KW Magazine Nov 2020

Page 1

Feature Interview:

Dr. Andrew Marshall

Jamaican Composer “Balancing Europeanness and Africanness”


• Identity Crisis in the Caribbean • 12 Gates Choir in Zambia • Three Strategies for Cultural Inclusion in Worship

Also Inside:

• KIDS CREW: Black Like Me (Final Episode) • 11 Questions with Shezzie (Pauline Catlin-Reid, UK) • Vox Pop: What Music Should we Use in Corporate Worship? • Devotional by Dr. Keith Augustus Burton • Music Score from Kom Mek Wi worship

CREWShall Connections in Faith and Culture

Testimonials NICHOLAS ASTLEY SMITH A student of the Bible and a lover of Theology Just how important is a transitory culture to an eternal God? Can worship be conducted without culture? And is any one culture more appropriate in worship than the others? These are the questions the KW Magazine attempts to answer with each issue. Each issue is a conversation on the relationship between worship and culture. And this conversation is inclusive; although it provides a space for expert opinions, it strives to include all voices. After all, the beneficiaries of the project are predominantly ordinary people, laypeople who are just trying to honour God as best they know how. Nevertheless, the magazine does have an agenda. The creators want Jamaicans to embrace and use their own music and language in worship, and by so doing, worship God in a way that is true to themselves. This is the ultimate purpose of the magazine. Welcome! And enjoy the conversation! p

GLENISE HENRY Passionate Jamaican Educator living in the USA The time to experience a paradigm shift is now and the KW Magazine has fostered the necessary discussion about our history as a people, where we stand regarding the road our forefathers have paved for us, and where society dictates, we go. In every issue, the KW Magazine has delivered current, credible, and riveting information. The narrative goes beyond the typical as its contents address thought-provoking topics that challenge the reader to become bolder with recognizing their true form of worship in conjunction with culture, relations, and self. That defines the very epitome of the African people. It is more than just a good read. KW Magazine promotes a lifestyle. p



Editorial ................................... 6 Interview with Dr. Andrew Marshall ....................... 8 Enslaved Africans and the Use of Natural Cures...... 12 Strategies for Cultural Inclusion in Worship........................................... 14 12 Gates Choir in Zambia.............. 18 Vox Pop: What Music Should we use in Corporate Worship?........... 21

12 14 18

Poem - My Afro is My Crown........ 24 Feature on Dr. Andrew Marshall.. 26 Health Column.............................. 28 KIDS - CREW................................... 31 A CREWShall Testimony - Identity Crisis In the Caribbean................. 36 11 Questions with Shezzie............. 40 Musical Score................................. 43 Devotional...................................... 44

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ccording to my DNA tests, I am part African and part European. Actually, the African portion of my ethnicity is at 83.1%, and the European side is 16.9%. Some of you have heard of the onedrop rule, that if you have one drop of African blood, that makes you African or black. However, my view is that we should be free to explore and celebrate all aspects of our identity, all parts of who we are, without someone telling us what we are and who we should be. This issue of the KW Magazine focuses on how we balance between being European and being African. I say this with the understanding that not all of us have this particular dichotomy of ethnicities. Not all of us have the split between African and European. There 6 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

are others whose ethnicities include Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern or Jewish. However, the main struggle that the majority of us have is between being European and being African. We find this not only in the Caribbean but also on the continent of Africa. We in the Caribbean should remember that Africa was also colonized. The French, the British, the Portuguese and the Spanish are among those who colonized portions of the continent. In fact, Ethiopia, is the only country in Africa that was never colonized. So the question is: Do we suffer from a crisis of identity? We chose to use music as the main area that we would explore in this issue; and so our Vox Pop is asking the question: “What percentage of the songs used in your corporate worship space are songs in your language; songs that use your music genres, and songs that are written by your people?” Having answered that question, the next question we asked was: “What percentage of the songs do you think SHOULD BE your own songs?” Check out the results of this survey in the Vox Pop article! We did not deliberately craft it this way, but we are so happy to have persons from the Seventh Day Adventist

KW worship


Volume 2 - Issue 3 community being highlighted in this feature. Included are our Feature Interviewee, gifted composer Dr. Andrew Marshall, born in Jamaica and currently living in the United States, our feature artiste the 12 Gates Choir directed by Blessing Mupeta out of Zambia and our Devotional is written by a leading theologian in the African Diaspora community Dr. Keith Burton. He was recently named by Christianity Today as one of 25 Theologians who have helped us grow our faith. In addition we have music educator Seretse Small examining our theme from his unique perspective. We are very pleased to announce our weekly CREWShall Conversations which started in August of this year. It is a live conversation with our writers and interviewees on our Facebook Page, Saturdays at 1:00 pm Jamaica time (EST). We take the conversations introduced in the KW Magazine off the pages, engage our audience in real time conversations, while we get to know ourselves better, get to know each other better, and by Yahweh’s grace build deeper, more authentic relationships with Him. Kom mek wi worship/Come let us worship! p

KW Magazine is an almost quarterly magazine of CREW 40:4 - a non-profit entity based in Jamaica, whose mission is to spread the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ through culturally relevant expressions of worship. The magazine’s aim is to facilitate conversations about worship and cultural identity among Christ-followers on the African Continent and in her Diasporas. Disclaimer: We may not agree with all views expressed by contributors or interviewees. Editorial Team Jo-Ann Richards Goffe Marcel Goffe Angela Slack Sylvia Gilfillian

Telephone: + 876 820 0258 e-mail: kommekwiworship@ Website:

KW Magazine: CREWShall Connections in Faith & Culture

Published by: PUBLISHING

Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 7

Feature Interview


Dr. Andrew Marshall 8 | KW Magazine Nov 2020


r. Andrew Marshall started piano lessons, along with his two siblings, at around age six. He continued through high school and college, and to the doctoral level studying piano performance, music education, and conducting.

European classical music.

Andrew’s parents, Alfonso and Jacqueline Marshall, are lovers of music. They were instrumental in fanning the musical flame and both encouraging and supporting his journey. His piano teacher, Ms. Maureen Coombs, was also influential in guiding him in the classical realm from preparatory school through to high school. Stylistically, classical music in his home was one of the influences. Other genres that influenced him were gospel, pop, R&B, reggae, and dancehall.

KW: I think my first exposure to your music was when the Jamaica Symphony Orchestra was doing one of your pieces - Run-A-Boat Symphony. What was your motivation for writing that Symphony? Was there any dissonance between your connection to church and your writing of this piece?

One of the most significant aspects of his works has been the putting of portions of the Jamaican New Testament to music in Cantatas for both Christmas and Easter. This naturally caught the attention of the KW Magazine, especially when Editor Jo-Ann Richards Goffe was asked to serve as narrator for the 2019 performance of the Christmas Cantata Jiizas A-Go Baan, in which Dr. Marshall conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica and the Jamaica Choral Scholars. It was an excellent blend of Jamaican language and music genres especially reggae and revival - with

Listen in on this conversation between Dr. Marshall and Ethnodoxologist Jo-Ann Richards Goffe to learn more about what motivated him along the way.

Dr. Marshall: I was approached by the then music director of the Jamaica Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Lisa Walker, to write a piece for the group that would feature the steel pan as an official fifth section of the traditional ensemble. In writing the piece, I conceived three additional movements to create an extended work. There were no dissonances of my personal, spiritual journey and the writing of the piece. KW: Subsequent to our encounter with the orchestra, you invited me to speak at the Jamaica Choral Scholars Festival annual lecture. What was the intention behind this annual festival and lecture? Have you been achieving your goal with this? Dr. Marshall: The Jamaica Choral Scholars Festival is an initiative I Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 9

started in 2010 to study, create, and perform Jamaican choral music; and to facilitate engagements that would shed light on the cultural gravity of this body of works in Jamaican life. One of the features of the festival is a lecture series in which a scholar is invited to share their knowledge with the festival participants. The goal has always been to not only perform Jamaican choral music, but to have the members be aware of the varied contexts that impact the works being studied. From all indications, since our inception, the members have found the lectures informative, and its goal is being achieved. KW: I can’t help but notice that you have done work highlighting the plight of the poor, vulnerable and disenfranchised. One example of this is Orange Lane, in Memoriam. Talk to us about this concern you seem to have. What is the root of it? Do you see where your music is having an impact and bringing about transformation for this category of people? Dr. Marshall: I’ve envisioned a Jamaica that thrives boldly in eradicating biases; a Jamaica that intentionally creates opportunities for its citizens to experience financial and intellectual independence; and a nation passionate about its unprecedented investment in human capital. I was reading a biography recently on Michael Manley by Godfrey Smith and I came across 10 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

the occurrence of the Orange Lane Massacre in the 1970s. The idea that this incident is largely unsung in generations that followed was unsettling. Jamaicans have always been a strong and proud people. Events such as these that undermine human life and dehumanize the poor and disenfranchised run contrary to achieving the kind of success our country can attain. My idea was to capture the moment musically to pay homage to a situation that should not be forgotten or repeated. It has yet to be seen whether the music is having an impact as you have described. It’s my hope that it honors the memory of the lives lost and strengthens our resolve to purge Jamaica of such acts. KW: Through your work creating cantatas using text straight from the Jamaican New Testament, you have somehow managed to increase the value of the Jamaican language, as well as make classical European music more accessible to speakers of the language. What made you think of doing this? What were the main challenges you faced, particularly in balancing Europeanness and Africanness? Did you have any opposition? What did it do for you personally? Dr. Marshall: Musical expression is realized in many ways. The classical form is one of the styles that is not readily associated with Jamaican culture. In observing the comparatively few works in this vein, I

was intrigued to showcase our culture within this—to use a term coined by Jamaican musician Alison Wallace— ‘Jassical’ genre. I acknowledge the foundations of the classical style as European indeed, but I do not limit its use or appropriation accordingly. I haven’t encountered opposition to the writing or performance of the music. The feedback that has been received, rather, has been positive and receptive. There are many benefits that can be obtained by combining this form and our Jamaican text, the details of which would require another forum outside of this response. If nothing else, however, I invite listeners to revisit their predispositions about music, culture, and artistic expression. I’ve never seen it as an attempt to balance Europeanness and Africanness. My desire, contrarily, is to remove nomenclatures, musical and otherwise, that encourage prejudiced receptivity; and to, instead, forge forward, mentally unfettered, into the future, exploring the myriad of

possibilities it holds. Personally, it continues to present opportunities to explore different facets of musical expression informed by Jamaican sensibilities. KW: Do you have any advice or suggestions for church leaders on how to approach this balance we are speaking of? Dr. Marshall: Traditions are good, but in many instances, they bind many, hand and foot, keeping progress at bay. With an open mind, many avenues may be studied and explored to bring about success in the causes that are dear to us. KW: Dr. Marshall, thank you so much for the amazing work that you have done so far to help Jamaicans to embrace their whole authentic selves through their language and music, and by so doing, to deepen their worship experiences. We are looking forward to much more from you! p



For God so loved the world that He gave His only beloved Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Kaa yu si, Gad lov di worl so moch, dat Im gi op Im wan dege-dege bwai pikni, dat enibadi we chos ina Im naa go ded, bot a go liv fi eva! Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 11

Enslaved Africans and the Use of Natural Cures on the Caribbean Plantations

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fricans were forcibly taken and brought to the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations in the 1600s. They were not able to take any material possessions but they carried the knowledge of their culture in their collective memories. Among such knowledge was that of natural cures for many illnesses. Some of these Africans were not just holders of information about herbs but they were healers. Many of them became critical to the health of the enslaved on the plantations. They were also beneficial to the Europeans who were often stricken by the many tropical diseases in the Caribbean and also some that they brought. Thus they were utilized as workers in the few slave hospitals or what was called hothouses on the plantations. The healers would make natural medicines from herbs, barks, wisps and roots of trees. These were very helpful in curing many of the ailments of the people on the plantations. These herbs would also be utilized to make baths as well. Many of these cures were well known to the Africans in their homeland and they found them here in the Caribbean. They also experimented with others that they found in the Caribbean. For a long time, there were no doctors in the rural areas and these

enslaved Africans and afterwards, their descendants continued to use the herbs that were used by their ancestors to cure themselves. A few persons also set up what was called doctor shops in the early post-slavery period to dispense medicines made from these herbs, barks and roots. These natural cures carried over from the days of slavery have set the foundation for the natural medicine sector that we have today and many form the ingredients for some conventional medicine too. When we hear names such as cerasee, vervine, sarsaparilla, ram goat dash-a-long among many other natural cures, we can credit our African ancestors for discovering their uses and utilizing them. This is critical because many more enslaved persons would have died on the plantations simply because there was no other medicine provided for them. The plantation owners were only interested in extracting labour from them but did not cater to their personal welfare in any significant way. The gap in their health care was therefore filled by the enslaved Africans with knowledge and skills of making use of natural cures. Tributes should be paid to these natural unsung heroes of our past. p June Stephens, Historian & Cultural Specialist Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 13


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ow do you manage expressing yourself as an Afro-Jamaican in the Christian church? This is a common dilemma because it is felt by many that African spiritual and cultural practices at their most fundamental essence are of and from the Devil. However, we are constantly pulled towards Africa in our expression. This is why Reggae Gospel was inevitable. This is why Calypso Gospel, and now Dancehall Gospel, was inevitable. This is precisely why Father Holung wrote Caribbean hymns for the Catholic Church in Jamaica. The songs and rhythms use the cultural and artistic expressions of those that are descended from Africa. Father Ho Lung said that he started writing Jamaican songs because he saw the “boredom in the eyes of the children.” Once they heard the songs in their language and musical rhythms their eyes lit up and they were paying attention. ( gleaner/20110913/ent/ent3. html#:~:text=Perhaps%20that%20was%20 why%2C%20as,written%20with%20a%20 mento%20rhythm).

That boredom is a matter of disconnection. What is this disconnection? It is a sense of not belonging. It is a sense of being in an environment that does not regard you as a person - your needs, your culture, your story. When the Melodians sang, “How can you sing King Alpha’s

song in a strange land?”, they were giving voice to this sense of disconnection. There is a yearning for us to be righteous and godly but how can we truly do this under a state of oppression? How can we do this and be fundamentally disregarded in regard to our essence? I would like to suggest three strategies for this necessary cultural inclusion: 1. Create Art If you do not have the support of or mandate from the leadership of the worship space, make the ‘new’ cultural forms as artistic as possible. Take the time to craft the work, being extremely careful to preserve the cultural components but making the worship intent extremely clear, and then prepare it so thoroughly that it is evident that significant expertise and artistry is required to execute the expression. This normally allays the concerns that this is something that is completely out of control and happenstance. If it seems to be out of control and happenstance then the fear will be that the African cultural ritual is being let loose on the congregation and it will most likely be censured. This happened in the mid 1800’s with the Great Revival. A movement of great religious fervour was moving around the world from Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 15

Europe to the USA . When it cultivating the soil. Now this is manifested in those countries the a strong idea, and if you know culture of the people came alive anything about farming and what and they worshipped God in their it means to prepare the land for own tongue planting and and in their own Europeans you used their reaping culture. When culture know that it and expressed this Revival their faith. Why can’t we? takes a lot of “arrived” in we can’t because we have work. You get some corners internalized the idea that up early in the in Jamaica our culture is of the devil. morning, when the believers it is cool to get erupted into drumming and as much work done. frenzied dancing. This expression was seen as a “little madness” This is important because the which in Spanish is “PocoMania”. work of establishing a culture is Suffice it to say, those African the same, it is best to work when expressions were frowned upon emotions are not running high. It and were not integrated into the is good to do cultural work when liturgy as was done in Wales and it is “cool” so to speak. Don’t try to introduce African culture Great Britain. through a piece of music at the Even making your congregation a last minute in the middle of a part of the process of the artistic convention. It is highly likely that work can give them a sense of it will be rejected or face a lot of participation and ownership. If it is controversy. Instead, gradually reasonable and artistic it can go a insert cultural pieces in low key long way for the new, Afro-based moments over time until it starts to forms to be accepted. become the norm. A presentation during a cultural evening in youth 2. Become an Advocate fellowship. A special rendition Become an advocate for African during a national celebration like Culture in your congregation. This Heroes’ Weekend. The wise music is the more challenging choice minister or pastor with careful and is only effective when you scheduling and programming can are in a position of leadership or take their congregation on great have the full-throated support cultural adventures over time. of your leadership in promoting African culture in this way. The 3. Explore all Cultures word ‘culture’ comes from a Latin Speak about culture often. Let the word that expresses the idea of congregation become aware of 16 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

the fact that all liturgy is culture based and share those stories. For example, the song Amazing Grace uses a melody that was originally a folk song. Europeans used their culture and expressed their faith. Why can’t we? One of the reasons we can’t is because we have internalized the idea that our culture is of the devil. This is difficult to process so allow your congregation to absorb the concepts thoughtfully over time. After analyzing the cultural backstories of the well established liturgy, introduce Christian songs from other cultures, use different

parts of Europe and see if they can perceive the differences. Then start introducing Hebrew songs, African American songs etc. Pull from a diverse pool of cultures as possible. These can be done as seminars, at Church retreats, special days and so on. Encourage your congregation to become as culturally aware as possible. This will allow them to see African culture as one of the great cultures of the world. p Seretse Small Musician & Music Educator Founder & Managing Director of Avant Academy of Music

Leadership Coach and Motivational Speaker Releases Inspiring Memoir That Inspires Readers to Persevere Through Challenging Times In “Hard Truth: Growing out of Adversity”, author Dr. Lynda Ince-Greenaway bravely recounts her past to share the incredible lessons she has learned from a life filled with love and loss. Contact Dr Ince-Greenaway Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 17



he KW Magazine was introduced to the Director of the 12 Gates Choir by a mutual friend. We are so grateful for the connection to an African choir that has been a shining light in their own country Zambia, on the continent of Africa and in the world. We caught up with their team leader Lisulo Libebo and asked him a few questions to get to know them better! KW: What roles do you play in the choir, the church and the society? Libebo: The role I play in the choir is general management and administration, and I serve as a link between the church/society and the choir. 18 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

KW: What church community are you a part of? Libebo: We belong to the Seventh Day Adventist Church Community. KW: How was the choir birthed? Libebo: The Choir was founded in 1994 by Emmasdale Seventh Day Adventist Church Youths in Lusaka Zambia and was initially known as the Golden Shields. The initial name was changed in 2002 to Twelve Gates Choir, the name by which it is known to this day. A good number of the group pioneers still sing in the choir. KW: How do you source the repertoire? What guides your choice of songs?


Libebo: We source our repertoires from both local and international songwriters. Our choice of songs is mainly guided by the Seventh day Adventist Church doctrine. We also endeavor to have a wide range of genres to enable us to reach listeners with diverse tastes. KW: How many of the songs in your repertoire are written by local songwriters? Libebo: About 15 of the 95 songs in our repertoire were written by local songwriters KW: What has been your most significant musical achievements for yourself and for the choir? Libebo:




Blessing Mupeta Choir Director

achievements were representing our local church at the quinquennial global General Conference session in 2015 and our winning of the national best choir award in 2018. KW: Tell us about what makes 12 Gates uniquely Zambian. Libebo: What makes Twelve Gates Choir uniquely Zambian is our non-neglect of local music genres and singing the local songs with a diction that accentuates local tongues. KW: As a previously colonized nation, do you recognize a struggle between being like the Europeans and being yourselves? Do you see the choir playing a role in helping Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 19

Zambians establish their identity in the worship space?

project that we can look forward to?

Libebo: As a previously colonized nation, the struggle between being like Europeans and being ourselves is so real. Debates on what can be referred to as local music and western music are ever rife. The choir plays a role in helping Zambians establish their identity in the worship space. As a choir, we strive to sound local when singing local dialects and lead by example as such.

Libebo: Our main goal as a choir is to keep on spreading the word of God to as many places, races and cultures as we possibly can. Our next project is an audio and video album for a number of our new songs that are not yet recorded.

KW: What are your goals for the choir, and what is your next major

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KW: Thank you so much for sharing with us. One love from Jamaica to Zambia and may Yahweh continue to bless your work and bring glory to His name. p






his survey was completed by persons who are church goers, church leaders or Worship leaders on the African continent or in the Caribbean although there were two from the United Kingdom. We sought to discover what is the perception of people of African descent on the African continent and in the Caribbean region regarding the percentage of songs used in corporate worship that are indigenous, written by their own people and using their own music genres. We then sought to discover what music they think SHOULD BE sung. We received a total of 84 responses.

Our respondents were from the following Countries: Angola ..........................................1 Bahamas........................................1 Barbados ......................................5 Botswana.......................................1 Cayman Islands............................1 Jamaica.......................................25 Kenya...........................................12 Malawi...........................................1 Oman.............................................1 South Africa..................................4 Trinidad & Tobago.......................7 Uganda..........................................1 United Kingdom...........................2 Zambia........................................18 Zimbabwe.....................................4 Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 21



Under 20 ........ 2........................2.4% 20-30............... 20.................. 23.8% 31-40............... 22.................. 26.2% 41-50............... 20.................. 23.8% 51-60............... 13.................. 15.5% 61-70............... 6........................7.1% Over 70........... 1........................1.2%

SDA.............................38........ 45.2% United/Presbyterian 15........ 17.9% Evangelical.................13........ 15.5% Pentecostal/Apostolic.6.......... 7.1% New Apostolic............. 5............. 6% Nazarene...................... 2.......... 2.4% Anglican....................... 1.......... 1.2% Mennonite................... 1.......... 1.2% Reformed..................... 1.......... 1.2% Christian Brethren ...... 1.......... 1.2% Non-Denominational .1.......... 1.2%

CHURCH ROLES Pastor/Church Leader.9 ....... 10.7% Worship Leader........ 34........ 40.5% Church Member....... 41........ 48.8%

These are the questions we asked and the responses we got:

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From among our respondents, generally speaking, people would like to sing more of their own people’s songs in corporate worship than they are currently singing. The majority say that less than 30% of the songs currently used are their own, but they would like to sing more than 50% of their own songs, and even up to 90%! Among the Adventist respondents, the overwhelming favourite style of music for corporate worship is Hymns. The next favourite overall is Hillsongs/Contemporary Christian Music. We find it very interesting to note that although the vast majority thinks that most of the songs used in corporate worship should be their own, their favourite is not their own! Why would that be? We could propose three possible reasons: Their emotions and spiritual experiences are rooted in and

wedded to the hymns. Perhaps although the hymns are not originally their own, they perform/sing them using their own instrumentation, intonation and diction. It could be simply because sufficient songs in their own genres/languages do not exist, so they have no or insufficient experience with them in the corporate worship space. The KW Magazine believes in the importance of using our own songs (our language, our music genres, our experiences and realities) in worship. We therefore are interested in knowing why it often doesn’t happen for our people, and exploring ways of bringing about that transformation, to the glory of our God. We will therefore seek to do more research in an attempt to get to the bottom of this matter. p

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My Afro is my crown This dark tanned skin my gown Fully loaded hips all round Feet firmly on the ground A Naturally formed Black woman

My Afro is my crown Thick, black, gingery brown These kinky locs have me the talk of the town Ever since I let it down Worked it, owned it, to the ground Tresses intricately woven My Afro is my crown Watch my haters frown Say I let myself down When I let my hair down But watch my lovers drown, in the sea of my enchantment As they see my inner movement Lit dark brown woman My Afro is my crown Despite the thorns on my brow Clumps in my hand and on the ground from my fifth round of therapy Now thinning and shorn still proudly worn, my legacy Against the odds Black Woman My Afro is my crown Kings and queens are born As I open my heart and push from my loins

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As I feed from my breasts the heirs to my throne A king beside me or on my own Mother of creation Your Afro is your crown Put it up or pull it back, but never put it down Even if they put you down Pick yourself up, fix your crown Make this next season your own My melanin coated sister Your Afro is your crown And don’t you forget it The years our masters forbid it Gave us a band to cover it. Don’t leave home without it Whether you perm or straighten it, wear it. Your symbol of defiance Your Afro is your crown Let me help you plait and care it Protect from those who kill it Who pour their poison in it Let me show you how to grow it Oil your roots and strengthen it Your jewel encrusted bonnet We crown you queen Black Woman © 2020 Not to be reproduced, copied or printed without the written consent of the copyright owner Claion B Grandison (Bishop, New Testament Church of God, UK)

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Jamaican native, ANDREW MARSHALL has been active as a composer, arranger, pianist, music director, performance coach, and music consultant for over two decades. He is the Choir Director at The Winsor School in Boston, Massachusetts. ​ His creative output spans a broad range of genres and musical forces. Among his orchestral output are four symphonies for orchestra: Run-A-Boat, Nyabinghi, Kongkongkraba and Fourteen. Other extended works in his catalogue 26 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

include the opera, Hardtalk, Reggae Mass for mixed chorus and orchestra, Revivalist Suite for mixed choir, and Wa Jiizas Priich Se Pan Di Mountn, a suite of settings of the Beatitudes from the Jamiekan Nyuu Testiment. He has completed and premiered Jiizas Pashan azkaadn tu Matyu (2019), a 90-minute work for mixed voices, soloists and orchestra with text from the Jamiekan Nyuu Testiment, and most recently, a nativity work, Jiizas a-go Baan (2018) for the same forces, also with text from the Jamiekan Nyuu Testiment.

​ ndrew has also several arrangements A and compositions in his portfolio varying in difficulty, genres, styles, and content. Examples from his complete catalogue may be found in the Books & Music tab on www.andrewstcmarshall. net ​ For over fifteen years Andrew served as music director and accompanist for Maranatha Ministries, a dramatic musical ensemble led by his mother, Jacqueline Marshall. During his tenure with the group, Andrew completed two tours to England and Wales, and multiple tours across the United States and Jamaica. ​ In 2010 Andrew founded and has since directed the Jamaica Choral Scholars’ Festival, an annual event that underscores the creation and performance of Caribbean choral works. Since its inception Andrew has commissioned Caribbean-centric anthems, and edited existing choral works for performance, including Lisa Narcisse’s First Jamaican Mento Mass, Second Jamaican Mento Mass; and Samuel Felsted’s oratorio Jonah. He has received commissions from organizations such as the Office of the Governor General of Jamaica, Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica, Immaculate Conception High School for Girls, Jamaica Information Service,

Jamaica Symphony Orchestra, Jamaica Youth Chorale, Kingston College Chapel Choir, and Cimarron Opera Company. ​ Recently, Andrew was awarded first prize in the Huntsville Master Chorale Choral Composition Competition for his choral setting of the poem ‘April’ by Ella Higginson. The work received its world premiere performance by the Huntsville Master Chorale in Spring 2018. ​ Andrew received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern Caribbean University (Mandeville, Jamaica), a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College of Rider University (Princeton, New Jersey), and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma (Norman, Oklahoma). Andrew also holds an Advanced Certificate in Piano Performance from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). ​ ​Andrew is actively engaged in writing compositions and arrangements in a variety of styles and idioms, including pop acapella pieces and extended works. Contact Andrew at to request a commission for your group. p (From Dr. Marshall’s website: Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 27



(Not only for Jamaicans!)

Didan Ashanta


lmost every week, I see a friend posting about some green juice or green smoothie they had or need to have. I’ve enjoyed a few myself and I remember my introduction to the world of green beverages: an extremely refreshing bottle of callaloo juice I randomly picked up off a supermarket shelf some years ago. It had only 5 ingredients: water, callaloo, lime juice, ginger and sugarcane juice. You can’t do it any better than that! *Ahhhhhh* I usually whip up my green smoothies at home by grabbing whatever’s green and blending it with a little water and a bit of fruit. If I have any bananas that are becoming over-ripe, I normally chuck them into the freezer for use in a smoothie. This is because I find that frozen fruit makes the drink extra chilly and quite the right stuff on these ‘force-ripesummer’ hot days we’re having. Most green smoothie recipes that you’ll find online will call for green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard or mustard greens. However, if you’re in Jamaica, you don’t need to complicate things by thinking 28 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

‘foreign’! We have an abundance of our own green leafy vegetables to choose from. If you don’t believe me, look in your fridge! Don’t you see something green?! Unless you live in a home with a very blessed backyard, or just went to visit your granny in the country, you’ll need to add the ingredients for your green smoothie stash to your regular grocery list. No! You don’t need to go through the hassle of travelling to the market to haggle for quality produce at great prices. To get all your fruits and leafy greens, you could use an affordable but high quality market delivery service; people who will bring your fruits, veggies and any other produce to your home or office door for likkl n nutten. But, if you need the exercise from walking around and you enjoy the social interaction, please go to your neighbourhood fruit stand and green grocer, or a farmer’s market. Don’t forget that we need to build Jamaica by buying Jamaican and eating Jamaican! Once you’ve got your fruit and leafy green stash, you’ll probably need some ideas for how to combine them for yummy beverages. While I enjoy my spontaneously crazy fruit and vegetable combinations, my green smoothies may not get the same frothy grins from you. So, I checked out the blog at Simple Green Smoothies and they have a lot of info for the clueless and even offer a Free Green Smoothie Recipe e-Book. They also have what they call “The 60/40 Formula’’ in which your recipe is always 60% fruits and 40% leafy greens. “For example: 3 cups fruit, 2 cups dark leafy greens, 1-2 cups of water. Makes 32-40oz or 4-5 cups.” But, don’t get bogged down by all the recipes that call for weird sounding leafy greens, berries and super foods – just use my list of Jamaican fruits, vegetables and liquids outlined below, to make your green smoothies low-cost and local: Leafy Green






Pak Choi


Coconut Water



Nut Milk (coconut/almond)



Tea (Peppermint/Lemongrass)

Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 29

Leafy Green





Cherry Guava Passionfruit Otheiti Apple June Plum Soursop Sweetsop Once you’ve decided that you want to get your green smoothie habit going, my recommendation is that you: 1. Plan for one week of juices. Fail to plan? Plan to fail! 2. Make a shopping list. Don’t get too much of anything and don’t end up with snacks or other junk that distract you while you shop. 3. Get your ingredients. Wherever you can: Market Delivery Service. Local fruit stand and green grocer. Farmer’s Market. Your backyard. 4. Grab 5 mins to gather your stuff, blend and fill your bottle to go. The quickest meal you ever made! LOL. 5. Always use local fruits and veggies and buy whatever is in season. Healthy doesn’t mean you have to be wealthy or make someone else wealthy. Remember, if you want to up your veg intake or just ensure you have something sensible for the day, try a green smoothie! No strainers, no twisting of muslin cloths to wring out precious juices. No fibre lost. But, whatever you do, just keep it simple and fill up on your greens! p Edited with permission from - The Vibrant Life. Didan Ashanta is a Life Designer who teaches, motivates and inspires go-getters to design vibrant lives built on habits that nurture the body, mind and spirit.

30 | KW Magazine Nov 2020


Sylvia Gilfillian

Educator & Author

Black Like Me: Part 4

A young Jamaican girl learns to accept and love her dark skin

Characters: The child: Ebony, The adults Uncle Natty and Sandra Setting: Uncle Natty’s house in Stony Hills


When Ebony was done watching Henry Louis Gates documentary on the African Americans, her head was light, her eyes were tired and her mind was reeling from information overload. She looked across the living room to her mother who seemed thoughtful. It was Uncle Natty who was seated at the dining table who finally broke the silence.

Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 31

“Any a yu did know dat a so much great kingdoms of black people did rise and fall in a Africa? Don’t unu did believe se a ongl buguyaga, bush people kom from Africa?” Sandra answered while Ebony listened.

“Uncle, I know that good people de a Africa. I watched the Shaka Zulu mini-series years ago an mi did surprise se di Zulu kingdom was such a great and powerful nation, but to be honest, until I watched this documentary, I did not know about Sudan, , Timbuktu or the great Ashanti kingdoms. It look like se civilization begin a Africa.” Uncle Nathy’s eyes shone as he responded.

“Yu right bout dat but when di European dem decided to invade and enslave Africans, dem justify it wid di big lie dat notn black an good no come from Africa. A dat big lie tie we up wid self-hatred like Anansi web. Dat is why di pikni dem laaf afta yu beautiful black skin. Dem don’t know any better because dem mind in darkness. When I look at you, I see di beautiful Maroon uman who was mi granny. She was pure African an she never shame bout it. She as a bush doctor who know di use a every herb known in these parts and is plenty people life she save because of her skill and knowledge.” Uncle Natty suddenly rose from his chair with a look of urgency and made for his bedroom. He soon returned with a framed photograph wrapped in tissue paper. He did not go back to his seat before inviting Ebony and her mother to join him at the table. When they were seated, he placed the gold- framed picture before them at the center of the dining table. It was the first time that Ebony had ever seen the picture and before she could speak Uncle Natty said with reverence, “This is my most prized possession.” The subject of the picture was a very stern lady who looked gravely into the camera. Her eyes were deep-set below a prominent forehead. Her cheekbones were chiseled and high and her strong chin was dimpled as were both cheeks. Her lips were small, yet full and held with a firmness bordering on a scowl. Ebony could tell that this was a strong woman and before she could ask the question in her mind, Uncle Natty answered. 32 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

“That there is my granny who was related to both Paul Bogle and Marcus Garvey.” Ebony picked up the framed picture and almost dropped it when Uncle Natty announced very firmly, “You are the one to have it. I was wondering all along who should get it but is you.” She was unsure how to respond but she knew instinctively that she had been given a great responsibility. She felt a little scared and uncertain but her mother spoke and set her fears to rest.

“I will keep it for you until you can take care of it. You will pass it on to your children and they to their children.” Ebony looked up into the solemn eyes of her mother and nodded. Their silence held an agreement. Ebony and Sandra had a sumptuous Sunday dinner with Uncle Natty. They had both helped him to prepare it and as they sat down to brown-stewed snapper, rice and gungu peas, kalalu and carrot juice, Ebony basked in a new, unfamiliar but pleasing sensation. She was beginning to feel a slowly creeping sensation of pride in the knowledge that she had not just dropped from the shy into Kingston, Jamaica. She had had come by way of the enslavement of her ancestors from an endless lineage of men and women who had hunted, planted crops, built cities and delivered civilization to humanity. Uncle Natty later walked them to the car and gave Ebony one last gift and a hug. It was a fairly heavy volume with the title: The Story of the Jamaican People by Sir Philip Sherlock and Hazel Bennett. They drove away from Uncle Natty, filled with a quiet contentment, each thinking their own private thoughts. The End. p Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 33

List of all African countries and their Independence Days, colonial names and former colonizers Country Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon

Independence Day July 5, 1962 November 11, 1975 August 1, 1960 September 30, 1966 August 5, 1960 July 1, 1962 January 1, 1960

Cape Verde C.A.R Chad Comoros Congo Congo DR Cote d’Ivoire Djibouti Egypt Eq Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia

July 5, 1975 August 13, 1960 August 11, 1960 July 6, 1975 August 15, 1960 June 30, 1960 August 7, 1960 June 27, 1977 February 28, 1922 October 12, 1968 May 24, 1993 over 2000 years, Never colonized

Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea Bissau

August 17, 1960 February 18, 1965 March 6, 1957 October 2, 1958 September 10, 1974 September 24, 1973 December 12, 1963 October 4, 1966

Kenya Lesotho

34 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

Colonial Name

(formerly) Kingdom of Aksum

Gold Coast

Colonial Rulers France Portugal French Britain France Belgium French-administered UN trusteeship Portugal France France France France Belgium France France Britain Spain Ethiopia -France Britain Britain France Portugal Britain Britain


July 26, 1847

Libya Madagascar Malawi Mali Mauritania Mauritius Morocco Mozambique Namibia

December 24, 1951 June 26, 1960 July 6, 1964 September 22, 1960 November 28, 1960 March 12, 1968 March 2, 1956 June 25, 1975 March 21, 1990

Niger Nigeria Rwanda

August 3, 1960 October 1, 1960 July 1, 1962

SaoTomePrincipe Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Somalia

July 12, 1975 April 4, 1960 June 29, 1976 April 27, 1961 July 1, 1960

South Africa Sudan Swaziland Tanzania Togo

December 11, 1931, April 1994 (end of apatheid) January 1, 1956 September 6, 1968 April 26, 1964 April 27, 1960

Tunisia Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe

March 20, 1956 October 9, 1962 October 24, 1964 April 18, 1980

American colonization Society Italy France Britain France France Britain France Portugal South African mandate France Britain Belgium administered UN trusteeship Portugal France Britain Britain British Somaliland Britain Italian Somaliland Italy Union of South Britain Africa Egypt, Britain Britain Britain French administered UN trusteeship France Britain Britain Britain Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 35

Identity Crisis In the Caribbean


Out of Many One People he Jamaican founding fathers had the perspicacity to provide a powerful national motto: ‘OUT OF MANY ONE PEOPLE!’ It is an absolute truth that none of us can extract any portion of ourselves from the combination of forces that bind us together; we are the sum of it all, good and bad. Only we have the power to determine if it will be for the better that we coexist in this rich heritage. Our predominant West African ethnicity per se, doesn’t predispose any one group to be more worthy than the other because we are all 36 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

caught up in the identity crisis of who we are. As long as we use physical traits to assign worth we are walking on thin ice, a tightrope over a precipitous chasm because I know, as a Jamaican, that ‘looks’ alone cannot define someone’s’ ethnicity. I put it to you, if you put 100 Jamaicans in a line, what does a Jamaican look like? We are all mixed up and we should love it! Therefore, I am completely persuaded and committed to debunking the misnomer of race that has blinded, fragmented and weakened us for so long. It is diabolical and destructive at its worst and at its least hypocritical. I learned the word racism in

secondary school as a part of the history curriculum, where we were taught about The Transatlantic Slave Trade. The Black Peoples of the Americas were placed into a broader context of being the children of displaced people. Our ancestors belonged in the old eastern world and as their progeny we were developing a fledgeling western culture. The curriculum taught me that I was first a Jamaican national, then a citizen of the Caribbean, the Americas and of the world. My teachers inspired activism in me to fight injustice and the greatest crime, being self-hate, and aIso, a commitment to region-building, to help make my region great. However, my idealism was soon shattered as I became ashamed of a regional phenomena, a dirty secret: Bigotry! Identity Trauma Thriving in the beautiful islands was deep rooted bigotry: the factions of elitism, the divisiveness of colourism, the disenfranchisement of classism and the segregation of reverse racism. It seemed contradictory as on the surface, we are very accepting and hospitable to foreigners and their culture. However, there was an underlying tension that was subtly expressed in the boardrooms of industry, the seat of Governance, the pulpits and pews, on the playground, in our social hierarchies and in the social commentary of popular

culture. We were all accomplices to this crime against humanity. It slowly poisoned our identity and crippled us. We see the symptoms in skin bleaching, cosmetic procedures and the killme-dead pursuit for social status symbols that places us higher up on the social hierarchy than others and the ethnic killings of some of our neighbours. The Plantation Model of ‘Means of Control’ is still clandestinely at work. If we are honest, we’d all acquiesce that we struggle with our Africanness and we’re biased towards those who appear to be less African. I had 50 years of internalised trauma of being called ‘red gal’ or ‘Cordelia Brown’ because ‘my head was so red in the sun’ and feeling completely lost as to who I was. I cringed when others were called, ‘Laiyad Coolie’, ‘Tiefing Chiney Bway’, or ‘Dutty Niega’. It was all learned behaviour, subliminally passed on in the narrative of our elders. “She have good hair, she light-skinned and pretty eh?” “Him too dark, you children going to be dark.” “You black and ugly like sin!” These were typical soundbites from the soundtrack of Caribbean life. Haven’t we all been guilty of claiming our European and ‘other’ ethnic ancestry but neglecting our African heritage? I remember clearly how I dreaded every Heritage Week play where, commensurate with the National Motto, each ethnic group in Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 37

costume and paraphernalia was this issue of identity crisis in the called out and they stood in Caribbean. A popular Hollywood their representative groups. The actress was fighting for the Indians, the Chinese, the Africans, custody of her baby girl who is of the Europeans ... and where was mixed European-American and I supposed to stand? It was a African- American heritage. She conundrum! So had recently I got shoved divorced We need to see each other wherever the her husband c o o r d i n a t i n g as one human race and who was teacher felt deal honestly with the hurts Caucasian. I needed to we have caused others, A tirade of go to make opinions up numbers. apologise, forgive and move s u p p o r t e d I never quite on without acrimony. the ‘one drop figured out rule’ that since where I belonged. the actress is African- American so was her child and therefore the I felt like I was an embarrassment father should have no right to his to either side of the family tree. So, child. I felt the buried trauma of my I chose to date dark-skinned boys childhood rising up; remembering to ‘fit in’. My family was outraged being forced to choose between and my peers were unimpressed. either side of my ethnicity. Is it My own hypocrisy found me out, right to ask any human to fragment as I soon realised that the shade themselves to fit into a contrived of one’s skin was no basis upon social construct? “Nooo”... was which to befriend someone; but my scream. As I’ve found my then I found out that ironically voice, I write in defence of every many of my ‘friends’ hung with Caribbean child who has ever felt me because I was perceived to forced to make this cruel choice. be the ‘uptown browning’. I knew this fakery was not their fault so I How is one parent’s ethnicity better endured. It was not until the impact or worse than the other? By whose of Garveyism and the resistance standard and whose rule? Then if of Rastafarianism that our people we succumb to this wickedness, began to value themselves as a how will we be our true selves? collective whole. However, my We have to judge people by their Generation,’ X’, was still caught character and spirit, rather than in the ‘tug of war’ between two just the body that houses them. countervailing world views. How superficial, how shallow and how sad indeed? Humans are so Free At last! very complex and have so much A Youtube debate helped me to more to offer than just what they find my voice and inner clarity on 38 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

look like or who their parents were. As I entered the fray of that debate I was armed and ready to advocate for this evil to end and I felt my own liberation begin. I found my voice on the matter. I am of mixed heritage, and proud! Hindsight is 20/20 Vision. It is now 2020. It is full time that we see things as they are. We all have different preferences and should be free to choose to love and live accordingly. Changing The Plantation Narrative and Patterns The self hatred that has dogged us because we have more or less melanin in our skin is ungodly. There is unity in diversity in God’s

design and when we choose to hate ourselves, we are flying in the face of God. We need to see each other as one human race and deal honestly and responsibly with the hurts and wounds that we have caused each other, apologise, forgive and move on without acrimony. Reiterating the plantation narrative breaks God’s heart and we are debilitating our transformation into “the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ” which is ONE BODY - ONE MAN IN CHRIST. p Angela B. Slack Educator, curriculum/literacy specialist, technical author, editor and publisher.


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Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 39

uestions with








40 | KW Magazine Nov 2020



Some of us know you for your involvement in the 1970s Lovers Rock group Brown Sugar. When and how did you transition to gospel/ Christian music? I was the founding member of the group at the young age of 14 and we were together for 3years after which I sang as a solo Reggae artist releasing another 7 songs up until 1985. Ihad a significant encounter with Christ in 1983 and after my baptism into the Brixton SDAchurch, I started a Gospel group called Chosen. Again, the group lasted for about 3 years andI went on to sing with other known UK gospel singers in various guises and settings. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to embark on a solo music ministry.


What was your first gospel release and in what year was it produced?

Beams From Heaven, originally written and composed by Dr Charles Albert Tindley ( 1852 -1933) who was an eminent preacher at the turn of the century. This reggae version was recorded in 2014 and produced by Carlton ‘Bubblers’ Ogilvie of NU EDGE Productions here in the UK.


Would you say you are primarily involved in gospel music because of a specific call or because of your talent? Definitely because of a calling and not my talent!


In our live conversations, you have described yourself as a ‘Rasventist’. Can you explain to our readers what that means to you? As a former Rastafarian I have held onto my Black identity as an African Caribbean woman. Sometimes in the church environment there is a distancing from our rich past and heritage. As a Ras-ventist I’m acknowledging my people’s great historical and biblical past, embracing the relationship our Nation had from the beginning of creation with the Creator God, Yahushua who is Christ Jesus. So, if ‘Ras’ is the head then Jesus Christ is the Head of my faith, belief, and redemption at the foot of the cross! And without apology, I see my maker ‘As I Am’.


Are you a full time musician? If not, how else do you spend your time?

No. My vocation over the past 35 years has been in the creative sector, including Arts management with a specialism in Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 41

Cultural Diversity working with artists, venues and lecturing. Since returning to music I have been freelancing as a Bid Writer and a Foster Carer as I love working with young people, especially teens.


You recently released the single Catch the Boat. However, prior to this you had released an entire album by the same name. When did you release the album? The Album was released in 2017.


Do you have a specific ministry goal for the music on this album?

What did you hope to achieve through these songs? These songs were written over a 40-year period, and my intention was to share my faith, creative vision, and the Word of God without any dilution, of His ‘End time’ message to the world.


Why did you decide to release the single Catch the Boat this year?

When I first recorded this track, I released the album prematurely as a tribute to the producer Wayne Brown who died before the album’s completion. I am currently re-mixing several tracks from the album to the standard that they should have been executed. Timings meant that the title

42 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

track ‘Catch the Boat’ was the first Single released and Re-mixed from the album ready for 2020.


You had a plan for touring in 2020 to promote the album. However, in came Covid-19! How have you been pivoting in this season? As it’s said, ‘’We Plan but God has a Plan!’’ So, to answer this question, it is amazing how since Covid 19 and Lockdown, I have suddenly found myself writing prose and poetry which I am now looking to publish as a book after several requests. I am also working on some new musical compositions and an EP to be released for 2021.


What is your dream for your music ministry in the next 5-10 years, barring Christ’s return? To grow my ministry organically, having a global impact by reaching the hearts and minds of those searching for an answer, and to be true to my calling in whatever way I am led and inspired by Christ.


What is your personal life verse/ passage of Scripture?

Revelation 12:11 - “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the wordof their testimony and loved not their lives unto death.” p

Cross Over/Kraas Uova Nyabinghi

Words and music by Jo-Ann Richards Score by James Gilliland of

chorus (English)

b 4 B¨ &b 4 œ œ



œ œ œ œœ œ œ œ œœœ œ œ œ œ œ œ

I don't want my bones to be bu-ried on this side of the Jor-dan Ri-ver

b &b



œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

œ œ

I don't want my bones to be

b B¨ &b œ œ

bu-ried on this side of the Jor - dan Ri-ver



œ œ œ œœ œ œ œœœœ œ œ œ œ œ œ

I don't want my bones to be bu-ried on this side of the Jor-dan Ri-ver

b & b Ϫ



j œ Ó E¨

o - ver,


j j j œ Œ ‰ œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ


o - ver,




I have to cross

j j‰ Œ Ó œ œ

ver to the Pro-mised Land.


œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ

Mi no waahn mi buon dem fi be-ri pan dis

b &b


b &b

Œ Œ œ œœœ œ

said a di Jaa-dan Ri- va,

no, no, no, no


Œ œ œ œ™ ‰

Œ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ

Mi no waahn mi buon dem fi 25


Œ Œ ‰ j œ œ œ œ

chorus (Jamaican)

b &b




be-ri pan dis

said a di Jaa-dan Ri- va,


œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ b œœ œœ œœ œœ

Mi no waahn mi buon dem fi be-ri pan dis

bB¨/D E¨j Ó b & œ™ œ bœ ™ œ


uo - va,


œ™ bœ ™

j j œ Œ ‰ œœ œ


uo - va



no, no!


Œ ‰ j œ œœ œ

said a di Jaa-dan Ri- va, E¨/G


œ œ œ œ b œj œ j œ œ œ b œ œ œ œœ


va tu di Pra-mis


mi a - fi kraas B¨

j‰ Œ Ó œœ

Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 43



Devotional Devotional B

PSALM 87:1-7

efore writing hymns, John Newton was the captain of a slave ship; that is, until his conscience was pricked as he witnessed the inhumane treatment of African people. Rejecting his former life, Newton sought atonement through Christian ministry and made an enduring contribution through the pensive hymn, Amazing Grace. The melodic inspiration for Newton’s hymn was probably drawn from his haunting nightmares of slaves moaning in the belly of the ship. 44 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

Newton’s experience with slavery could have inspired another of his compositions. The first line declares, “Glorious things of Thee are spoken, Zion city of our God.” This eighteenth century composition is based on an ancient Hebraic hymn penned by the Sons of Korah, who were fascinated by the spiritual symbolism attached to Zion. At the heart of the ancient hymn Yahweh makes a profound declaration: “I will make mention of Rahab (Egypt)

and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia. This man was born there.” (Psalm 87:4) Egypt? Ethiopia? Could this be happenstance or was it deliberate? Did Newton recognize this as a hymn about God’s plan for Africa’s children? The notion of Africans being a special people of God may sound strange. However, here they are citizens of a royal city that Yahweh himself has established (Ps. 87:1). This city is the heavenly Zion where the Lamb stands with the host of the redeemed (Rev 14:5). It is distinguished from the “dwelling places of Jacob” (Ps 87:2). It is not the troubled hotspot in the Middle East but a beautiful place of “glory” (87:3). Although Citizenship in this beautiful place is open to all “who know Yahweh” (87:4), the psalm is careful to identify the location of some of the inhabitants: Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre and Cush. Interestingly, these locations are aligned with Ham, the progenitor of the African peoples (cf. Gen 10). Perhaps the psalmists singled out Africans among “those who know Yahweh” for such a time as this. After a holocaust of four centuries, the children of Africa need to know that God has not forgotten us. Those who have twisted God’s word for their own oppressive agenda could not erase the affirmation that this “African” was born in Zion—we belong!

Our bodies have been mutilated by Arab and European slavery. Our nations have been robbed by Western imperialism and colonialism. Our humanity has been challenged by mass incarceration and deportation. But know this, while we may moan and mourn, the word establishes our worth in Zion. God has not forgotten, and He will plant us in the city that He himself established. (Ps 87:5) “The Lord Himself registers His people” (87:6). He records every tear; every victim of police brutality; every person subjected to racial prejudice. As God keeps a record of injustice, He registers the names of the faithful. We may feel alienated in this world, but we can be comforted by the refrain that “this one was born here.” Zion is our home. Our hope in Zion affects our attitude, and with hope, we can sing. We sing because we know who we are. We sing because we know whose we are. Hence, the psalmists’ declaration: “As they make music, they will sing, ‘All my fountains are in you’.” (Ps 87:7) This is our song. We refuse to join those who have allowed their song to be stolen by embracing the skepticism of the oppressor. We refuse to confuse God’s kingdom with Eurocentric cultural distortions. We are not an afterthought; we were born in Zion! Hallelujah! p Dr. Keith Augustus Burton Theologian, Author, Graduate Professor of Religion at Advent Health University. Nov 2020 KW Magazine | 45



THE KW MAGAZINE! The KW Magazine is a project of CREW 40:4 which operates as a non-profit organization based in Jamaica. We have been receiving testimonies of the positive impact the ministry has been having on a diverse cross-section of people, and would love to keep going as time and resources permit. Here are ways you can help to keep this CREWShall work going: Purchase the pdf downloads ($5USD per issue) in our E-Store at Make a donation to the KW Magazine Tribe under the ‘Giving’ tab at

46 | KW Magazine Nov 2020

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