Make Love Not War & A Message From Big Youth
Interview and Translation by Rochelle Brown
RB: How has the music business changed from when you first entered the reggae industry?
BY: I think the business has change a lot from good to bad. That spiritual inspiration and spiritual guidance that really keep people together, that really ruled the road of the 70's, you know people seem to see things in a different way now, I don't know why. One thing I know is righteousness exalt a nation and sin is a reproach to man The righteousness part of the music lives on so that's what keeps me around for telling the truth that's why they call me Big Youth.
The truthful side of the music still remains the same, even though there is a lot of change where people have disregard for women, promote weapons of mass destruction and disrespect (each other). People make statements that should not even be heard by children. It's kind of messy. I'm not going to see the truth and tell no lie. I don't like some of the things I have been seeing. They have to deal with truth and right, and guide and teach the people. Teach the youths them cause its them causing the problem. They are the future of tomorrow. If you are the person that has the joy to bring people together and sing songs, then you should sing songs really to guide and teach the people.
RB: Where do you think this problem stems from?
BY: It comes from the media. A whole leap of different dons and all kind of lords come into the music to promote their own selfish deeds and greeds. So they promote nonsense. They like when some man sing about the latest gun them make because it promotes the gun industry. Remember, we used to tell the people to make love not war cause war is ugly and love is lovely so, if you want things right, to make it right and come together you have to do it right.
RB: But see, there are youths actually singing about the culture and love but for some reason they are not getting through. Why?
BY: Cause it's them promoting it. And then they promote nonsense and say, yes it's the nonsense them promote sell. If you were to promote righteousness then we would have a more righteous world and a more righteous thinking world. The people will be thinking more positive and learn to love each other more because that is the whole structure of Rasta music, of reggae music, to bring the people together. It's the music that is our media.
RB: What is your most memorable experience though your journey?
BY: Let me tell you something about me. I give thanks for the good times and I also give thanks for the bad too. Cause life is made up from good and evil and out of evil come the good. As long as there is life and I am celebrating life it's the most joyful time in my life.
I do a lot great things and have made a lot of great conscious music and know that I amongst the stars. Sometimes I didn't receive credit for music I have made because I am a man that has never signed up with any company. Everything was done to keep me back and I never let that worry me because I give thanks. I just give thanks for everything I've got cause; the pretty things in the world draw some back and carry some away. The good God has kept me alive, still making music and performing properly. So really, that is my most memorable time in my life is celebrating life.
Manley Augustus Buchanen "Big Youth a.k.a Ja Youth" was born in February 1955 and had a natural inclination for music. After leaving school at the age of 14, Youth worked his way up to become the top deejay of the Lord Tippertone sound. He first recorded a song called "Movie Man"which was produced by Gregory Issacs, but was most known for his hit record "S.90 Skank".
Out of frustration with majors, Youth created his own labels Negusa Negast and Augustus Buchanen and produced many songs with the likes of Prince Buster, Joe Gibbs, Derrick Harriott, Winston Riley, and even toured with Dennis Brown. At one point in his illustrious career as an independent artist, 5 of Youth's songs were among the top 10 singles in Jamaica.
As one of the founders and leaders of conscious reggae, Big Youth continues to be an inspiration and driving force to many. After 30 years he still tours, records and feels blessed to have contributed to the movement.
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