JIS News

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies has urged Jamaicans in the Diaspora not to restrict the country’s cultural heritage solely to reggae. Noting that more effort could be made to preserve Jamaica’s arts discipline, Dr. Davies mentioned that attempts were already under way to direct funds to that medium.
He was speaking at the Peter Tosh Symposium last Friday (Oct. 24), which culminated the Peter Tosh Week celebrations, honouring the life and legacy of the former reggae artiste, at the Florida International University (FIU), in Miami.
Dr. Davies suggested that the private sector could successfully administer this discipline while Government could contribute in other areas like infrastructure and training.
Commenting on the life of Peter Tosh, Dr. Davies said that he was an enthusiast and was still inspired personally by the works of the artiste, who he described as a great entertainer, also spontaneous in performances, transmitting education through music. Turning to his legacy, Dr. Davies said that Tosh took great pride in his work. He described it as controversial, yet professional and knowledgeable, adding that although it might have created some discomfort one was forced to think of and relate to the issues.
The Minister cited examples of social activism that Tosh kept at the forefront such as Apartheid, Africa and race-related issues. As an educator, Tosh created awareness for the ‘ordinary man’, by speaking for them, and simultaneously teaching them, by placing those issues on the table, the Minister continued. Dr. Davies argued that through social activism, Tosh sensitized a large Jamaican audience about burning international issues and retained Jamaica at the forefront of such issues. “His world view gave inspiration to black people all over,” the Minister added.
On the other hand, the Minister described the late reggae icon as a humourist and genius who wrote great lyrics and played several musical instruments as well.
He commended the organizers, Kingston-based, King of Kings Promotion; South Florida-based Jamaica Awareness; Tafari Promotions and the FIU’s Department of African and New World Studies, for taking the annual Peter Tosh Tribute Week, for the first time, to Miami.
This is the 10th annual celebration honouring the life and legacy of the artiste in Jamaica.
The activities began on Sunday (Oct. 19) marking the 59th birthday celebration of Tosh, showcasing recorded music, presentations and dub poetry performances by the late reggae giant. A Film and Video Festival was also part of the week’s features.
Peter Tosh was born on October 19, 1944 and was one of the founding members of the Wailing Wailers with international reggae artiste Bob Marley and Bunny ‘Wailer’ Livingstone.
Known for his controversial lyrics, he was also described as a powerful solo artiste whose music echoed the struggles of the poor and underprivileged in the society. He was assassinated at his home in September 1987.
The week’s events sought to explore the socio-political, philosophical and artistic dimensions of the late artiste.
Other panelists included: Dr. Clinton Hutton of the University of the West Indies; Copeland Forbes, former road manager of Peter Tosh and I. Jabulani Tafari, journalist and publisher of the Rootz Magazine. Moderator for the evening was attorney-at-law, Cordell Green.

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