Category Archives: Civil Rights

From Selma to Montgomery, 21st to 25 March – 1965: The 50th Anniversary

Blessings Mi Irieites,

SELMA

Been flying around today, so please forgive me for not blogging this sooner. The “livication” continues for Dr Martin Luther King, who this day 50 years ago, started what would be the march that became a success, from Selma to Montgomery, in Alabama. After a series of attempts previous to this historical event where all the protestors gathered on the Edmund Pettis Bridge, the march was completed 4 days later in Montgomery. The protestors had travelled on an average of 12 miles a day and took refuge and shelter wherever they could along the way.

We Steel Pulse, tip our crowns out of maximum respect for those who courageously conducted their moral duties during that episode. Thank you for moving the world a few steps closer to civilisation.

The Return to Handsworth

As we are into our 40th year of existence as a band, we give thanks for each and every moment for the opportunity that was given to us by the Most High. Because we are totally aware that if it was not for H.I.M, there would never be a “Steel Pulse.”

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Our first recognition on ‘centre stage,’ was our debut album, “Handsworth Revolution” (1978), which came at time when the UK was facing absolute turmoil in regards to the policies that were very much disenfranchising the first generation of blacks of post colonialism, stationed throughout the many pocketed communities in Britain. Already plagued with unemployment, there were laws and socially political issues that were not working in our favour. Having our limited outlets of entertainment under constant surveillance, along with the youths no longer accepting the “back seat” (so to speak), that was offered and accepted by our parents, and to top it all, the occasional police brutality…. it was only a matter of time for the lid to have been blown off that pressure cooker.

Steel Pulse predicted the sentiments of Handsworth Revolution at least three years before the very first riots kicked off in Bristol, back in 1981. HR became a landmark, a milestone; call it what you may, in the history and development of ‘Black Culture,’ in Britain. As a result the band played a significant role among the punk and new wave music that was sweeping across the country. Our lyrics and stance became part and parcel to the issues that the punks were lashing out against. it was at a time when being left winged and being an anarchist, was at its heights.

Today, we can see clearly how current and relevant those lyrics and ideologies of yesteryear have become. Now, do you see why I started out this blog by thanking the Most High, in the first place? In all honesty, the band never dreamed that the whole HR experience would have taken such a stronghold throughout the rest of the world. We could barely play our instruments when all this happened. Yet, we were eager to make a difference in our lives that we had hoped, would in turn, influence others.

We are looking forward to returning to the shores of England, after a very long hiatus to deliver this same album that created us, “live” in its entirety to the nation that was first in line to bear witness to such an enlightening experience. We sincerely hope that you can be present to join the masses that will be attending this walk down memory lane.

Everything Bless

David Hinds

Remembering Bloody Sunday

Today is one of the most significant day in American history, better known as “Bloody Sunday.” Exactly fifty years ago today, roughly three hundred people, mostly comprised of African Americans, made a desperate attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama. It was on the terms of a peaceful protest in favour of a bill of voting rights to be passed by the United States government. The march, that was spearheaded that day by activist John Lewis, was rudely interrupted by a sea of police under the order of Jim “Crow” Clark, who was the head local sheriff at that time. The peaceful protestors were blocked off on both sides which resulted with them receiving a series of blows, left right and centre on the bridge, itself.

Both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush were present at Selma today, in memory of this tragic incident that took place 50 years ago.

What took place in Selma back then most certainly changed the political, social, and historical course of America and the world. Today, Selma, nowhere the industry booming town like it once was, is ridden with poverty and high unemployment. And to top it all, the Voting Rights Bill is now in jeopardy. Both President and former President are expected to address the situation.

Anyway, a Big Up to John Lewis, Andrew Young, Martin Luther King, and Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was murdered by a state trooper 2 weeks prior to the attempted march and all those that were present at this tragic landmark incident half a century ago. You will never be forgotten.

Yes, go check out the movie Selma folks. It showed me the clever tactician MLK really was…  The struggle goes on.

Bless!

LYRICS for PAINT IT BLACK

It ain’t easy up from slavery
Ten thousand miles we’ve made that journey
Crosses burning and mob lynchings
And the boycotts of Montgomery
From the fountains were no drinking
And forever in my memory
With love and time came natural healing
Time to turn this page of history, yeah!

‘Cause there’s one thing for sure
The poor can’t take no more
You had to open up those doors
For President Forty-four, eh!

CHORUS I
Black
Paint the White House Black
We gonna paint Black
Paint the White House Black, eh yeah

VERSE II
Broken down are racial barriers
And the laws of segregation
It’s the healing of the nation
Let’s re-write the constitution
As we’re drowning in this crisis
And who dare to roll the dices?
As our martyrs paid the prices
Laid their lives as sacrifices yeah

‘Cause there’s one thing for sure
The poor can’t take no more
You had to open up those doors
For president forty-four

CHORUS II
Black
Paint the White House black

Paint it Black y’all
Paint it Black y’all

That’s because
There’s one thing for sure
The poor can’t take no more
You had to open up those doors
For president forty-four

CHORUS III
Black
Paint the White House Black
We gonna paint Black
Paint the White House Black

ADLIB
Paint it Black yah!
Paint It Black yah!
Paint it Black yah
We gonna paint it Black yah
Paint the White House Black
Paint the White House

Ebony Mahogany
Nubian Cush from the Nile Valley
Ashanti Fulani
The Mansa Musa Dynasty, hey

We gonna paint it
Paint it Black yah
We gonna paint it
We gonna paint it
Black Black Black Black Black

Remembering Trayvon Martin

Yesterday, was the third anniversary of the slaying of Trayvon Martin. Trayvon who would have been 20 years old, was cut down in his prime while on his way home from buying a packet of candy and some ice tea. The results of this incident has created a huge rift in regards to race and racism in America.

But like Steel Pulse says, it’s “Love and Justice thru Music!”

Tribute to a Martyr: MALCOLM X (19th May 1925 – 21st February 1965)

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Today, is a day that I hold close to heart, because it was exactly half a century ago that Malcolm X got slain. And yes, it was only 9 days before his actual assassination that he was in our neck of the woods back in England, with the aim to fight the universal injustice perpetuated on the African Diaspora.

The quality that Malcolm had that most leaders lacked, regardless of their colour, was that he was capable of being analytical and critical of his own comments and beliefs.

In other words, he was capable of admitting if he was wrong.

Leaders of today and of yesteryear are controlled too much by arrogance, stubborness and egotism, yet they are all more than willing to lead the world down the wrong path.

A big up to Spike Lee, who directed the incredible film, Malcolm X, back in 1992. Strange, but according to todays conditions, that film will forever stand the test of time.

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“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”  - Malcolm X

An Apology from Alabama?

Hail Mi Irieites,

Here we see a new twist on Jim Crow in Alabama.

The journalist makes an important point:

“In the ultimate irony,  Americans’ embrace of the victim in the Alabama case seems to have everything to do with the fact that he was a foreigner—and not a black man, as the police had initially believed. These sympathies, coupled with authorities’ vow for swift justice, delineate the hierarchy and complexity of race in America.”

Ferguson will not be forgotten. >> Read more

Natty to Hattie: Our 2015 Tribute to Hattie Carroll (via the legendary Bob Dylan)

It’s been 52 years since the slaying of the hotel kitchen worker in Baltimore, MD, known as Hattie Carroll. Her name became very popular due to the meager punishment her perpetrator received, the following six months later.

It was Bob Dylan that made a difference being a voice against the racism in those days by writing his song based on this incident called, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.

We, Steel Pulse, have honoured the efforts of Bob Dylan by doing our own rendition of his song, which we have titled: From Natty to Hattie.

Hattie Carroll’s name will forever live on because her case was one of the many cases where Justice was not served. Anyway, checkout our updated version of the track. A big up, too to any of Hattie’s surviving family members.

Bless Up Mr. Dylan…

William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke – A Year Has Passed

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It’s a year today since one of the greatest voices from out of Jamaica, went on to sing exclusive for Jah…. William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke.

We tip our crowns to the legendary Third World band that have been among our selected influences. Cat, Ruption, Richie, Herbie, Rupert, A J Brown and anyone else we might have left out, keep up the solidarity my brethrens, ’cause the race is not for the swift but those who endure. In other words you are winners!!

MLK – Forward, Now More Than Ever!

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Once again, as we observe another officially holiday in Honour Of Dr Martin Luther King. A year from now will be the 30th anniversary since such a legislation was signed. Come March 21st 2015, it will be the 50th anniversary when the “non-violent” march started in Selma and ended in Montgomery, a grueling four days later as protest in regards to the non-voting rights of the African American. The bill was finally signed on August 6th, 1965.

And I must say, that this new film titled “Selma,” came right on time. This movie is a “must see,” especially by all Americans. I tip my crown to the efforts of director, Ava DuVernay, producer and executive producers, Oprah Winfey and Brad Pitt, and the entire cast for bringing such an important part of history to light. Well Done, y’all!

Last but by no means least, my condolences to the wife and family of my dear brethren Michael Livingston, from Costa Rica. Such sad news to hear of his passing. Keep Strong Kathya! Remember, you have friends from across the waters.