Alborosie talks ‘Shadows After Dark’ campaign - Says ‘reggae is about a good revolution’
A picture of Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang and reggae star Alborosie was released as the visual to officially launch a campaign to raise awareness against human trafficking. For Alborosie, this was the culmination of a discussion which started in the summer of 2020 with Superintendent of Police Carl Berry.
“The supe, who I have worked with on other projects, told me that an initiative was needed to open people’s eyes to [the] crime of human trafficking and he suggested a song because artistes have powerful voices as well as a platform that makes people stop and listen,” Alborosie told The Gleaner. The idea resonated with him and the singer started writing the song, which he eventually titled Shadows After Dark. He then called up his friends in the music business to see if they were willing to jump on board this worthy project.
“When I explained how important it was that we make our voices heard in condemnation against trafficking in persons, all the artistes who I reached out to said ‘yes’. There was no hesitation at all. And this is also another plus, as this sign of unity is always good for the music business,” he explained.
Alborosie added, “This is the meaning of reggae. Reggae music is not only about sales, it is also about a good revolution. This is what we do in reggae from day one.”
Dean Fraser, Morgan Heritage, Etana, Tarrus Riley, Christopher Martin, Romain Virgo, Duane Stephenson, Sandy Smith, Kabaka Pyramid, Kumar and Raging Fyah, together with Alborosie, harnessed the power of reggae music to create and deliver a powerful and hauntingly beautiful song which pierces the heart of the matter.
The message is one which has oft been repeated, but somehow, in this context, with the blend of passionate voices, and familiar music, it comes across vibrant and fresh. You can see a man’s face but never his heart. Trust no shadows after dark. According to the songwriter, Alborosie, these lyrics shine the light on how easily trust can be abused. “These words are directed to the young and vulnerable population of Jamaica and the world,” he said.
The Italian singer, who is married to a Jamaican, has been living in the island for over a decade and a half, and this project adds to his growing list of charitable endeavours across the island. But the artiste, who has built a studio in the community of Big Yard off Mannings Hill Road, and has donated instruments to the general penitentiary, much prefers to do his thing quietly. “If the Ministry of Security didn’t get involved and place that spotlight on it, then I wouldn’t have been so upfront. But I understand that this human trafficking is really serious business and we have to do everything to further the conversation and keep it in focus,” he said.
Minister Chang noted that trafficking in persons is a lucrative and growing business. “It is growing, and as we get on top of dealing with the illegal drugs and firearms trades – it means the criminal organisations are losing money, and they will look to other areas, and clearly one of those areas is human trafficking.” The initiative is sponsored by the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons. Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons. This can be accomplished utilising threats, force, forms of coercion, abduction, deception or abuse of power.
Shadows After Dark is distributed by VP Records, which is also one of the partners in this project, and Alborosie was happy to share with The Gleaner that BBC radio and Vibes FM in the United Kingdom are showing much love for the song. The accompanying lyric video, which demonstrates ways in which trafficking can occur, was released on November 23, to much positive feedback. “We are preparing to shoot the official music video soon and also to secure global airplay for a song which is addressing a global problem,” Alborosie said.
Additionally, in support of Shadows After Dark, the annual International Reggae Poster Contest has joined the partnership to raise awareness of human trafficking through visual art. The competition was launched on December 1.