Reggae in Apartheid Canada
The movie “The Matrix” affected so many because it is perceived as a ‘people’s rebellion’ against the establishment and seeing the world for what it is and living in reality as opposed to the horsecrap fed to us by “The Source” ~ every government on planet earth. Interesting at times how life imitates art or visa versa.
In my world of this Matrix, or as I see it clearly now as apartheid Canada = The Source, has us running on the hamster wheel, powering the system akin to batteries, paying our taxes and keeping the engine running. Yes I am blessed to be employed with an opportunity to pay my bills and live somewhat comfortably yet saying this does not make it any less of a reality or any less the truth.
Why Canadian apartheid?
Reggae musicians performing their craft in Canada are not even remotely a part of the Canadian music infrastructure! Major record labels here are responsible for selling American products to Canadian consumers. There are no programs set up to promote Canadian talent. No other genre gets any support either, yet reggae gets even less than those styles of music. Sure, sure, they’ll tell you about a Factor program set up to give thousands for making music ~ making albums and demos ~ yet will give hundreds for marketing, against the millions spent on major artists and no chance of getting radio airplay. So what’s the point?
Canadian Music Week has nothing for reggae music! NXNE nada! In over fifty years of performing / producing reggae music in Canada, there is no outlet that considers reggae as “Canadian”. Even as citizens we are still considered as Jamaicans with music indigenous to our land of birth. Some like me feel very much at home here yet know that we are not “Canadian” as it pertains to our art, as we seem to be constantly reminded of our heritage in very blatant as well as very subtle ways.
Being in this country for close to forty years now, one views things even more objectively, given a vast amount of information through the media and the real “truth” surfaces eventually.
I look at black owned night clubs to see how many have been around for thirty, to forty, to fifty years, successfully operating at a profit for any length of time and possibly franchising reggae like Tim Hortons or Canadian Tire. Quick answer...there are none! All face the harassment from the police or the LCBO as if we are supposed to accept this derogatory, degrading behavior. We do! We must accept it as there is no recourse in this apartheid Canadian regime.
Some who read this won’t buy into “apartheid Canada” because you are unaware that the form and structure for apartheid was created and developed here ~ called the Indian Act. Look it up if you don’t believe me ~ then taught to South Africa during the 1940s. Yes, The Indian Act is successful at keeping our native population / s placid, cooperative and pliable, which fortunately some are not; as they inform us of atrocities that they face and WE ALL turn a blind eye as the system of apartheid teaches us to ignore those who are non white. A painful truth that many white Canadians deny yet no less true!
Just ask yourself what you know or care about our native people? Apartheid systems are expert at ignoring those who they need to degrade.
This “system” is one where the degradation begins in a “third world” nation as our international businesses on our soil are owned and run by white and light skinned Jamaicans as well as Americans / Canadians / English interests that are also all white. Even in our own countries we black people own no banks, no hotels, no beaches, no bauxite companies, no sugar cane patches, no major corporations! We are easily made docile and compliant when we arrive in Canada, The U.S. or England as we are already used to serving white masters. Through the abject poverty, guns are introduced to scared, hungry, illiterate, desperate people by our own very corrupt politicians on behalf of white masters we learn to murder amongst ourselves.
Rastafari is not compliant!
Rastafari are truth seekers!
If reggae music is to progress in this base of apartheid, we must follow what the music does. Just play it! No need to seek accolades or “respect” from our apartheid white masters. Just play it and dance to it! Fulljoying it as a group as we always have.
Our constant need to blame someone else, apartheid, whitey or the system is also a part of our issue, stunting our own growth. We LOVE to make excuses for failure. Pointing out the apartheid system that is Canada is knowledge! Education! A focus on a hurdle! This ‘system’ is only a hurdle. Identifying and educating oneself or the community is necessary in order to get over, through, around or under it. In the past we have identified it then come to a full stop, allowing ourselves to just shrug our shoulders and quit. Come to a full stop, hence the music has never been elevated here in Canada.
It took me close to forty years to figure this out! I have much respect for a few performers of reggae music in this country and have been encouraging a “reggae collective” of our own for those who know and love the music yet wish to do the simplest thing...