With all of the rhetoric and opinions about the inclusion of reggae music in this country as a part of the fabric of the mainstream, there is information available to those who seek the truth of the situation.
Through conversation with ‘anyone’ within the genre and further discussion with Toronto Reggae’s Jason McLean who provided all of the visuals used here, “Canada deliberately blocks black culture, especially reggae music” is a topic raised hundreds of times. HUNDREDS! Yet like most things, the participants of the conversation have a programmed acceptance of their situation.
As usual, where white people rule, black humans have this sense of futility, as we throw up our hands in the air as it pertains to doing anything about our plight in life, including our music. Canadian white society has the unique ability to smile in your face as it deliberately removes your rights as a human and tell you that “it’s just the way that it is”. Their lack of respect for black people is only surpassed by their elitism and sense of entitlement.
Mary Margret McMahon is my poster child for these people. This racist white councillor tried to sabotage Afrofest, a long standing festival celebrating African culture to the world. It is easily one of the most fun things to do in the summer time for over a decade. I wished it was still at Queen Park, but whatever! This racist white woman, based on 8, EIGHT complaints, pushed hard to reduce the festival from two days down to one. This one racist white woman is still in her function as a councillor for her Ward. She is a tip of the racist, governmental iceberg which goes right to the prime minister’s office.
Yeah, many screamed and yelled and got the festival back to two days but the fact that this deeply racist white woman could threaten to half the festival time at her whim is beyond me. White privilege makes others blind to what exactly she did wrong. “She’s a councillor? She has a right to make decisions? It was about noise complaints, not a racist issue!” That’s the bullshit white rhetoric and only entitled donkeys are confused about why it is disrespectful.
Fact: The same sound company works for the Toronto Jazz Festival! How come no noise complaints there?
No one is trying to limit the length of time of the jazz festival? One need not ask why! One festival is viewed as a black thing while the other (jazz) has assimilated well as a white thing, even though we are all aware of the black origins of jazz music. It is all about perception.
No one questions Mary Margret McMahon! Her superiors of John Tory, Kathleen Wynne nor Justin Trudeau haven’t any issue with this racist councillor. They are all one family! These people support, protect and endorse this racist behavior.
Whenever these folks tell you about music councils and advisory boards, they actually believe, based on their elitist history that we actually believe that they will make change to black music or even bringing up the term, “diversity in music” is an oxymoron where they let you know that your music is “diverse” and we are trying to include it to ‘ours’.
For the musician and fan, music is music. Blues, jazz, reggae, country, house, rock, hip hop and others is “music”. Not a diversity situation! Everything is music to us. ‘They’ spend their time trying to come up with ways to pat themselves on their backs and make useless committees to pay more white people to come up with solutions for ‘music diversity’ issues but as you can plainly see, all of the money is to hire more servants to their system. NOTHING comes to the artists or the genre! They make committees to appease themselves so that they can say that they are working on things. Give the committee the name of the thing that you are working on so that you can tell black humans, “see we are working on things”.
Anyone remember the term / word multiculturalism? Best racist joke ever!
Another example (poster boy for white elitism) today is Councillor Jim Karygiannis of Ward 39 who wanted to ban Beyonce from coming to this country because her back up dancers wore costumes glorifying the Black Panther movement. After racist boy got called out and like the snakey politician that he is, he denied saying it and would probably swear today that he said no such thing. Most all racists are cowards!
For those other white Canadians that Jimmy Boy was trying to ‘protect’ from a group that many black people globally, including myself, glorify with pride, as the Panthers protected black communities from racist white policemen going around abusing and murdering black youth. What’s Jimmy Boy saying? He supports the shooting of black males? That would not surprise me. I wonder what the statistics are like in his ward as it pertains to incidents with the police for the black citizens there. ‘Government’ won’t look into that. Interesting that Jimmy Boy’s educational system didn’t inform him on the real story about the Black Panthers and their role in the militant protection of human and civil rights.
“Fellow councillor Giorgio Mammoliti agreed that her performance was “distasteful” and that her subtle message wasn’t all that subtle.”
This is 2016 and these are only three examples of white supremacist behavior in the lowest level of Canadian government. I wonder how deep this goes. Heck, we all already know. It permeates through the entire society! I have white “friends” and acquaintances that I can hang with in their environment but they would be uncomfortable and afraid if they were to hang with black lions I was chilling with. That’s a fact!
It has to be said for those who know me, who the world call white, Jules will always love you. I have those people I have met here over the last forty years whom I have deep love for and them for me. The love is unquestioned! They have already heard me rant and say all of this shit around them. They are used to me. We all see a truth and whether one accepts or denies it, that truth is always undeniable when observed by all, no matter station in life or color of skin.
It is always that uncomfortable silence because none of us wants to address it... Again!
I have no fear of dealing with this issue. I left the corporate environment so that I could do this and speak freely. If I was still employed there, they probably would have found a way to fire me in an attempt to shut me up. Now I can speak freely because for all of her faults Canada does allow freedom of speech and there are some who have the ability and capacity for positive change. It is them that I am trying to reach. The one or two who are real and enlightened enough to call their fellow white citizens on their bigotry and to deal with all people in a respectful manner. A human. A humanitarian. Not many do exist.
My mom always says, “Julian, you can catch far more flies with honey than you can with vinegar” and she is one hundred percent correct with that statement. Yet I ain’t trying to “catch” any of these bigoted fellows, I am pointing out undeniable examples that many folks are already aware of. There are hundreds of years of examples. Repeating them is a useless distraction that continues to work to this very day. I am not distracted!
“Stop doing and do!”
Get er done dude!
I love that statement. “One is either doing a thing or one is talking.”
Over fifty years of reggae in this country and its participants are still begging for scraps? “Aint nobody doing nothing!” Just talk and rhetoric! Hundreds of years of slavery have taught black humans to recognize the repeated behaviors through the decades and centuries and this one I know all too well.
There are some folks making some good money from reggae music as it pertains to festivals so you won’t hear them complaining.
Where there is a complete disconnect, is for Canadians performing within the genre in this country. There are no outlets for the Canadian reggae artist or the genre as a whole.
Our Ontario government spent the dollars to send Rob Ford (may he rest in Zion) down to Texas to find out why their festival / s are as successful with attendance and fiscal growth and the general consensus was that they invested in their local talent and that some of these folks actually earn a living from musical performance as well as sales opportunities to maintain a proper living.
Really? There’s a surprise! They had to spend our hard earned tax dollars for pomp and pageantry to come up with a ‘solution’ that they already had the answers for? Really? Another useless expense; airfare, accommodation, food, transportation for a politician is at least $5,000 - $10,000 (someone said $60,000) for that trip that already has an obvious solution!
Invest in your local talent
It is something that Canadian decision makers used to do yet doesn’t happen anymore. We were all diversely different yet celebrated reggae music together, no matter the differences. This actually used to happen back in the day. It isn’t that “they” don’t know or forgot how to do it, they are just better at posturing, making up committees, then making obvious recommendations, yet zero investment into the genre or the artists through paid performances or selling product, more interested in telling us, “we’re working on it.”
Fuck “working on it!”
Whatever the money you spent to send Rob Ford to Texas and back you can put in my bank account instead. I’ll promote positive reggae vibes and energy, conducive to the spiritual people that I like to hang out with. The paradox of being human is to live and speak passionately yet gravitate to a truth that guides your path. Many around me seek that energy and vibe.
Calculate the salaries of all of the people on any music committee / s, see what they earn hourly, multiply that by the hours that they meet, travel time to those meets, find that sum and give it to an artist, a producer, a studio, a restaurant promoting live musicians, once or twice a month and disband every fucking committee! Just give that fiscal support to the people directly and not another government committee!
NO ONE is interested in the findings of any committee when we already have the solution to the issue. Pay the people directly affected and slow down ‘government’.
Now, let’s be very clear. I am not holding my arms out waiting for a hand out. I have notoriously held jams and live performances over the years and still doing that to this very day! My belief in some of the talent here makes my choice an easy one.
I’m just sifting through the fuckery for some of my friends and ‘fans’. I spent a whole heap of words to blame government and useless committees yet in doing so, I shine the light of truth on myself as well. Whoever guaranteed me success in business trying to promote a genre that is not accepted by the country that I live in? What if I’m simply not a very good businessman? What if I’m not creative enough to sift my way through the myriad of obstacles before me? Who guaranteed anyone with success? Those are also hard truths that I face up to about my attempts or contribution. I’m doing something that I fulljoy and believe to be worth the time and effort. “Success” is subjective whether spiritual or fiscal and can there be a path to both at the same time.
Maybe I just don’t get it?
The responsibility of the reggae soldier is to ferret out the truth and shine a light on it. If the subject is chaste that becomes clear. If they are tainted that also shows itself.
The epitome of this horseshit happened in the summer 2016 where live performances occurred in Nathan Phillips Square at lunch time sponsored by TD bank.
The same TD bank that seems to be behind the financing of the North Dakota pipeline.
They paid a full band $400.00 for their hour long gig. FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS! For six adult musicians! That’s about 10 songs for the set, which can be about 3 hours rehearsal for each tune plus travelling time to rehearsals, gigs and studio time, times 6 members! Once cannot actually put a fiscal amount in a ratio to time and talent but I’m pretty sure $400.00 don’t cut it!
Ok, moving on…
Their thing is to show the Toronto community that TD bank has the artistic interest of its people at heart. Right!
Nobody pays a band $400.00 with the budgets these corporations have. Yet they pat themselves on the back because many of the bands are hungry enough for exposure and sales opportunities. (Same system at work as it pertains to their treatment of slaves). Corporations are experienced at enslaving whomever they wish. They have hundreds of years of practice and experience on their side! TD is glad to wave the musicians around showing their humanitarian side as well as their ‘support for the arts’.
Billions of dollars (one article quoted $37 billion by several banks and corporations) invested in raping Native people in North Dakota and $400.00 per band for the arts in the summer in Toronto.
Well, karma is an interesting thing. On one such day, they invited Toronto's own Afrobeat / Reggae band, The Fugitive Minds to perform, a very socially conscious group of young brothers whose songs and albums cry out against oppression and seeking a better world within their lyrical content and personal lives. Someone at City Hall should have done their homework and read the band’s lyrics before hiring these brothers in reggae to perform at the venue.
Jeremy Rempel, lead vox and guitar explained how the banking institution basically rapes the society in which we live by charging us to mint our own money as well as other sneaky corporate practices.
At the end of their performance, some City Hall official came down on Jeremy and the band and they were informed that "The Fugitive Minds will never play Nathan Philips Square ever again!"
Truth and righteousness make poor bedfellows for corporation profits yet a true reggae soldier speaks a truth when he or she is moved to do so and more often than not, the truth is always inconvenient to the corporation.
The few seconds of this song that I was able to capture is about homelessness. These youth care about the protection of the defenseless but is a prime example of this system that we are a part of. Take your $400.00 and STFU and be grateful that we gave you a chance to play.
None of these things are news to anyone.
I am grateful to be able to witness these things and write about them to you. There used to be such deep anger on my part about their two faced treatment of black lions in Canada (I'm a tad slow spiritually) but I grew up and recognize that:
1. These doughnuts do not affect my / our God given talent / s so all I gotta do is keep bringing it and
2. Any focus that I may have on them and their constant distractions, takes away my creativity of bringing this talent forward.
We must eliminate these pricks from being responsible for our path, goals, successes, self esteem or accolades. No man determines your worth but ourselves. Yes were are affected by positive and negative stimuli which may control our responses of pride in self or shame yet the choice of how to respond is always on me, you, anyone, everyone.
I am calling on all music soldiers, no matter genre; create a movement of music to the people. No one needs a government or a corporation for that. They will find their way to get their profits but they cannot stop us from playing our music.
I’m saying that these committees, government folks can take a break from figuring out a thing that has no one code or solution. The solution is outside the box and they are trying to use squares to figure out a circular thing. Leave that creative work to creative people and focus on helping TD Bank rape more Native souls.
An undeniable truth:
These images provided to us from the archives of Toronto Reggae www.torontoreggae.ca, shows a time when governments, corporate sponsors, mainstream radio stations and the Toronto community (Q107FM of all stations did reggae concerts) moved as one, and folks actually made a better living through music.
Click on the posters to expand and review.