Hail Mi Irieites,
As we celebrate the life of Dr. Maya Angelou, we must cherish her strength, her voice, and her commitment to justice. The news of her death was, in her own words, “expected, but still unwelcome.”
And so it is with all leaders of the Earth. Their passing leaves a hole in the world, one that is never quite filled.
The title of her most famous work - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings comes from a poem by Paul Dunbar, the son of parents who had known the injustice of slavery:
I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,
When he beats his bars and would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings –
I know why the caged bird sings.
It is easy to let the desperate troubles of the world drag us down, but Dr. Angelou is an inspiration for us all to never get weary – doing Jah Work.
Here she is with Malcolm-X in Ghana all those years ago:
And here are a few quotes from this Queen of the Arts:
- “I still get excited about any human being speaking or singing.”
- “There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.”
- “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
- “When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language. I’m trying to see how it can really sound.”
- “The main thing in one’s own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry.”
- “All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.”
- “The best candy shop a child can be left alone in is the library.”
- “I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music.”
- “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
- “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.”
We were truly blessed to have had her here fighting for us all. The caged bird is free at last. Farewell, and rise!
Yes Mi Irieites,
Here it is as promised, a portrait of Malcolm X, finished in time for what would have been his 89th birthday. If you have been following this, I had put up the preliminary sketch Feb 21st 2014 and did promise to have something presentable for this day.
I know I will get a few slagging offs from those who are defensive about this individual, but that is how life rolls sometimes. Just enjoy that I’m enjoying getting into other areas in my leisure time.
“Put away the misconception
That he came to teach us hate
So wake up from your sleep and slumber
Wake up before its too late”
In the meantime, Steel Pulse gives a shout to others born on this day May 19th: Grace Jones and Rohan “The Coffee Man” Marley.
And guess who I shall be painting next…
Hail Mi Irieites,
Sometimes the art of the writer creates a world bigger, bolder, and brighter than the one we live in. Such was the case with Gabriel Garcia Marquez – the Colombian exile who was first a journalist and then one of the greatest writers who ever lived. What impresses me most is his commitment to the truth and speaking the truth for all. It was Marquez who said that he wanted governments to care about poor people, and that was what he was looking at when he evaluated a nation’s soul. He made friends in high and low places, uniting people across the planet through the shared love of his art. That was his greatest achievement, and that is what artists have always aspired to. You will live forever, Gabo.
Here is the last fragment from One Hundred Years of Solitude: “… races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”
I confess I must read more of his work, as should we all. “Love and justice through literature” – that was Marquez.
Yes, Mi Irietes,
Today, April 7th 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of one of the saddest days in African history. It was the beginning of the Rwandan Civil War that lasted a good part of 100 days. It was estimated that a total exceeding 800,000 people were massacred during that time. That’s just about 20% of the population of which 70% of were of the Tutsi tribe; one of the three main tribes in the country.
The war started when an aircraft carrying the Rwandan President, Juvenel Habyriman and the Burundi President, Cyprien Ntaryamira, both from the “Hutu’ tribe was shot down a day before, while attempting to land in the capital, Kigali. Both Presidents and their delegates were all killed. And although things have been brewing between the Hutu and the Tutsi tribe for several decades, this was believed to be the catalyst that triggered off this genocide in 1994.
But this horror will also be remembered for the moral blindness of the UN, the USA and Great Britain. History condemns these nations for standing by and watching – without action. France too is condemned for giving their moral support to the governing Hutu faction, who carried out this genocide.
What was even more sad to remember, were the thousands prisoners that paid their captors to shoot them as oppose to be cut to pieces by their captors with a machete. The movie “Hotel Rwanda,” starring Don Cheadle, just cannot compare to the harsh reality that took place 20years ago.
Like I said …”It’s time to sip from the cup of peace, let’s strive for racial equality,”
Peace Party. Rwanda has made great strides and is rising from the ashes. But we – all humanity – must never forget. Love over Hate.
Hail Mi Irieites,
With more tributes out there, we pay our respects to David Koff, film director of “Blacks Britannica.” David Koff, who died just over a week ago, age 74, was said to have had bouts of depression, ultimately taking his own life.
You will be missed, David, because you spoke up for justice when few had the courage. We salute you and your work.
“Blacks Britannica” is a documentary that came out in 1978, depicted the social, political and racial issues throughout the UK at that time. This film became so controversial that it was banned from the UK for many years. Before it was made, not many outside Britain were aware of the plight and hardships faced by Caribbean migrants struggling to survive in a harsh England.
Our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. Your spirit will be with us always. Selah.
(David and his producer was kind enough to offer any footage for us to use in the Steel Pulse film/ documentary which is now due for a late summer release.)
Yes Mi Irieites,
Here we are on the two year anniversary of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. Martin’s parents are still fighting courageously for justice – in this unsafe climate created by the unjust “Stand Your Ground” law. Steel Pulse issues this video on the second anniversary of the slaying of Trayvon as a plea for justice for all mankind:
We will never forget. Forward ever.
Hail Mi Irieites,
Before the day’s out on this 49th anniversary since his slaying, I promised myself that I would start a portrait of Malcolm X. Here it is… wish me luck on the finishing line!
Hail Mi Irieites, this is a day to remember.
On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was preparing to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom when someone in the 400-person audience yelled “Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket!” As Malcolm X and his bodyguards attempted to quiet the disturbance, a man who was seated in the front row rushed forward and shot him once in the chest with a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun. Two other men charged the stage and fired semi-automatic handguns, hitting Malcolm X several times.He was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm, shortly after arriving at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. The autopsy report showed 21 gunshot wounds to the chest, left shoulder, and arms and legs, of which ten were buckshot wounds from the initial shotgun blast.
More on Wikipedia…
Half the story has never been told. Selah!
Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Grenada’s Independence from Britain. If you can remember, I wrote an in-depth blog on their most recognised Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop, who was executed back in October, 1983. So Grenada, the island of the best spices, a BIG UP to this incredible milestone.
Sorry to be the bearer of this sad news in this 2014. Bunny Rugs, the lead singer of Third World was pronounced dead a few hours ago. He had a long bout of cancer.
Only 3 days short of his 66th birthday, this man was not only one of reggae’s biggest voices but also a dear friend of ours. We will be paying tribute to this icon who has left an incredible legacy behind.
To Cat, Richie, Ruption and the rest of the crew, our heartfelt condolences.