Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Just take these chains away, And set me free. Remove me out of bondage, And we'll agree.
As an adolescent, instead of shunning old-school reggae played by my father, I embraced it. I would often sneak and take his cassette tapes of Kingston dances from the 70s and 80s. Much of the music I listened to were songs written by Bob Andy.
The most memorable tune was "Unchained", being a song that exposed me to the reality of being Black in the Americas, constantly under the microscope of white supremacy. Reggae music was where I began to question the power structures of the political system, while gaining optimism in the hope that blacks were ever resilient, talented, and persevering.
I want to help myself, Be an independent man. I don't want no one to give, Me a helping hand.
So often we fall victim to a cycle of complacency that we forget our greatest asset is our minds. To truly free we must rely on the very thing that has allowed us to be known as one of the most musical, artist, and entrepreneurial groups on Earth. Unchained reminded me that the little acts of rebellion existed in the self-reliance of everyday people. In my mother who, for years has been an independent business owner, or my many clients who have gone above a beyond to startup and successfully pursue their own dreams as artisans and entrepreneurs.
So while we mourn the passing of a triumphant voice and talent, let us celebrate what one song can do for each generation who has access to an oral tradition that will allow for oracles like Bob Andy live eternally.