Category Archives: History

September 11 Rememberances

Greetings once again, Mi Irieites.

Today, September 11, 2014 holds many anniversaries, of which the more recently commonly known and remembered is the destruction of almost 3,000 people in the World Trade Centre, back in 2001, thirteen years ago.

But there has been much more events that have took place on this day.

To begin with, may I say, “Happy New Year” to all Ethiopians at home and abroad. I trust your days be prosperous and fruitful towards yourselves, the rest of Africa and the world.

Let’s not forget Peter Tosh who lost his life this day, 27 years ago. We cannot afford to lose his message of freedom in this day and age.

If you are biblically inclined and thirst for knowledge, well, this was also the day the prophet John The Baptist was beheaded. His teachings were as sweet as the honey he ate.

Least we not forget, Steve Bantu Biko, who should be proclaimed a National Hero of the New South Africa, for it was this day also, back in 1977, that he was brutally tortured and killed in the fight for freedom. Today, I present to you the beginnings of a portrait of this “Legendary Lionheart.”

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And while we are on the subject of South Africa; last and by no means least, this day September 11th 2014 shall be remembered in my mind as the day Oscar Pistorius gets an acquittal for the homicide of model Reeva Steencamp. Yes, the man walks (no pun intended). The world never ceases to amaze me.

Scotland will be proclaimed independent any day now, but we must not forget the efforts of another rebel eight centuries ago, William “Braveheart,” Wallace, whose conquest at the Battle of Stirling Bridge made him a household name among the British. That conquest took place on this day as well.

Like I said, it’s Love and Justice Thru Music.

The March Goes On

Greetings Mi Irieites,

Today, 28th August 2014 is the 1st anniversary of the 50th anniversary “March On Washington,” initially orchestrated by Dr Martin Luther King.  I was proud to make my exodus to be present at the occasion.

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But what is equally as significant is that today is also the anniversary of the killing of Emmett Till (25th July 1941-28th Aug 1955), which took place almost 60 years ago.

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Emmett, who was barely age 14 coming from Chicago, spent only a week in Money, Mississippi when he was murdered by a group of extremists that owned a local grocery store.  His alleged crime was that he “whistled at a white woman,” who was one of the store owners.

Although several lynching and brutal murders took place over the years prior to this incident, it was the barbaric torture and ultimate shooting of this youngster that had us all from the Diaspora, looking in the direction of seeking Justice for any unjustifiable slayings of black youths, especially when perpetuated on “racist grounds.”

We are living in times where history has no reason to be repeating itself.

In the meantime, we lift our “crowns and hats” to George Jackson, whose anniversary killing was exactly a week ago (21st August 1971).

It’s “Love And Justice thru Music.”

Marcus Garvey: Blessed!

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Yes Mi Irieites,

It was exactly a year ago I made my first visit to the headquarters and home (53 Talgarth Rd), of the Right Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Today on the 127th anniversary of his birth, I extended my tribute by paying a visit to the house where he was actually born, in St Ann’s Bay, Jamaica.

This pilgrimage was enlightening. I am still amazed that it was from here in JA where this man, who is now such a powerful icon, started his journey from humble beginnings, and then went on to shake up and wake up the Diaspora. So much similarities to John the Baptist.  But unlike John, he was allowed to keep his head.

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So as we Rally Round the Red, Gold, Black and Green, let us think of all the soldiers along the way that have created a path for us to continue to walk with our heads high through the gates of freedom.

Bless!

Jamaican Independence Day: The 52nd Anniversary

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On this day in 1962, Jamaica brought down the Union Jack, and became an independent country.   From the Arawak to the Taino, through the Spanish and British colonizations, our history makes us sensitive to the quest for justice – not just for the oppressed on the Rock, but all people who are kept down across the world.

Steel Pulse stands with the spirit of Jamaica.  Yes, Jamaicans can be proud of our contribution to the arts, culture, music, and sports.  But there is much left to do. The answer has always been the people, and we long for a true democracy – one that includes all of us under the black, green and gold.

Jamaica, Forward!

H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I – Earthstrong Thanks & Praise

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Born on July 23, 1892, Ejersa Goro, Ethiopia, H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie is a continual inspiration for Steel Pulse and millions around the globe.  We search for the truth and hunger for justice in his name.  To commemorate  His Majesty’s birthday, LIFE presents photos from H.I.M.’s  historic 1966 trip to the Caribbean.

The Lion of Judah breaks every chain.

Selah.

 

5 Years On: Remembering Michael Jackson

Hail Mi Irieites,

I’ve been reflecting on Michael Jackson and his artistic legacy.  He was a true son of music and a dedicated artist whose work we are only just beginning to appreciate.  The Michael Jackson experience was a result of his passionate love for music, for dance, for truth and justice.  It was Michael himself who said that he felt that art was the union of the physical with the spiritual.

Here is a clip of a rehearsal:

Michael truly was an unstoppable force, a talent few have ever seen in the world. When I see or hear the outtakes of his work, I feel a real sense of loss – for what might have been.  Still, we are blessed to have had him trod with us at all.

“Play the music, he cyan’t dead.”

Jah Bless.

P.S. – if you missed it, take a look at Spike Lee’s documentary.

Juneteenth: Freedom Day in the USA

Hail Mi Irieites,

I trust you’ve taken time out to acknowledge Juneteenth which is celebrated on the 19th of June since 1865. It commemorates the day when slavery’s abolition was put into its true effect despite the fact, that the Emancipation Proclamation was declared 30 months before, in 1865.

Here are the details:

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

So here is a day of true liberation that we will never forget.

Blessings to you all….

Farewell Mother Sister

Hail Mi Irieites,

Let’s take a minute to pause and remember Ruby Dee – civil rights activist first and actress second.

Dee and her late husband Ozzie Davis were well-known civil rights activists.  She was a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Both Dee and Davis were both friends of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, with Davis giving the eulogy at Malcolm X’s funeral in 1965. In 1970, she won the Frederick Douglass Award from the New York Urban League. In 1999, Dee and Davis were arrested at the headquarters of the New York Police Department, protesting the police shooting of Amadou Diallo.

Steel Pulse were honored to share a moment where our lives intersected – through Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing.

Bless you Mother Sister… R.I.P.

 

A Visit to Pearl Harbor

Yes Mi Irierites, 

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With a day to spare before our next gig in Honolulu, we were fortunate to get the opportunity to see the historical memorial at Pearl Harbor.  I say fortunate, because since our very first visit to Hawaii, back in 1986, there has never been a relaxing moment to take time out and make this visit.
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Collectively speaking, we thought it would be a real shame if we were ever to mention to our children and grand children that we have been coming to Hawaii for almost 30 years and have never seen the site that experienced such a catastrophic event which the USA still regards, even to this day, as one of the most significant of events in their almost three century history.Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 1.19.07 AM
It was an enlightening observation.  Being here, had me connecting the dots on how the world was at that time.  Not that anything has really changed over the decades, but it showed me how hungry countries were in the struggle for power.  With Japan wanting China and the rest of Asia, Europe wanting all of Africa, and Russia’s spread of Communism, all of this created the inevitability of war.  It is no wonder that the legacy of imperialism and racism is what it is today.
Anyway, with 2,341 dying during the incident on Dec 7th, 1941, many that have survived have chosen to be buried among those that lost their lives that day.  The most recent joined the ranks in 2013.
Eight known survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack are still alive.  Two have already pointed out that when they die they wish to be buried among the rest of the victims.
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“All we are saying, is give peace a chance” – John Lennon.