“Where does true reggae go from here?” I asked myself this question, when the news came this morning that Buju Banton had been sentenced to 10 years in jail. His sentence id the result of a February cocaine trafficking incident with an undercover cop. A conspiracy which was said to have taken place in a police controlled warehouse in Florida in December 2009. The court was filled with family, friends, artiste such as Wanye Wonder,Delly Ranks, Gramps Morgan and fans of Buju. I keep hearing the echo of Danny Glover’s pen as it wrote “Your honor, Mark Myrie is not a drug dealer… Society would not benefit from his incarceration.” Buju in his life time has been an Icon and mentor to many although not particularly to Gay rights movement from his popular song ‘Boom Bye Bye.’
I remember after graduating from college and looking for a job, interviews upon interviews and not getting that call. The “congratulation,welcome to our team” call . I was loosing hope, low self esteem, worthless, depressed ready to just quit. Was my 3.3 GPA not good enough? I cried sometimes and even decided not to go for more interviews until that day when I turned my radio on and heard:
Today you’re down comes tomorrow | Chances of rising again seems hollow | Doubt may be in your mind oh oh give it time | And all will be fine
Seem you cannot make it but you can | Though the road maybe winding and long | Our feet might get weary but not our minds | We will find light in the darkest of times | Oh oh we are tomorrow’s keepers | Wake up now bright nation of thinkers
| Mighty triumphant fearless be a beacon of hope
As the river swells its banks | the sea meets the sands | We should all hold hands | With our fellow man | Let your voices be heard | Love is the word | Cast anger away | Its whole brand new day
Now Today, I am a financial banker and today I say thank you Buju Banton, because this song gave me my carrier, a life, a family and the power to encourage others.
” Where does my reggae go from here?” Reggae lives in our soul and it shall continue to lift up the hearts of many. The same reggae that has lived from the “orijinatiors” such as Bob Marley before. The same “one love one heart” from Bob Marley that still plays on radio stations as if it is brand new. ” Redemption song on an acoustic from any man or woman, race or culture. Reggae lives, even if it is ” Not an easy road”
Some have argued that Buju’s orijin as a Rasta Jamaican reggae artist played a part in his arrest and conviction. If this is the case, it is about time we dilute the stereotype that every Jamaican is a drug dealer, every dreadlock is a drug dealer or every reggae artist is a drug dealer. We are quick to label people because of their appearance. Buju’s orijin might have prompted the informant to approach him on the trans-Atlantic flight in July 2009 and insisted they meet to set up a cocaine purchase. Although buju might regret entertaining that conversation which led to this mess, we ought to learn from this in correcting the stereotype.
Buju’s lawyer David Markus commented: “This is a sad day for Mr. Myrie. This is a sad day for his native Jamaica. He’s a good man who has done great things in his life… he intends to appeal the guilty verdict and the 10-year sentence very shortly.”