Like most everything else with Kartel, the publication of this book has been clouded with controversy. And is the man who advocated bleaching his skin really posing as Malcolm X on his book cover? Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain —New International Version c I start this book in the same way that I start each day of my life, with a Thank you Jah for giving me, Adjida Palmer, the inspiration to be Vybz Kartel. May the words on the pages of this book be well received.
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By Adidja Palmer and Michael Dawson. It goes without saying that this venture would be nothing without certain persons. On behalf of Addi, I would like to salute all the souljahs who helped to make this dream a reality. However, we must first acknowledge the two ladies that are the inspiration for this book and without whom there would be no Adidja Palmer or Michael Dawson.
Firstly, Theresa Wilson Palmer; I think the best way to capture the relationship between you and Addi is to depict that first night of his incarceration. You wanted to go in and see him at all costs not because Vybz Kartel was in jail but because your son was. However, despite not knowing how many days of incarceration were ahead, his only concern was that you did not see him behind bars as he was more concerned about your health than his freedom — that moment will touch me forever.
He has such great love and profound respect for you. Even during that night, there was that spiritual communication between mother and son.
A spiritual connection Addi has shared with me that he holds so dearly in his heart. The only time I have seen him emotional is when he refers to you, the kids and Shorty or other close family.
You have been my mother, father, friend and number one fan all my life. I thank you for giving me the foundation and the means to do this most important work of my life thus far. Mommy, my number one goal in life is to make you proud of me and I hope this book makes you proud, I love you Mommy, you are my hero. To my wife Camille, it is very comforting to know that I have your love and support in all my endeavors even when you know they are risky.
You have not only encouraged me but you have taken time out of your motherly duties and own workload to help me with mine. Joshie and Michael Junior, sorry about all the soccer matches and play time Daddy missed; I look forward to making it up to you. Kayla, you are my Princess and you exemplify what Addi explained to me what Gaza is — having your own identity, believing in what you believe in and work hard to achieve. To all the people who helped to work on this book, we thank you for your efforts and your bravery in speaking up for the Ghetto against Babylon.
A very special thanks to Keecha Gooch or Goochie as Addi calls you for your efforts from day one until now. We have wanted to put a label on your hard work — researcher, editor, co-ordinator, administrator, creative director — but I guess you have done it all.
This project was our toughest but we did it. Our Senior Editor, D. Paul Burke, I often wonder what it would be like to do a business venture without your advice and guidance. Sam, thanks for opening up your business to be our office and making us feel at home.
Oliver Samuels, Sizzla and all my other business partners; thanks for your support. Camille M, Jan, Aisha and the rest of the Whirlwind crew, the work has only began. It is an honourable task to be a voice for the voice less so let us do this job with the utmost zeal and vigour.
The news keeps reporting that Vybz Kartel is in jail but I disagree with that. There is indeed a man named Adidja Palmer in jail. The title of this Section is Preface and I am supposed to give you a little preview of what is to come in the book. There are literary protocols to follow; a format to adhere to; appropriate words to use; an acceptable length to work within, all these rules to follow, but how do I do that?
What is the protocol for what I am doing now? How are you supposed to write a Preface when your co-author is in jail, charged with double murder without being granted the human right to get bail? What are the rules concerning that? Are you supposed to pretend that it is not happening or do you acknowledge it and let the reader know how you truly feel?
I mean, the irony is glaring. Addi is one of the most recognizable persons in Jamaica and his visa woes are well known — yet he is not able to secure bail when, with what little knowledge I have of the justice system, the key determinant of bail eligibility is the likelihood of the accused not turning up for trial.
Now really, where is Vybz Kartel going to hide in Jamaica or how many would not recognize him at the ports? Well, I admit, I do not have the strong will and determination like Adidja Palmer. Understand, long before we wrote this book, Addi explained to me the fear he had of the police, in fact, the first email he ever sent to me explained that he felt they were out to get him.
This is one of the things we have in common due to my childhood experiences with the police. He simply had a premonition that he was next. This book has been done for nearly a year and we kept waiting for the right time. If Addi had a fear of Babylon before being incarcerated, imagine when certain things in this book are revealed — what is going to happen to him then?
I sent Addi a message that we can wait until he is out to publish the book — how are you going to write things critical of the police and expect them to be impartial, they are only human? The response I got from him was that he wants to move full speed ahead and let the chips fall where they may.
Yes, he may be incarcerated but his cry on behalf of Ghetto people will not be silenced. Please do not think for a second that Addi wants to be viewed as a martyr or as one sacrificing his life for the Ghetto. No, to be clear, he is just a Ghetto yute angry at society for what it has done to poor people; he recognizes he has a voice and he is using it.
Of course, I have concerns for my own safety, for that of my family and the persons who worked on this book with me. As an African of Jamaican birth, I act in the tradition of my people who draw on the strength of their ancestors. I remember Marcus Garvey saying that we as black men must stand up for that which is right and not be afraid of the consequences. I take the risk of publishing this book because of them with the hope that Jamaica and the powers that be will be forced to listen to the Ghetto people after this.
Unlike Society, I do not blame you for your circumstance. There is no shame on you. The shame, the disgrace, the dregs of society, in my opinion, is the majority of the individuals that sit in Parliament and allow this to happen.
The blemish on Jamaica is those who allow big Corporations to come into Jamaica, charge poor people fees they cannot afford and whisk off billions to their home countries while poor Jamaicans suffer in deplorable living conditions unable to afford the basic necessities of life. The nasty people of Jamaica are not the ones who do not have water to bathe or flush the toilet but are the ones who make our water system inaccessible to the poor.
So it is for all of you that I write this book; the voiceless who have been victimized. As I deal with my own fear of repercussions, I can only apologize to my family and loved ones for the ridicule that may come to them.
To my children, Kayla, Michael Jr. Your father is a man who acts as he thinks best and who has been absolutely faithful to his convictions Above all be sensitive, in the deepest areas of yourself, to any injustice committed against whoever it may be in the world. May Rastafari guide and keep you always.
I will always be at peace that you are blessed with the best mother and grandmother that one could ever have. Many people have wondered how this improbable collaboration came about. How could someone who is a known Garveyite collude with the Bleacher to write a book? How did my Campion background find common ground with the Gaza? I will explain. I first met Addi, in through Ryan Gary Braithwaite a.
Reluctantly, I did because the music that I heard from Vybz Kartel at the time was not to my liking. Gary knows that I n I a Rastafari and I stay away from certain things.
However, at the event we exchanged courteous salutations and I remember commenting to my COO at the time, that I was taken aback by how extraordinarily well mannered Vybz Kartel was — not at all what I had experienced with other deejays.
In fact, he started the conversation that was to be about a concert by asking what it would take for his children to get into Campion. He then went on to explain how he intended to set up their college fund and create financial security for them and the rest of his family. I realized what Addi was reluctant to admit; that deep down he realized he had the gift of being a lyricist and the ability to put it on a Dancehall rhythm like no one else had. He feared however my observation, that being known as a conscious artist would give him a label that he did not want.
Later on, things became a lot different during his interaction with Carolyn Cooper; he realized that what he had to say was more important than any song and out of that realization and our many discussions The Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto or Gaza if you prefer was born. If I had one word to describe Addi, I would say comedic because I have never known another person who would start your interaction each day with a joke. He is, however, more than that. As we worked on the book together, I saw that he had a mastery of " Ghetto Philosophy.
He told us about his grandmother explaining that if a tree had no mangoes people would walk by it and complain that nutten nah gwan fi da tree deh but as soon as the tree started to bear fruit, people would stone it, climb it, get a stick and pull on it just to get what it had. As soon as they were done using the tree for food, his grandmother explained further, they would turn around and curse the tree again but would always stop cursing it while the tree was feeding them.
So he sees his life as that mango tree. No one cared when he was an upcoming deejay but once he made it, the sticks and stones and yes bottles, have come after him. The thing Addi and I have most in common is our love for our mothers and children. I never thought I would meet another individual who loved his children as much as I do so it was easy for us to get along and talk for hours about them.
I remember him calling me about 2 a. He then reminded me to not let my children watch that channel. In the summer, he complained that his schedule was not giving him enough time to spend with the kids.
I remember him taking the time to encourage Michael Jr to do well in school on his birthday and making a special birthday video for Kayla but most of all I remember him being the first person to call me when my mother had surgery. In fact, he encouraged me to take a break from us writing so that I could be with her. The desire for a talented deejay to speak to his "Ghetto people in a way no one has ever spoken to them and an equal desire for one who grew up humble but has had the privilege of the best in life to speak on behalf of those from where he came.
Okay, so the obvious question — how does a Garveyite deal with the bleaching. Addi is one of the most black conscious persons I know and through co-writing this book I learnt a lot about race relations and the history of racism in Jamaica from Addi. He will forever be upset with me for what I am about to disclose but Addi is one of those people who knows natural psychology, that is, he knows how to use his art as Vybz Kartel to get into the minds of people.
In fact, after over a hundred years of people bleaching, there is now a television ad on TV that is anti-bleaching. There have been more columns, more round table talk, more discussion on Black Pride since Addi bleached.
The Voice Of The Jamaican Ghetto: Incarcerated but not Silenced
By Adidja Palmer and Michael Dawson. It goes without saying that this venture would be nothing without certain persons. On behalf of Addi, I would like to salute all the souljahs who helped to make this dream a reality. However, we must first acknowledge the two ladies that are the inspiration for this book and without whom there would be no Adidja Palmer or Michael Dawson. Firstly, Theresa Wilson Palmer; I think the best way to capture the relationship between you and Addi is to depict that first night of his incarceration.
New Book: Vybz Kartel’s “Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto”
The Voice Of The Jamaican Ghetto, a book authored by controversial dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel and his business associate Michael Dawson, is still going places despite receiving some amount of resistance locally. The book was released in July , with the tag line 'Babylon can incarcerate the messenger but not the message', and it appears the words have been spoken into being, with the prestigious Princeton University recently adopting the book into its libraries. Princeton University is regarded by many as one of the most prestigious tertiary institutions in the world, and is often compared with Harvard in debates about the best universities in the United States of America. The university has one of the most robust matriculation criteria globally, and currently serves as the alma mater of former US presidents, John F. Ironically, in September of last year, merchandising manager at Whirlwind Entertainment Group Limited, Aisha Stewart, told The Sunday Gleaner that some local stores were rejecting the book.
READ THIS: Vybz Kartel “Thank You Jah”
Vybz Kartel's book offered at university - 'Voice Of The Ghetto' gets Princeton endorsement