Thursday, November 17, 2011

my paper i wrote

Anthony Coore
Tabitha Trott
SPA 222-66
Mr. Jose Arrom
November 8, 2011

The aim of this paper is not only to educate but to graft a better understanding of the role of reggae music and its influence on the people of Jamaica and all over the world. I believe for Jamaica the importance of their culture and subcultures have never truly been investigated and realized by the majority of Jamaicans or by the world at large. Ska, Rock steady and Reggae were major influences in Jamaican’s daily life and political structure. An African influence came to Jamaica through the slave trade in the West Indies. Africans influenced Ska, calypso, and rock steady. Rock steady was the forerunner for reggae (1). Jamaicans searched for their own unique sound to express their struggles in their oppressive society. They discovered this in the culture of the Rastafarians.
Jamaica being the third largest island in the Caribbean is known for its local fascinating culture found throughout the island including the music, dance, songs and food. An island colonized by Christopher Columbus, with its earliest inhabitants being the Taino Indians, also known as the Arawak. The island is 4,243 square miles in size with a coast line of 634 miles and is located in the Caribbean Sea just 90 miles of south Cuba. It carries various numbers of different ethnic groups with the largest group being from African descent. Also interweaved in this ethnic majority was the European culture of the white slave masters.
With most countries that the majority is living in deep poverty, there is a rebellion that springs from racism and oppression. According to The Gleaner, a Jamaican newspaper, “up to a third of Jamaicans are out and out illiterate in the 21st century, others are semi-literate; and up to three-quarters of the people in the low-wage economy have no formal skills training.”(2)
“The wealth is distributed largely along racial lines, reflecting Jamaica's slave- plantation heritage. The descendants of black slaves tend to be among the poorest classes in Jamaica, while white and mixed-race descendants of plantation owners and traders tend to be better off. These extremes are reflected in the nation's distribution of income: in 1996 the wealthiest 20 percent of Jamaicans controlled 43.9 percent of the wealth, while the poorest 20 percent controlled only 7 percent. In fact, the poorest 60 percent controlled just 34.3 percent of wealth. Due in large part to the decline of services in urban slums, the percentage of people with access to safe water has declined from 96 percent in the period from 1982-85 to 70 percent in the period from 1990-96; access to sanitation facilities (plumbed toilets) has dropped from 91 percent to 74 percent in the same period.”(3)

To truly understand the roots of Reggae music, we have to understand the major religion in Jamaica which is known as Rastafarianism. The Rasta story is first linked to a Jamaican man living in America in the 1800’s named Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey prophesied that from Africa there would be a savior that would come and would deliver the American blacks back to Africa. Garvey also believed that only Africans should be in power in Africa. He was dedicated to African Americans to being resettled in Africa. In 1930 there was a prince that came to power in Ethiopia. His family name was Tafari and as was common in Ethiopia, Tafari took the Amharic title of Ras. When Ras Tafari had his coronation he took the new name of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I. Selassie I invited blacks living outside Africa to return to the motherland and return to Shasamene. Thus, this Emperor was the fulfillment of the prophecy that Marcus Garvey spoke of and was believed to be the reincarnation of God in human form.
The fundamental belief that the Rastafarians held was that HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I was the savior and they worshipped him accordingly. “The Rasta movement also believed that the bible was Satan’s ploy to mislead the faithful.”(1) In Christian religion the paradise that we go when we die is called heaven. In the Rastafarian tradition it is called Zion. The Rasta is commonly a vegetarian, and sometimes eats small fish or shellfish. The Rastafarians do not eat pork or any animal that have cloven hoof. “The colors of the Ethiopian flag are used often. Red is for the blood spilt in defending themselves and their ways, gold for the riches stolen from the blacks, and green for fertility of the land.” (1) Rasta’s valued living as naturally as possible. Their hair being a tree with roots, like dreadlocks. They believed in not being part of the normal society and going against vanity. Locks and Weed were very large parts of the Rastafarian culture.

The 1950’s the so called ”race music” was beginning to take over the radio. In 1958 they began to release songs in Jamaica by local artists. In 1959 the very first “ska” record was cut. Groups such as the skattelites and Israelites were the first ska groups to form and gain international attention and were the leaders of the ska movement. In 1963 a group made up of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer had their very first hit called “Simmer Down”. This song by the Wailers was written as a direct message to the rude boys. In the mid sixties ska had over time had mixed with soul music. This music soon became rock steady which was associated with the rude boys. This rude boy mentality is portrayed through music and culture. The first rude boys were associated with the poorest sections of Kingston, Jamaica and were also usually argueing.
Rastafarians used Reggae as their voice to Jah and also against the Political oppression that was oppressing them daily. “Reggae music was made up of traditional African Drums, Jazz and rock steady. Reggae music is all about poverty, social injustice, religion, and love and because of the turmoil faced by Jamaicans have faced over the years it speaks directly from the soul.” Some say the beat that is consistent in almost every reggae song is representative of a human heartbeat.
Bob Marley was the first Jamaican singer to take reggae music to a higher level and to be internationally known for the love of his songs. Bob Marley was a Rastafarian and believed intensely in Jah and Haile Selassie. He believed his purpose was to be a prophet of truth and social awareness and social justice not just for his fellow Jamaicans but also for African Americans. “Marley’s music grew out of both severe and constant economic impoverishment as well as politics content with the government and its policies; and it is in this context that as well his music must be analyzed and understood.”(5)
Reggae music and its lyrics changed Jamaican peoples lives in the 1970’s and 1980’s as well as today. Its lyrics cry out for the government, politicians, and police to stop oppressing the people living in poverty and the black people and native people with whom they have been keeping down by psychological and physical warfare.
One of the songs that was most influential for people of color was “Redemption Song.” Partial lyrics to this song are:
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds
Have no fear for atomic energy
'Cause none of them can stop the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
Ooh Some say it's just a part of it
We've got to fulfill the book
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs”
This song made oppressed people have a voice they could finally relate to.
Jamaica is a island that is diverse in culture, ethnicity, music, dance, and political views. Is is one of the most beautiful islands and also one of the most impoverished islands. The wealthy make up a small percentage of the people and the majority are living in poverty. There is a lot of discrimination, especially when it comes to police and people of color. This is similar to the police here in the United States. Reggae music is not just entertainment but it is the heart of the Jamaican people. It brings unity and takes pain away even in the darkest of times. “One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain, so hit me with music, hit me with music.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

empty spaces... by tabitha t.

there are days when i see things beyond you
beyond me.. beyond this room and this apartment... beyond this city
this country.,,,,,,,,, actually most days i feel caught between this life around me
and the life playing out in my thoughts and mind.....
words are the most powerful thing we have and words speak things into existence as if
there was a blank canvas before and we are painting it with our fears and laughter and love...

the more people i encounter the more i realize most of us just want to be happy...
what people fail to realize that, in my opinion, to be self aware and aware of whats going on in the world and even at your neighbors house... theres alot of pain there. alot of injustice..
how can i be happy when someone else is being raped or killed, or is starving? is that fair???.

ugh, i can't really get my thoughts together. i haven't written anything in so long, it is like i forgot these are just some thoughts swirling in my head.... or more like questions i'm asking myself today::::

-does anyone really lovve another person? like true love.
-do we as a society even know what love is?
-when people leave does the energy you had together and shared live forever?
-why do we all lie?
-why aren't we nicer and lore caring for each other as a whole.....

it has been a long week/month/year...........
and i want some real peace. peace only comes when we heal and when we face
reality in our own lives and the lives of others.... so instead of praying for peace
i'm going to pray for courage to face the shadows and uncover them.... and then start true healing......................then comes the peace. it is like i'm climbing the mountain.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011


......Yeah i could tell myself and people around me I don't care about finding love.
but to be honest we all want love. I realize finding love within myself alone is the first step , but i also desire love of another.. someone to talk to and hold and be held and confide in...... but honestly these days in our society the chances of meeting someone that has their shit together and that you can relate to and be real with and possibly build a future with is like finding, excuse the expression, a needle in a haystack.... I know i am NOT the only one that experiences this dilemma. and it is very disheartening to try to be open to meeting someone and then to be disappointed over and over and over again by the lack of communication and seriousness of the other partner.... I have been told over and over again that i take life too seriously, but life is SERIOUS people. When you date a person, please, don't leave them worse off then when you first met them. One DECISION can change the course of your life and others lives. Our choices effect so much more then just that moment and ourselves. WE have to be contentious and realize that we have a responsibility as human beings to care for one another and be fragile with others feelings and hearts.

We are doing a bad job at love.
If you have a girlfriend, treat her right and stop lying and cheating..
If you have a boyfriend stop keeping them at arms length let them in and share.
I believe in love..... love is the only thing that casts out fear as Martin Luther king Jr. said.

These are just some random thoughts running through my mind today. Let's love better. listen better. Be there for each other better. Be careful with each others souls....
because we are all connected and all one. Let's Be honest with one another... and with ourselves.

-tabitha gwinn

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 by tabitha trott

Writings by Tabitha Trott: January 4th 2011

My desire..

“A love that heals.
A love that saves.
Unconditional in all parts, each day-
Even just that one moment each day that I am healed by love.”

For my George:

“Not wanting to just be…to just wait… for you to show me I’m worth something…..
for you to tell me I matter, that I mean something to you.. waiting, my life has no meaning without your calls, without your words, or your touch…your presence and your care……I’m so tired of waiting.

I haven’t written in months…feels like years.
Not even knowing how to begin but overflowing with feeling...with words making lines and sentences that re not understandable to anyone but myself.
I don’t know how to say what I need to say,,,,
I need to get it out:

The death of self. Not even recognizing this shiny Tabitha I have become…glitter/glamour/ selling my beauty for love (or feeling beautiful for love)…
Forgetting the things that made me truly beautiful which is the pain, the struggle for survival, the strength to keep existing even when I’m not alive. I give love when I don’t even have any left to give. The only thing I can still see of the real Tabitha is that I still can’t help but cry with those in pain, to feel the sorrow with those grieving, to hold those who need touch, to try to fix things and people that are broken… those parts of me still glimmer in the light….

I don’t even know what the past year of life has done to my insides….I bleed like never before…, but at the same moment when you are so used to pain- you become numb to it.

I want so badly to love with a wholeness… with my true self… with my insides…and to also be loved back. The worst thing of all is that I DON’T WANT TO WANT LOVE. I am tired of being in love with love…and being killed by disappointment and the weight of a meaningless relationship that I once believed meant everything.

The wind has been my friend for so long. I remember it blowing my hair, brushing against my skin… as a child it held me and when I would look up to the sky as if it would tell me all it’s sacred secrets… I thought it might hold all the answers for me.
Wind and Water…. MY two old friends. Wind that pushes that caresses…water that holds you when nobody else will….
………….I become part of the soul of this world when I even, for one moment, feel loved.

That’s why I crave it
That’s why I kill for it
That’s why I push it…force it….

------ I want to stop. I am tired of being strong…I want to be weak, but I will die of I am fragile… This life….keeps shooting me down…breaking me/ lifting, pulling and I crash into myself.

The weight in my heart is so heavy. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe. The constant let down… I want to stop wanting so badly. It takes over everything else. I want to stop feeling so deeply, because it seems like I am the only one that does.