Today (August 1), Jamaica celebrates Emancipation Day, the day that marks the end of slavery across the British Empire. It a day used to reflect on how far we’ve come as a people who were once enslaved and to pay homage to those who fought for our freedom.
In reflecting on our liberation, there are some songs that come to mind. Songs that chronicle the struggle, the pain, and the joys in obtaining freedom.
We’ve curated six such songs that you can add to your playlist BUZZ fam. Let us know if there’s any more you would add.
Slavery Days – Burning Spear
Today is the day that we reflect on the days of slavery, and Burning Spear is reminding us of what those days would entail in this one. Do you remember the days of slavery, when they beat us, work us so hard?
Redemption Song – Bob Marley
There is no discussion about freedom without inputting this classic from the King of Reggae, Bob Marley. This song details the horror that enslaved Africans endured on their journey to the Caribbean, and their subsequent struggle to attain freedom. But it also looks at the effects that slavery still has on the current generation. “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery“
Black My Story – Ziggy Marley
“Black my story. Not His-tory. African Glory. What we want to see is African Liberty” This highlights the achievements of Africa that were hidden in a history written by those who enslaved us. As we celebrate emancipation, it is also important to remember that we were more than just an enslaved people.
African – Peter Tosh
This classic by Peter Tosh, showcases that we are bound together by a common history. “I don’t care where you come from, as long as you’re a black man, you are an African/ No mind your nationality, you have got the identity of an African”.
It’s Because I’m Black – Ken Boothe
Slavery ended, but the effects are still very much alive. In this song, Ken Boothe explores some of the consequences black people still have to endure although emancipated. “Wonder why my dreams never came true/ something is holding me back/ is it because I’m black?”
Never Get Weary – Toots and the Maytals
Black people everywhere are still dealing with the effects of slavery 186 years later in the form of racial prejudice. However, Toots and the Maytals encourages us to push on in this one. “Down in the valley for a very time/and I never get weary”