Dr Lez – 30 Reggae tunes

The tunes I have selected speak to different aspects of our struggles against white domination, in a language that is owned and controlled by the people. This is important because ‘knowledge gives us the power to enslave or liberate’, during BHM and beyond.

I myself refused to partake in BHM for much of the 90s into the new millennium, because many of the events were compromised, more so if they were funded by the local councils: which they should be. At one such event I witnessed Irish folk dancers and couldn’t fathom the link. However, during BHM 2003, I was invited to a secondary Catholic Girls’ school in South London where I had, let’s say, an epiphany during a special assembly.

 

I’ll never forget how the majority black students literally sunk in their seats, when they realised that Dr Henry, their main speaker, was a dread. Now anyone who is used to delivering these sessions, is probably used to this reaction, but what I experienced was different; it felt like an outpouring of collective shame. So instead of delivering my full presentation I spoke for a while on the notion of shame and then played them a couple of tunes, the content of which became the basis for discussion. They are featured in the 30 I have selected below, which are some of my favourites due to their poignant messages (Nicodemus is in there because he was my favourite deejay).

The first tune I played as part of my epiphany (well I showed them the video from the BBC archive), was ‘Ku Klux Klan’ by Steel Pulse (1978), where some of the band wore white hoods. I over emphasised the introduction where David Hinds said, “This one now, right, straight at the National front, and straight to the head of the Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke.” I explained to them how powerful and unprecedented this performance was. I told them I remembered how everyone was talking about how clever the tune was to link the treatment that Africans/blacks were facing in the UK, to the most identifiably racist group on the planet. In fact, they perhaps should re-release it in light of what is happening in the USA and the UK right now, with Trump and Brexit emboldening the rife racists once again.

The second tune I played was by Macka B ‘The Effects of Slavery’(2000) and I got all in attendance, including the teachers, to recite the last line with me “what’s wrong with us, was the black holocaust not so serious?” After we finished reasoning through the lyrical content of the tunes, the same students who were cowed upon my arrival were sitting upright, enthused and uplifted, because I explained to them I have no time to berate white people and even less time to wallow in misplaced and misguided shame. I chose the medium of reggae music because that is a font of my knowledge, perhaps also my number one source of education about the black/African global struggles for liberation when I was in my youth. The tunes I have selected speak to different aspects of our struggles against white domination, in a language that is owned and controlled by the people. This is important because ‘knowledge gives us the power to enslave or liberate’, during BHM and beyond.

Peace and blessings

Dr Lez

  1. Flesh of My Skin – Keith Hudson
  2. The Promise Land – The Royals
  3. Black Man Time – I Roy
  4. Armageddon – General Echo
  5. Revolution – Dennis Brown
  6. Slave Master – Gregory Isaacs
  7. True God – Sizzla
  8. I Shall Sing – Marcia Griffiths
  9. Heart of a Lion – Shabba Ranks
  10. Til’ I’m laid to Rest – Buju Banton
  11. So Jah Seh – Bob marley and the Wailers
  12. Black Woman – Judy Mowatt
  13. Bone man Connection – Nicodemus
  14. The Effects of Slavery – Macka B
  15. Guidance – Nerious Joseph
  16. Mi God Mi King – Papa Levi
  17. African Tears – Peter Hunnigale
  18. African Story / African Glory – Mikey General
  19. English Gal – Sister Audrey
  20. Mr DC – Sugar Minnott
  21. Ku Klux Klan – Steel Pulse
  22. Bobby Babylon – Freddie McGregor
  23. She’s My Lady – The Administrators
  24. Prophecy – Fabian
  25. Equal Rights – Peter Tosh
  26. To Be Poor is a Crime – Still Cool
  27. Poor and Humble – Wayne Wade
  28. Warrior Stylee – Mikey Dread
  29. Swarm Me – Anthony B
  30. Why Worry – Israel Vibration

 

 

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