LEVELS Reggae Cafe on Skyline Drive, recently dubbed the Reggae Mountain, overlooking the city of Kingston, proved to be the perfect setting for an intimate gathering of Revolutionary minds at the special edition of “Conversations…it all begins with a story.” The event featured the likes of producer & songwriter Mikie Bennett, Revolutionary Literary advocate I-Nation, Jazz Reggae Soul singer Sevana, along with the special guest Clairmont Chung who all engaged in Conversations with Donisha Prendergast and a very attentive audience.The event examined the impact of Literary Arts and Music in Revolution, with special emphasis on the life and legacy of Guyanese scholar Walter Rodney, self-dubbed ‘Revolutionary Intellectual’.
Fittingly, the afternoon began with the story of Walter Rodney as told in W.A.R. Stories documentary, which patrons viewed while enjoying the refreshing coconut jelly water given on entry. The thought provoking film directed by Clairmont Chung set the mood for an evening of serious dialogue.
All three guests shared similar stories of a conscious journey towards enlightened and revolutionary thinking sparked by an affinity to reading developed from an early age. The value of reading, they all noted, cannot be overemphasized in the movement towards raising consciousness within the youth. To help in this regard, I-nation has started working towards opening an African library in West Kingston.
No topic was deemed too controversial at Conversations as corruption, race and class issues, politics, reggae/ dancehall among other relevant matters were discussed. The sole musical performance of the night was provided by the soulful Sevana who captivated the audience during her short but moving set.
On closing her eyes and heart were full with tears as she channeled“…I Get No Sleep, Nuff dreams but no sleep…” showing a softer side of revolution…an evolution, a learning and struggling to embrace oneself. A beautiful moment of discovery and pure emotion, bringing another successful staging of Conversations to a close.
This experience was presented by the 50 DNA Team with the intention to create a space for critical analysis and dialogue on Africa and her Diaspora; our accomplishments, trials and failures, and more specifically the stories of Soul’s on a Revolutionary Journey through History… It all begins with a story.
Written By: Learie Holt
Special Thanks to D.S.E., Fareye Films, Niche Entertainment, Anbessa, and all those who helped to make this staging of Conversations a success.