We all recognize Martin Luther King Jr. as the world’s most vocal African American social activist/reformist/revered pastor. He never knocked on doors; he pushed them with the voice of reason. Martin Luther Jr. refused to be cowered down in the face of racial segregation and racial injustices. What history doesn’t make noise about is his personal life, away from the streets.
Busy signal acknowledges Martin’s tireless efforts in his fantastic, thundering rendition of “Free Up.” This song denotes black leadership in part. The talented contemporary reggae artist begins his song with Martin Luther, categorizing him among key black reformists in a single paragraph:
“Martin Luther, black!
Malcolm X, black!
Marcus Garvey, black!
Barrack Obama, black!
Bill Clinton**, black!
Weh you think bout dat …”
Busy Signal spits some more in his rigorous rant on the notable achievements of these great black folk … “A whole heap a great Some a di greatest people African history document dat … MENTAL SHACKLES and chain inna brain dem trap people
… Black people don’t get caught inna dem system. Just overcome and don’t become a victim Cause dem system set fi dem get the future Only the history we get …
So free up black people … Live up black people …”
Great song right there, reminding us not to become victims but we must OVERCOME and live up as free black people! I believe that’s what Martin Luther was trying to tell the people of his time. Desist from all manner of slavery of the mind, free up your consciousness and become who God created you to be.
Bob Marley also gave us many philosophical words to ponder on in the fight for black equality. His powerful rendition of “Redemption Song” sums up Busy signals list of accomplished black people. “…emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds ….” You should listen to the whole song to get the gist of Marley’s message.
Djimon Hounsou delivered a great performance in his legendary movie “La Amistad,” which featured the tales of early black people driven out of their villages by Spanish raiders in the 15th Century. Djimon portrayed the tale of a black man’s woes during a great slave trial where he passionately asked the judge in his own way, “Give us, us free! Give us, us free!” If you haven’t watched this compelling movie, you should look for it. It beats 12 years a slave ten nil.
What’s my point here?
Slavery was real, and many people died from it. Black segregation came and killed equally many innocent individuals in the quest for freedom. Our current struggle as a people of color is unemployment and outright racism. Our heroes have reminded us to remain united. To free ourselves from mental slavery, and to prosper as free black people! Defy all odds to survive in your hostile environment. Quit complaining and cease every opportunity to compete in this unfair world.
Go out and thrive. Be free!