GARNET SILK AND HIS FAITH IN RASTAFARI!

Garnet Silk—-

IF there was one thing Garnet Silk never tired of talking, it was Rastafari. His commitment to the faith was the focus of his lifestyle and music.

Silk was introduced to Rastafarian movement by Yasus Afari, a dub poet from St Elizabeth, in the late 1980s. Back then, he (Silk) was a fledgling entertainer from Manchester known as Little Bimbo.

Yasus Afari

Yasus Afari

“Yasus Afari teach Garnet an’ Tony Rebel ’bout the teachings of Rasta. He’s the one who came up with the name Christian Souljahs,” said Aaron Silk, Garnet Silk’s younger brother. “It was Yasus the dub poet, Rebel the deejay and Garnet the singer.”

Aaron told the Sunday Observer last week that his brother’s career started as a deejay on Manchester sound systems like Destiny Outanational. Typical of the 1980s, some of Little Bimbo’s lyrics were suggestive, although by the time he released his first song Problem on The Level, he had discovered Rasta.

Tony Rebel

Tony Rebel

Though he never forced his faith on him, Aaron Silk remembers Garnet encouraging him to learn about the teachings of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, whom many Rastafarians regard as God.

“Mi used to laugh sometimes when him talk ’bout Rasta. Him tell mi one time sey, ‘Mi likkle bredda, yuh can laugh all yuh want. Don’t say he is or he is not, jus’ seek an’ find out fi yuhself. Read wid a clean conscience an’ a pure heart,” Aaron recalled.

Garnet Silk was extremely close to Afari and Rebel. Their bond sparked a roots revival in dancehall music in the early 1990s, wresting the dominance from the ‘slackness’ and gun lyrics of artists like Shabba Ranks and Ninja Man.

Aaron Silk

Aaron Silk

That revival continued after Silk’s death on December 9, 1994 at age 28. But Aaron Silk says he would never condone some of the utterances made by fiery Rastafarian artists of the late 1990s.

“Him wouldn’t do certain things like cuss Jesus, mi can tell yuh dat,” he said. “Him used to sey yuh cyan cuss a man who do so much good.”

 

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