Not Gonna Give It Up


Peter Tosh, dancing around in his hot pink pajama suit, doesn’t look like a terribly scary figure, but through the power of his words he was terrifying enough to some people that he had to be silenced. Many believe that his death was a political assassination. That may or may not be true, but it’s not entirely farfetched. Tosh presented a vision of black power, grassroots power, that was and remains terrifying to those who hold political power. Tosh spoke of a unified Africa, a unified and proud African people. There can be, of course, no such thing in a literal sense; Africa is a huge and diverse continent that’s home to far too many cultures to ever be merged into one. It’s more of a metaphorical vision, a call for people of African descent, wherever their home in the world is or what culture they belong to, to stand and take pride in themselves and to demand respect. That was too much to ask for in 1983 and it’s still too much to ask today, if headlines are any indication. The people doing the loudest asking are still liable to catch a bullet. But that doesn’t mean they should stop asking. Peter Tosh is still relevant and galvanizing, because Africans are still not free.

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