The day before a huge, outdoor concert at NYC's SummerStage, Saxon Baird sat down with African reggae legend Tiken Jah Fakoly to discuss his latest album African Revolution, the meaning of Rastafari, reggae music and the necessary burden of being a voice for the people.
"I can say I am because Rastafari is just people who fight for justice. You don’t need to have dreadlocks or smoke ganja or to wear something that says “Rastafarian” on it. You know I am fighting for justice and talking about political struggles. I am talking about my country and my continent and my people’s situation. This is why I am Rastafarian. "
"I think if we want to be a stable continent or a stable country then we need to show to our leaders that we are the power. We as a people are the power. This revolution has already begun in Tunisia and then Egypt and I think it will come to “black Africa” in about 15 years or so. "
On being a voice for the African people:
When I am driving around in Bamako or elsewhere, people come to tell me and they say, “Tiken, you are our voice. You have to speak for us. Our president is doing this or that and you need to sing about it.” This happens everywhere I go in Africa. We are the voice of these people because we don’t have freedom of expression in all of the countries. So sometimes we say what these people, who don’t have a voice, people who don’t have a camera or a microphone on them, want us to say. This is the real mission of reggae music.
Read our entire interview with Tiken Jah Fakoly