Education doesn’t stop in di schools, so wi encourage reading amongst youth, an’ amongst Rastafarian bredrin an’ sistren, ’cause as Marcus Garvey sey, ‘illiteracy carry di burden’, so di people with intelligence rule di world. Dat’s why we encourage di youths to read.”
To reinforce his educational thrust, the video for I-Niversal Light sees Warrior King issuing the Bible and books about Garvey to young people. During the 1970s, that was the norm throughout Rasta communes in Bull Bay, August Town and Trench Town where artistes, including Bob Marley, and elders such as Prince Emmanuel and Mortimo Planno, lived.
Warrior King said learning about black history in the pre-Internet era drew him to the Rastafarian movement during the 1990s. The Clarendon-born artiste’s songs including his 2001 breakthrough, Virtuous Woman, and follow-ups like Never go Where Pagans Go have strong black empowerment themes.
While the Rasta community has a role in promoting education, he believes other persons of influence should “encourage an appetite for reading”.
“Wi talking ’bout di prime minister, di pastors an di teachers â€” but at di same time, yuh can carry a donkey to di water but yuh cyaan force him to drink it. But what I’m doing with my song, dat’s a good start,” said Warrior King.
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