Reggae artiste evicted from market - For celebrating God, Obama in song
Jah Jah Yute, a New Jersey-based reggae artiste, was recently been permanently evicted from the Englishtown Auction, a lucrative flea market located in Englishtown, NJ for what he has described as his penchant for singing about the virtues of the Almighty God and President Obama.
Steadman Shearer, also known as Jah Jah Yute, from Upper Rock Spring, in Hanover, Jamaica, said he was forced out of a flea market that has provided a productive livelihood for him formore than 10 years, because of his positive stance towards God and President Obama. Jah Jah Yute, a cousin of former Jamaican prime minister, Hugh Shearer, has operated successfully as a vendor at the market since 2006, performing and selling his CDs on Saturdays and Sundays to in excess of 20,000 shoppers who visit the market daily.
He typically sells about 800 copies of his CDs per month, pushing him way ahead in music sales of most big-name reggae artists. His music touches socio-political issues, and spirituality for empowerment, and the message of peace, love and joy.
Each weekend, he sets up a table displaying his music, he attracts attention and sales by performing live at the venue with the aid of a portable boom box.
He said he has built an impressive fan base from the flea market, that has allowed him to take care of his wife and kids and send barrels back home regularly to Jamaica.
All this changed in May.
A few weeks ago, he was approached by "a lady in the management office", Jah Jah Yute told The Gleaner. "First, she said I could no longer play 'God music' as this is a market and not a church".
"Then when I started to push my President Obama song called King President, a song that celebrates the great job that this president continues to do, the same lady repeatedly came back at me in quick succession, asking me first to cut the volume.
I complied, with the volume being set by a representative of the facility.
Then she wanted the music turned off completely. Bear in mind that I've been operating here, doing the same thing for over 10 years, and paying a fee to this company every single week", he added.
The issue came to a head on Sunday, May 15. Jah Jah Yute said, after he had performed King Obama, with the lyrics 'Obama, the king president/ Respect him/ Honor him/ Crown him/ He was born for a cause'.
Two policemen showed up, ordering him to immediately pack and go, and demanding that he sign a form, pledging never to return to the market, neither as a vendor nor a shopper.
No reason was stated on the form for the forceful eviction, but the form made it clear that any future visit by Jah Jah Yute to the market would be considered trespassing.
Englishtown Auction was called for clarification from one Carla, a manager there, and they promised to call back but never did.
"Right now I feel deeply disappointed that I am living in a world where I am being silenced and terrorised for singing about the Almighty God and about President Obama.
I know its election season and that brings out the worse in some people, but all I want to do is spread my roots rock reggae message of peace and love", Jah Jah Yute complained.
Shearer has since contacted the offices of Rev Al Sharpton with a formal complaint.
He is also in the process of securing an attorney to file a lawsuit.