Hail Mi Irieites,
Middleweight boxer, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, became quite a controversial figure in the mid-70s thanks to icons like Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan. Born May 6th 1937 in Clifton New Jersey (a mere 6 weeks before Joe Louis became Heavyweight Champion of the World), Carter, after serving a series of time in Juvenile centres, joined the US army at an early age. It was in the army that he became an active pugilist, going on to turn professional by age 24.
Unfortunately, his career was stopped in its tracks in June 1966, when the authorities wrongfully accused him of a triple murder that took place in a bar in Patterson (not Floyd), New Jersey. And although he was not identified by the survivors of the shooting, a trial took place the following year finding him and a friend that was with him at the time of his arrest, guilty. There he was -sentenced to life imprisonment.
Carter and his supporters contested the sentence over the years. Finally there was light at the end of the tunnel when the judge declared him a free man, in November 1985.
But like l said, it was the likes of Ali and Dylan that brought home to the nation the injustice served on this individual. Carter wrote a book during his incarceration in 1975 titled “The 16th Round.” Dylan read it and wrote a song called “Hurricane,” of which he went on to perform it at the Trenton State Prison; the prison where Carter himself, was “residing.”
In 1999, Denzel Washington starred as Hurricane Carter, a film of the boxer’s journey to freedom from behind bars. By this time Rubin Carter was already living in Canada and, talk about lightening striking twice, he was arrested once again. Only this time he was mistaken for a drug dealer wanted by the authorities. They realised their mistake when they acknowledged that Carter, then aged almost 60, was not in his mid 30’s like the suspect they were looking for.
Once again, I have lucked out on meeting this incredible person. But his quest for survival through the injustice will always stay with me. Rubin went on to be quite an active speaker at many events. He earned himself, among other things, two honorary Doctorates of Law, in 2005. Steel Pulse announced his death yesterday evening while performing to our fans in Vail, Colorado. The “Hurricane” passed after a two-year fight with prostate cancer. He was 76 years old. We share our love and condolences with his friends, families and the supporters that believed in his innocence.
Hail Mi Irieites,
Though still out of action, I just had to take a few moment to think of Marvin Gaye, struck down 30 years ago today. I was fortunate to have seen him many years ago back in England at the American Embassy. It was not long after that he made his comeback hit, “Sexual Healing.” Not many acts can get a second chance of success, but Marvin certainly did ’til the tragedy happened.
His biography, Divided Soul - was a real eye-opener. I read it the moment it came out. While studying it, one could clearly see that he was destined to be killed by his father. As a matter of fact the gun that killed him was actually a Christmas present he had given to his father, Marvin Senior. An epic tragedy on every level.
May his children continue to be proud of the songs this man has produced for mankind.
More here >>
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.
Yes Mi Irieites,
Today, 12th January 2014, marks the 4th anniversary since the earthquake struck Haiti, killing more that 250,000 people and leaving over a million still homeless.
So far, out of the $9 billion US, that was promised by the “International Community,” only a small portion has been bestowed to the country, of which a good percentage of that went towards emergency aid as oppose to reconstruction. If it was not for the tremendous effort of the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Australia and the many small business’ coming from out of America, that have volunteered their services, Haiti would still be in the quagmire just as the day the catastrophe to place. So President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Lamothe, still have a lot on their plates serving the almost 500 tent camps scattered all over the stricken vicinity. Please excuse me for any countries that have made major contributions that I have not listed or we are not aware about. It would be good if you the fans can give me an update on that.
As you already know, that we have been supportive of the situation ever since by donating a song we wrote immediately after the incident while recording in Jamaica called, “Hold On [4 Haiti].” This we’ve awarded as a digital download to raise funds for Partners In Health (PIH) to erect solar panels by S.E.L.F (Solar Electric Light Fund). We were fortunate enough to perform in Haiti 2 years ago and visit one of the hospitals being supplied, 2 hours north of the capital, Port au Prince.
We thank you for being part of this…
“I believe you have to be true to people. You have to be writing something that people understand but, at the same time, something that’s profound enough to have meaning past, say, the six o’clock news.” - Amiri Baraka
Born in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey, Amiri Baraka (Le Roi Jones) gained international stature as a poet, dramatist, essayist, and political activist. He became a leader in the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s. Much of his work considers the political situation of people of color in capitalist America.
R.I.P., brave soul, for speaking when most held their tongues. Our condolences to your loved ones and all who knew you as a friend. In controversy you still made us think. Most of all, you were an optimistic revolutionary.
At the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean there’s a
railroad made of human bones.
from Wise, Why’s, Y’z (Africa Section)
Hail Mi Irieites,
The Steel Pulse Family is consumed with sadness to learn of the tragic loss of Faybiene Miranda, the dear wife of our dear brother Cliff ‘Moonie’ Pusey.
Few could compare to her. She stood for all that is good – the love of words, education, meaning and yes, the future. She was a true revolutionary – full of love and hope for the next generation. She was the godmother of my daughter – Shashamane.
Moonie, we can’t begin to imagine what you are feeling, but let us share our heart-felt condolences.
Take a few minutes, Mi Irieietes, to listen:
Prophecy – her song was banned in Jamaica: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-phUA8P1wuw
A Poem for My Godmother by Shashamane
You were my godmother
The one God chose for me
You brought kindness
You are my definition
My explanation of
You will always be
My jewel and treasure,
My universe, My all;
With little effort
A marvellous poet
A wonderful woman
Great and adoptive mother to all
Because of you,
I will now find
New territories of
Yes Mi Irieites,
Sadly to say that we just lost another legend in boxing history; Ken Norton (Aug 9, 1943- Sept 18, 2013).
A few months ago while the Pulse were in Las Vegas, we were scheduled to meet Leon Spinks, which did actually materialise. However, there was also a schedule to meet Ken Norton. Unfortunately he had other commitments out of town that day, so what was gonna be a tremendous photo shoot never took place. That would have been with us standing in between the second and third guy to have beaten my hero, Muhammad Ali. Now this moment can be created in my dreams.
There had been so much rumours floating around at the time on how Ken managed to make that fight happen with Muhammad, back in 1973. That was the year of upsets too, ’cause it was also that year Joe Frazier got annihilated by George Foreman, down on “The Rock,” a place better known as Jamaica.
Come to think of it, Norton and Frazier had a similar, awkward, yet unique fighting style. Both boxers had a fighting stance that had their arms slightly crossed and were always pushing forward towards the opponent throwing power punches from the most bizarre of angles; a style that must obviously have had Ali wearing his “padded thinking cap.” After all, he did lose to both these guys.
Ken Norton, who had just turned 70 before he died, I would say, had the best physique in his era. It was the kind of physique one sees when viewing a Michelangelo sculpture. No doubt, it would have been a contributing factor for him getting the leading role in the film “Mandingo.”
Ken, if you wrote a book out there, I want to read it. I am sure there are quite a few more events and issues where you must have broken the mold.
Maximum raspect to all friends, fans and family… R.I.P!!
Hail Mi Irieites,
50 Years ago, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. uttered these words on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial >> Join I tomorrow in DC. Now is the Time!
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”