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Jamaica’s Reggae recording legend, Winston ‘Burning Spear’ Rodney, told a New York audience last week that he would continue to be a torchbearer for the teachings and philosophy of Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Burning Spear was among a number of speakers at a Black History Month forum and exhibition on the impact of noted Jamaicans Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Claude McKay, on the Harlem Renaissance, held at the Consulate General of Jamaica in Manhattan, last Thursday (February 24).
The pop culture icon noted that to this day, the principles that Garvey articulated had a profound influence on his music career from the start, leading him in 1975 to record an entire album – Marcus Garvey – in his honour.
“I think I opened a lot of eyes and minds to the philosophy of Marcus Garvey through the music and I encourage you to dig in, get to know more of what this man from St. Ann, also my parish, stood for,” he said to a cheering room.
According to Burning Spear who won the Reggae Grammy award in 1999 for his body of work ‘Calling Rastafari’, “one can see that Marcus Garvey had an aim, a plan and a direction and today, if anyone should follow in his footsteps, they can never go wrong”.
Spear’s unaccompanied rendition of ‘No One Remember Ole Marcus Garvey’, said to be his favourite song, earned him a standing ovation.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey became Jamaica’s first national hero in l964. Claude McKay, Jamaica’s first Poet Laureate, was awarded the Order of Jamaica (O.J.).
Other speakers at the Black History Month event included Jamaica’s Consul General, Dr. Basil K. Bryan and Jose Richards, President of Sons and Daughters of Jamaica, Inc.
The event also featured an exhibition and discussion on the Harlem Renaissance, described as that period (1920-1930) in New York history when the social and economic conditions facilitated the advocacy of radical blacks particularly in the arts.