Jimmy Cliff against British Conservatives using his song

This is a music video of “The Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff.

From British daily The Independent:

‘I always support the lower classes’: Jimmy Cliff‘s response to his adoption by Cameron

By Emily Dugan

Published: 06 October 2007

As David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stepped off the conference podium at Blackpool on Wednesday to the strains of “You Can Get It If You Really Want” and the applause of the party faithful, their status as the first couple of the Conservative party was secure.

Even those who had doubted their leader now seem convinced that he is the man to lead them back to power. The Tories are so excited that they have even posted a film of the party leader’s moment of glory on their website, citing the song as part of the success of his closing speech.

But the reggae classic has roots that would drain the blue rinse from those who chanted along so chirpily; roots more associated with drugs and violence than the values that Conservatives hold so dear.

Jimmy Cliff‘s song was the main score of the soundtrack to his film The Harder They Come; a Jamaican exploration of marijuana, gun crime and gang violence. …

And no one is more bemused by Cameron’s song choice than Jimmy Cliff himself – or Dr Cliff, as he now likes to be known. “I’ve never voted in my life”, he said by telephone from the Jamaican capital, Kingston, yesterday. “But I’m from the lower class of society and I tend to support them rather than the upper class. It’s not that I don’t have friends or family in the upper classes – I do – but I always prefer to support the lower classes.”

The singer had just been told of his song’s political use, and made it clear he was no Cameronian. “One of my band mates called me this morning to tell me the news. I can’t stop them using the song, but I’m not a supporter of politics. I have heard of Cameron, but I’m not a supporter. …

But, when confronted with some of the Conservatives’ policies – in particular their hardline stance on drugs – the singer said: “I’m not for hard drugs, but I don’t think marijuana should be against the law.” …

But from across the Atlantic comes a warning that campaign songs can be as embarrassing as they are rousing.

In 1996 Bob Dole had to stop using his version of the Sam & Dave classic “Soul Man” (which he had adapted as “Dole Man”) after the copyright owner sent him a threatening letter.

Toots interview: here.

Ms Dynamite on 18th century Jamaican anti slavery fighter Nanny Maroon

From British weekly The Observer:

My journey in footsteps of anti-slavery heroine

Ms Dynamite, who has made a TV film for the anti-slavery law bicentenary, reveals her pride in Jamaica‘s first freedom fighter to David Smith

Sunday March 18, 2007

Niomi McLean-Daley first heard of the legend of Nanny of the Maroons at Winnie Mandela School near her home in north London.

The daughter of a British mother and a Jamaican father, Niomi was has always been fascinated by her family’s Caribbean past and wider questions of black identity.

In Nanny she found a black icon who also happened to be a woman.

Niomi is now 25 and better known as Ms Dynamite, who burst on to the hip hop music scene five years ago with her debut album, A Little Deeper.

The singer, who has taken time out from recording to look after her three-year-old son, Shavaar, went to Jamaica for a BBC2 documentary, Ms Dynamite in Search of Nanny Maroon, to be shown next Sunday at 8pm, marking the bicentenary of the parliamentary act to end the slave trade.

She is passionate about Nanny and has some highly provocative opinions about the legacy of slavery among black Britons today.

Jamaican Richard Hart, a Marxist historian, trade unionist, lawyer and teacher, died in the UK on Saturday at the age of 96: here.