Anthony B stands with Jamaican educators and youths
Despite the busy schedule of veteran reggae artiste Anthony B, who has been balancing multiple projects and travel for performances, he still finds time to tap into all the affairs of the people back home in Jamaica.
In regard to the recent wage debates, and the public outcry of educators across several schools on the island, Anthony B told The Gleaner that he stands with the teachers. It is a sentiment the artiste shared on social media.
“They deserve their bread and butter for what they do,” he said, adding that, “I also don’t think enough is being done to empower the youths of Jamaica.”
He explained that within the current education system, and within the standard curriculum, the true value of culture and pride in their country is not being communicated properly.
“Right now, there are so many professionals but they don’t talk about these issues; it is like there is a no plan, especially with areas such as music industry and its value – the opportunities or the platforms that are available or not available. Why is this not a big topic today?” Anthony B raised in the interview.
He added, “An artiste’s brand, or any brand, is like an egg. What people do to earn is like an egg. Guard it carefully, because at any moment it can fall and break. Be mindful of others in all your glory and stories. For a career, which is more than 10 years old, that is what I have been doing.”
Following the successful first staging of his Black and Proud Reggae Concert held inside the Amazura Concert Hall in Queens, New York, on February 25, Anthony B is convinced that he could not have chosen a better time for the inaugural event, and also for the release of his album, which is oddly enough titled Bread & Butter.
He said, “The meaning to my album title says that, yes, music is my bread and butter – my means of survival – and not just ‘I man’ but it is for a lot of Jamaicans and people all over planet Earth. I’m only telling people that whatsoever you do to survive is your bread and butter, (so) let no one stop your bread and butter, fight for it. It’s part of me, taking this journey with the people to strive for a better world, that we can all be proud of our children, and their children.”
The artiste received outpouring support from the reggae-dancehall community, including VP Records’ co-founder Patricia ‘Miss Pat’ Chin, and from the fraternity, with the likes of Turbulence and Pressure Busspipe, who showed up at a pre-concert meet-and-greet hosted by VP Records at their flagship retail store, prior to their performances in the night. First-time Grammy Award-winner Kabaka Pyramid and Iba Mahr were also guest performers.
Anthony B has plans to make the Black and Proud Reggae Concert an annual event in February, which he hopes will become a staple on the calendar for Black History Month and Reggae Month celebrations.
The more the Freedom Fighter artiste travels, the more he observes different people and cultures, as well as the way in which Jamaican culture is consumed and valued. Though he admitted that local performances are few and far between in his regular tour and travel schedule, he shared that, “I miss performing in Jamaica more. I hope to be performing back home very soon, it’s just that looking on my itinerary, whenever I do get a call for a show there, the date is always, already booked.”
Talking about how he engages fans, Anthony B said he had explored other art forms and has delved deeper into writing. Since the release of his first book, Secret to a Man’s Heart, there have been whispers about another book on the way, which he confirmed will be published in summer.
“I start writing my second book from the first one was released; it is an inspirational book to truly inspire one’s mind to think more on ideas than appearances,” he said. “It is important for me to engage the fans through in different ways, because without them, there is nothing and there are those who don’t get to listen to all music but still support other things.”
Anthony B has been named the headliner for the first day of the Reggae at the Rock in Florida on April 1, then he heads to Dallas Reggae Festival on April 7. He is also booked for major European festivals, Summerjam and Reggae Jam in Germany and the Nomade Reggae Festival in France.