OCCUPY PINNACLE is a reality. A growing, loyal and committed band of Rastafari SoulJAHs have settled into Pinnacle, clearing the land so as to discover the remains of Leonard Howell’s historic settlement and the thousands of people who helped him establish Jamaica’s first indigenous self-development community using Rastafari principles and livity. So far they have discovered remains of dwellings, a bakery, wells and numerous artefacts which will become the foundation of the proposed Pinnacle Museum.
Donisha Prendergast continues to inspire the activism that has made Occupy Pinnacle the most important happening in Jamaica today and her team of young Rastafari show a determination and a confidence that encourages support . Now identified and acknowledged as the place where the First Rasta developed the First Rasta Village, Pinnacle has brought about a unification of Rastafari of all Mansions, and all nations. Support has come through social media from Rastafari around the world, including some notable supporters such as Nandor Tanckzos – the Rasta who made history as a Green Party member of the New Zealand Parliament.
The elephant in the Pinnacle room is, of course, the presence of the Minister of Culture in the dual role of head of the department and agencies under which Rastafari matters are handled, and as the common-law wife of the man who is presently selling and developing the land at Pinnacle. It is hard for Rastafari to negotiate with the Government while this anomaly exists, as the Prime Minister is fiercely protective of Lisa Hanna – the young fledgling under her political wing whom some say is being groomed as a future Prime Minister. Her ‘husband’ Richard Lake’s Island Homes can show title to his ownership of the land he legally purchased some 30 years ago and he has stated (through his lady partner’s comments on TV) that Rastas can purchase from him if they want land at Pinnacle.
A search is underway through the land titles records to track the ownership of the land after Howell’s purchase in 1935, as it is know that he lived on Pinnacle until finally being driven off in 1954. After the repeated raids by police under orders from the colonial and own own indigenous governments, nothing remains of Howell’s records of purchase except the oral accounts of those who lived there – many of whom still remain. One incontestable fact is that several bodies were buried there, showing proof of ownership as bodies can only be buried on owned land. What will happen to Mr. Lake’s purchase and title, if it can be shown that transactions since Howell have been illegal, unjust and corrupt?
I- OCTANE LAUNCHES NEW RASTA ALBUM I Octane launched his new Album “My Journey” this week, and it is a great new Rasta album. I call it a ‘Rasta album’ because of the sentiments expressed in the tracks, with his hits like “Love You Like I Do“, new tracks such as ‘Babylon’, “Jah Jah Warrior”, “I Will Be There” and collaborations with Gentleman, Alaine and KyMani Marley. My favourite track and one which I’m sure will become one of the first hit singles, is “Mama”, a loving, emotional tribute to his mother. “A street-side Mama sell to raise me, and she neva bring in a stepfada” was his joyful adoration of his mother, whom he brought onstage at the launch to serenade her personally. I-Octane says the album “… has served as a therapeutic way for me to voice not only the blessings, but the frustrations as well. My goal is to find ways that you, as the listener, can share in my experiences and use it to help you on your journey.” It’s a journey well worth taking, with danceable music that is a listening pleasure. Rastafari sign and seal, Red, Gold and Green, You will know that I am Selassie Warrior.
BLACK GOLD!!! The Lupita Oscars are finally over and her fans can breathe sighs of relief to see her clutching that little gold man, the symbol of the highest excellence in the Hollywood film industry. Lupita Nyong’o, the unknown actress, whose role in ’12 Years A Slave” –the equally-awarded Best Film of 2014 – brought her to global attention and the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, became an icon when her stunning Black Beauty was showcased in a series of glamorous Red Carpet gowns from leading designers that highlighted the deep chocolate colour of her skin, embellished by a simple natural hairstyle and modest make-up that were a complete contrast to the usual crop of starlets who decorate the Awards events. After a very long absence, the phrase ‘Black is Beautiful” was once again on everyone’s lips and social media pages.
Who would have thought that in all the welcome attention to Lupita for being not only a good enough actress to have been nominated for an Oscar, but also an educated woman raised by educated African parents, whose grace and modest composure added yet another layer to her star status, there would be outrage from a vocal section of the public protesting the very things that gained Lupita her fame.
Believe it or not, there were some who objected to all the attention being given to Lupita’s skin colour, hairstyle and facial beauty, not to mention her Yale University education, her Professor father and charity executive mother. They criticized the world media for ‘just noticing that Black is beautiful’ and urged them to cease and desist, since they knew it all the time and didn’t need others pointing it out. Their anger was directed especially at the white media, whose attention to and adoration of Lupita’s Black beauty and style assured that the wider public knew who was the little black girl competing against well-known blonde, white nominees for the prestigious award.
Thankfully, their bitterness did nothing to deter Lupita’s ascendancy and eventual Oscar win. Just goes to show how true is the old adage: You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please ALL of the people ALL of the time. RISE ON, Lupita!!!
FEEDBACK My story about the documentary on the Chicago 10 anti-Vietnam War demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic convention, brought an interesting response from a reader, Stephen Smith, who shared some photos and the following comments: “I have pictures that where taken by historical photographer Eve Crane of the inside of the Democratic convention as the riots occurred outside. She was also involved in photographing the Black Panther Party … She took pictures of Bobby Seal with James Baldwin when Bobby was in jail sitting across the table from one another…pictures of Huey Newton as he talked with his lawyer while on trial in Alameda. I know Eve personally and have represented her body of work on several occasions. I contacted The Huey P. Newton foundations shortly after I met Eve, as none of her photo’s had very been published. David Hilliard contacted me and thus began a long friendship between all of us.
I must mention the Black Panther Party support of the gay rights movement in the late 60’s. Not many realize that the first convention on gay rights in New York shortly after Stone Wall utilized the BPP 10 point program as their base “What We Want & When Do We Want It”. The convention added 6 more points to the program and adopted them as the frame work for what we all know now is the LGBT rights movement. There are audio tapes of Huey talking about the inclusion not only of the Brown Panther Party (Hispanics), but also of the homosexuals, as they too where being suppressed. It also serves to let the public understand that while the BPP was a Black organization it was inclusive of many different types of people & the main message was that oppression & suppression of any group or class of people was worth fighting for(Power to All the People).
The Black Panther Party morphed after Huey’s death and the foundation was started. The historical records & archives of the BPP are located at Stanford University. The Huey P. Newton Foundation made me an honorary member of the BPP in 2012 for my work in trying to correct the misconception & misinformation that was generated about the party at the time, and I could be any more humbled by the honor. I thought I would share this with you as seem to enjoy the movie so much to write about it.” Thanks for sharing Steve!
Blessings to all Ethiopian Orthodox CHRISTians observing the Lenten Fast.
Egzhio O Mahrene Krystos! Egzhiabher Ymassagan!