Interview with U-Roy at the Dub Lights 3 Festival in Sète, France on Saturday 16th of June 2018 – Part 1 out of 2
How do you feel right now? How was the show?
It was good you know. It was very good. Audience was very nice, and stuff like that. Nice to see some young people come around to watch the show. It was great for me.
Last year, you were at the Rototom
What is your motivation to keep on touring all over the globe?
To me, it’s just my work. Okay. It’s just my work. So, I just go on doing it until Jah tell me to stop. Him don’t tell me to stop as yet, so I just continue to do what I got to do.
At the time Jamaica became independent, you were about 20. How did it affect your life?
It changed quite a few things because Jamaica becomes independent, it means that you’re independent. The Queen used to respond for us down there in Jamaica, and now everything has kind of changed, you know. It’s nice to be independent. I feel proud of the country even though it’s a poor country. But I still feel very proud of my country. I love my country very much.
In 1963, there was the Coral Gardens incident during which they shaved and crucified Rastas…
Yes. At the time, I was very young you know.
Did you hear about it? If so, did you pay attention to it?
I hear about it but I didn’t pay much attention to it. One thing I wanted to say is this is discriminating Rasta you now, and I don’t like that part of it at all. But now, it’s a different thing when it comes to Rasta people because they are more recognised now. They’re taking more position in different places, you see me.
For me that is a great honour, because sometimes when I was young, you couldn’t tell people about Rasta. Even my parents, they didn’t like that to say that you’re a Rasta man, they didn’t like that. But I do what I have to do, and I’m serene about what I do, and I have no regrets about what I do. I just give thanks and praise to Jah, because to me Jah bless me straight along with my talent, with everything, helped me to go through life, everyday without problems. That’s great. I’m definitely a Rasta man, and I will always give thanks and praises to the most high Jah.
You said your parents didn’t want to hear about that
When did you become a Rasta man?
From I was very young. From I was young, because I have young friends that used to tell me about King Selassie, and tell me about the blessing that you get from the most high Jah. I took on to the work of the most high because I’m very much interested in what I heard about the culture. So, I am proud of that. I just tell you, I am proud of what I do, I have no regrets. I will always be a Rasta man.
Is your faith in Rastafari as strong as it was when you were young?
Very strong. I can tell you that. I’m happy, because to me whatever place I reach in life, I believe strongly that is the power of the most high, help me to reach there, to get across from point A to point Z. That is good for me.
Did you know any people who lived in Pinnacle?
I heard about it, but I didn’t meet those people. I heard about them. So, I think they done probably what they wanted to do. Because, like I’ve just said you couldn’t tell people in my country. My mum, my grand mother, I grew up with those people, and when you say that you’re a Rasta man is like you’re saying the worst things at the time. But I didn’t care, because, I just tell you, I said to my mum: “Okay, you have your religion. You go to your church on Sundays. You pray to your God. Let me give thanks and praises to my God.”[Interrupted by a fan who got his record signed]
See, these are some of the things that keep me doing what I’m doing, keep me alive, keep me happy. When I see young people that is many years younger than me, come to me and say “Hey, I’ve been listening to you from I was a young kid! My parents tell me about you, my parents introduced you to me.” Those things is things that keep you alive and keep you happy. It make you think that: “Okay, whatever I was doing, there’s got to be something good or else there wouldn’t be so many people that is interested in what you do,” you know.
So these things, for me, is great honour for me that I tell you. Out there tonight on the stage, in the whole audience is 90% young people, which is younger than me. So these things for me is great upliftment. I really appreciate that to the max. I’m out of my country now, I’m talking about this. I’m in other people’s country, like France, Germany, Japan, and those places, and you see, all this audience come out and have been clapping and enjoying theirselves when you’re doing what you’re doing. For me, that is just a blessing. I can’t say it no other way than that. It’s a blessing from the most high.
I think Jah bless me every time to do what I have to do. And to make so much people all around the world know about me, it’s the more powerful of most the blessings. I am so happy with what’s happening. Give thanks for the time.
Currently, what do you think of politics in Jamaica?
Politics, right around the world, segregates people. Segregation is not good. Unity is strength. Love people is very good. When you love people, it means that you have a heart for people. If you see your brother or your sister going down, you will try a way to pick them up. When you see a person say “I’m hungry, I don’t have no money to buy some food,” is the quickest thing if I have a money to give it to buy some food. I can give you that, because look, he’s just going to eat some food. That keeps you alive. So, I’ll be giving that.
So, I’m not a politician. I love people. So, I show them my respect as long as they show me their respect. I will always return that back to them. I don’t like to disrespect people because I don’t want people disrespecting me. What you don’t love for yourself, you don’t do that to other people. Because you want to be like just like yourself. You know what I mean.
Okay, I’m a black person. If a one person come to me and say “Hey, U-Roy, can I take a photograph with you?” It is not a problem man. It is my work. It’s my business to take a picture with you, if you feel like you want to take a picture with me. That’s cool for me.I tell you I don’t believe in segregation, I believe in unity. I always hear from my parents that unity is strength. Respect people, no matter what colour, class, or race they may ever be. As long as they show you respect and love. Love them back. That is my belief.