Posts Tagged ‘music’

I recently read an article in Loop Jamaica, which was written by Karyl Walker, a journalist who is accredited, supposedly, for previously working with two or three renowned media houses in Jamaica.

Mr. Walker’s writing was in criticism and opposition to Member of Parliament and Health Minister, Christopher Tufton, who apparently believes that former convict and famed reggae artiste, Buju Banton, owes the Jamaican people some explanation regarding his arrest, charges and finding of guilt in the United States of America, before being deported back to Jamaica in late 2018.

As much as I am a long-standing fan of Buju Banton and could care less about his explanation, personally, I must disagree with the journalist for defending Buju Banton’s muted stance on the matter surrounding his deportation.

Unfortunately, a celebrity status tends to draw similar attention and responsibility as all other public figures.

Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, rose to fame on the support of people, who bought into the words of his music, whether it was “Boom bye-bye” or “It’s not an easy road”, people were led by the artiste throughout or during one of his two career phases.

In his heydays, Buju Banton sang about subjects such as “Batty Rider”, while leaning toward one area of the Jamaican culture and received full support from Jamaica, for his music, before crossing over to what was viewed as a sign of maturity and growth when he embraced Rastafarian and began portraying himself as a conscious and righteous individual in music.

Buju Banton took on a role as Shepherd, leading a flock out of darkness into a light, his lyrics were enlightenment to the dull and the ignorant as he philosophized, in music, under the light of a noble messenger.

Considering these facts, it is clear, in my opinion, whether Buju Banton owes the Jamaican people an explanation about his incarceration.

Of course, he does. He is a celebrity, he is a public figure, he chose to be a servant to the people.

People wants to know whether or not he was framed and sent to prison, falsely, under the US famed monotonous cycle of locking up innocent people or whether he had misled his fans into believing that he was a truly converted and righteous Rastafarian.

It is clear that if he has deceived the people with his image and music, he faces the loss of his fan base, but of no consolation, Buju Banton would not be the first celebrity to fall from grace, shamefully; either way, in respect of his audience, he should not remain mute on the matter.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2019


Pencil Art of Rapper Kanye West by Artist/Illustrator Tina Sebàs of ArtPees (2018).

Although I am not a U.S. national nor citizen, being born in the Caribbean, on the Continent of America, entitles me as an American; a nationality which has often been misinterpreted as solely belonging to the U.S.A. and not the other remaining 52 countries.

Still, when the term ‘Black Americans’ is tossed around, I usually disassociate myself and allow it to point at the intended black people in the U.S.

The U.S.A. tries to claim the nationality ‘American’ clearly because, unlike the other 52 countries in the Americas, the United States of America does not have an individual name. This could be because it is a landlocked mass, rumored to have been stolen, by Europeans, from the Red Indians (a.k.a. Native Americans), who look more like Mexicans, who were spawned from the Arawaks and whose bloodline still lingers in a lot of the Caribbean people, today.

Considering that theory, the land mass, which is today called U.S.A. belongs more to the South Americans and Caribbean People than any other.

But over the course of centuries, trickery and politics have played their ways successfully to this era, where Black Americans are crying for help and a presidential candidate’s slogan can state, “Let’s Make America Great Again”, with an undertone to suppress the rights and existence of its non-white inhabitants, and still succeed to presidency.

The United States of America has been the most colourful country for the year 2017. With the help of mainstream and social media, people worldwide, even those who weren’t formerly interested in politics, are able to see what appears to be the ugly truth of a nation, once deemed the world’s greatest.

The U.S.A. is now a divided place, and for the first time, as the usual war-readiness revs for external opponents, who are brandishing missile-abilities, feuds are also revving within its borders, and similarly to its renowned motion picture releases, the world is on edge with an anticipation that the U.S.A. is likely to be at war with itself, sooner than it will be with any other country.

A potential race war seems to be strengthening, daily, in the Unites States of America, as smart phones aid social media sites with more and more evidence of an increase in racial profiling and deadly attacks. In almost every case, it has been a black person versus a white police officer; disgusted by some and appreciated by others.

After contemplating on this, the slogan’s undertone, reported deaths and abuses, a dulling truth was revealed.

Black people in the U.S.A. are currently targeted and treated as if their whole existence, since the chains were broken, have solely represented being a menace to that society; an unfair stigma, where broadcasted footage shows a cockroach-like treatment, with an apparent goal set to eradicate or put them back in chains.

And, for an instant, I thought, “What if that wish was ever granted?”

“What if Black People in the United States of America were successfully removed?”

And not just ‘removed’ physically, but also taking with them, their contributed legacies.

“How great would the U.S.A. be then?”

The United States of America would be nothing without Black Americans; African Americans have enriched the U.S. culture with flavours that could never be attained without them.

A Country is just a land mass, nothing more; it is people, who add cultures to countries.

For example, Jamaica is a land known for its sunshine and white sand beaches, but let’s face it, Jamaica is not the only place on Earth with sun, sand and sea, but the warmth of its people, their welcoming and laid-back attitudes, foods, drinks, music, sports and other entertainments are what add flavours for Jamaica’s cravings.

So, imagine a United States of America without Black People and their music, their foods, their contributions to sports and fashion, their humour, their ideas and entrepreneurial spirits; moreover, imagine the U.S.A. without an era of Barack Obama, and what you will realize is that this inevitable tumble of the U.S.A., would have occurred a decade ago.

“The U.S.A.’s greatness once resonated, above all other countries, because of its apparent multi-racial fairness and unity.” – Ian T. Sebàs

© Ian T. Sebàs

© Ian T. Sebàs 2017

Some of my acts may have been misconceived
Seen as unkind and somewhat hard to believe
Friendships I have ended without declared
Family I have abandoned, in a manner of

All in effort to do myself some good
My morality remains misunderstood
Living my life by a discipline
To add distance between myself, foes, friends and kin

Anyone who threatens my survival
Instant severance to such an individual
No one is an exception to the rule
And for this, I rather to be seen as cruel

Loving some of my love ones, from a far
Accepting that my acts risk the wage of a war
A mad man, they say I am, with a complex mood
Forever being virtuous and misunderstood.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2016

Shape like a boomerang, Elma Crescent starts and ends with access to West Main Drive; at least the numbers that really mattered, when I was growing up there.

An approximate forty addresses, known better as yards, with nearly two hundred combined residents, and although we lived in our individual yards, in reality, the residents of Elma Crescent were like one big, gigantic family; everyone knew everyone, and at one point or another, all the mothers mothered all the children and all the fathers fathered all the children.

Respect, of course, went in the sequence of age, and like all family, there were often disagreements, feuds, fights and make-ups among various combinations of the residents.

On Elma Crescent we ate together, played together, laughed together and when there was a death, which from time to time did interrupt our livelihood, we mourn together.
I lived at No. 1, which was one of the few ‘big yards’ on Elma Crescent. A “Big Yard” is otherwise known as a tenement yard, which in actuality is one address with several individual houses within the property; No. 1 had three different houses, housing Miss Carmen, a quietly spoken woman, with a “I’m better than you” attitude; I think it was because she had been one of the few people, who, at the time, had previously lived overseas, Canada, I think.

She had a son and a daughter living with her, that was before Ver and Charlotte came to live with them, then there was Peter, who lived there with his mother and muted sister.

Also there was Min, Olga, Valerie and their brother, Young; altogether they had a few children, including Tony, Shane, Marlon and Kurt. They were blood relatives, who got along one minute then at each other’s throats the next. Very rarely, if ever, did they actually feud with anyone else outside of themselves, but like I said, they had their hands full with each other.

Valerie, whom I called Miss Valerie, out of respect, was the cutest of all, but she was also the most competitive; still, that’s for another story.

There were other people who lived at No.1, including Orette and another couple who had a baby, but they were quiet, for most part, so not much to say about them; including myself and my brother, who everyone nicknamed Sleng, because of his height, there were nineteen people at that address.
Next door at No. 3 was Miss Vi, her husband and their four children, Juliet, Bobby, Mushy and Christine. Miss Vi was deemed the mother of all mothers, for two reasons, (1) when she cooked, she never cooked only for her family of six, she prepared super large meals which were usually extended to other residents and (2) she had one of the few televisions, on Elma Crescent, a small black and white TV, which she occasionally put out in her back yard, for all the neighbourhood kids to watch.

Over at No. 5, another big yard, was also another family full house, there was Christopher nicknamed Buffalo, Conrad who we all called Con or Condozer, Annie, argumentative Jeanie, Speaky-spokey Patricia, who got that name from always adding unnecessary big words to her conversations, Carol, Ava, Sonia, Butty, who never seemed to age, Marcia, Bangy and his brother Byron; among them were a father/uncle and mother/aunt. And like the family at No. 1, they feud among themselves and often time with other residents too.

Feuds being loud enough for all the residents to hear was a normal thing for everyone on Elma Crescent.

At No. 7, was another small family, Tespah, his mother, father and I believed a little sister; the father was a cop. They mostly kept to themselves, but in the evenings when the sun went down, they all came out and briefly socialized.

No. 9 belonged to Dwayne, nicknamed Scrappy, his sister and mother, who spent more time in New York than at Elma Crescent, so it was not often that the home was occupied.
But next door to it, at No. 11 was like most of the other homes, there was Andrew and his brothers, Rohan and Philip, living with their mother who shared the home with her sister, Chick, who had two sons, Conroy and Adrian; Conroy died very young when he got hit by a vehicle while trying to cross Washington Boulevard.

I can’t quite recall who, if anyone, lived at No. 13 and 15 but at No. 17, another tenement yard was where Steve lived, with his Mother, Pam, and little brother and sister, Tony and Kerry-Ann.

Then there was “The Gutter”, a walkway which led to Washington Boulevard, a spot where we, the kids, mostly hung out before and after a game of football, and sometimes in the late evenings.

No. 19, was where the Pastor lived with his family. Oswald and his brother, who later got the nickname, Johnny Barnes, moved in, next door, at No. 21, with their mother and two sisters; the front of No. 21 was a home and the rare used as a church.
One of the sisters was sexually assaulted, on a summer job, got pregnant, had a baby and died shortly afterwards.

No. 23 belonged to the Sheddens, Stephanie, Sean, Philip and Joy; Plummy was always there, but I was never sure if she actually lived there. Next to the Sheddens was supposed to be No. 25, but remained an unfinished project.

Mad Marcus lived at No. 27 with his niece Angela, nephew Timmy, who went to Germany once and returned as a completely different person, plus his mother. Marcus was not actually insane, but because when angered he would come out on the street naked, we all agreed that he was mad; rumours of incest overshadowed that family.

And if my memory serves me right, Kadeesh, the only white boy in the neighbourhood, lived at No. 29; he was noticeably white, but he was considered to be one of us.
Cachie, who was rumoured to be a prostitute, lived at No. 31 with her mother, son and daughter. Her brother Lee, lived at the back and ran a radiator repair business from there. Cachie’s son, who we called Big Chief was stabbed and killed by his sister over an apple.

Herbie and Pat lived at No. 33 with their children. Herbie was the godfather for most of the boys in the neighbourhood, who offered apprenticeship to work in his auto repair shop which he operated from the back of his house. If it was not car engines and oil changes, it was music; Herbie’s second offered apprenticeship was music, where I gladly partake and developed a reputation as “King”.
No. 35 belonged to the Chambers, Donavon lived with his parents, younger brother, Tedroy, an older brother,Troy, and their sister.

And next to them lived Morant and relatives….. (to be continued as Elma CrescentThe Even Side.)

Ian T. Sebàs © 2016