Days of Art 2017-13: Artist Should Be Deeper

Junior Kelly

What you say matters. Let me be clearer: what you say always matters and how you say it matters more than what you say, but what you intended only matters to a court of law. Artists must be deeper, to steal and paraphrase a lyric by Junior Kelly, and we must make our words (the art) match our intentions (the muse/inspiration). None will care about the painting you meant to finish or the poem you should have written. I won’t read the book in your head or see the photo you meant to take while you were grabbing a selfie.

Deeper, Rasta should be deeper
You must care about the people
Deeper, Rasta should be deeper
I’m my brothers keeper
Deeper, Rasta should be deeper
Got to wear Khaki and turban everyday

We stand on society’s shaky ground, forming the rock upon which future generations will judge the breath and import of our civilization. Records might not survive the integration of the interwebs with Human-Brainwave Interfaces [you’ll see them in 10 years or less] as no one will need learn when information can be directly ported into your working memories. However art, visual and tactile, will persevere. Whether or not it speaks well or ill of us will be determined solely by whether we try to be more than the best of us, or to wallow in the soiled depths of which we’ve repeatedly proved ourselves capable. No Game of Thrones will leave its shit-gleaming legacy, but, rather, shall be our tombstones. Be more and you will see more. That’s how it works.

It’s more than the turban, more than the robe and more than the natty hair
It’s much, much more than to say Selassie Marcus I
Me no do this fi image, me no mimic me na do this fi fame
Go and tell them Kelly him na do this material game
Never call them self Rasta they should be ashamed
Call king Selassie name in vain tell them it’s no game
Dem a wolf, dem a wolf so mi see dem spiraling down
Kelly a rock of Gibraltar standing firm on solid ground

See, the one thing we artists have in common with philosophy ( and Rastafarianism is a philosophy, NOT a religion) is that we must CONNECT with SOMETHING in order to create something that is more than NOTHING. It’s much, much more than to say “I am an Artist, I.” Don’t speak about it, be about it. Ask yourself, “How is the world better by the legacy of what I’ve built?” If you don’t know, then perhaps it’s time to meditate, reconnect, and redirect your energy.

Being an Artist is more than self-aggrandizement, more than whoring on social (diseased) media for likes, more than a shirt you wear so that the pretty ones notice you. It’s a job, a vocation, a responsibility. If you aren’t going to wear it all the time, as you would the robe of the almighty, then perhaps you’d do better as a patron to one of us who will.

So, how did I make the leap from reggae music to Art, from a Selassie I lyric to the universe’s beseeching of your responsibility for the gift of seeing you’ve received from the myriad–the countless many–who’ve provided you it? I’m connected, seen, and them a-tell me to tell you. So, Artist, you are a Rasta of Art (or of God or the Universe or of your own Imagination if you’re still vain enough to think your gifts are not divinely received) and you are welcome, but you should be DEEPER.

Rasta Man is never on his own.


Still not feeling me? Well, you want to, or you wouldn’t still be here, now would you? So let me preach dis likkle for you. Listen to the song again, and substitute the lines “wear khaki and turban every day” with “wear your cloak/kit/leotard and brush/camera/dance every day” and you’ll begin to see the connection. If all things come from the Almighty, whether that be God, the Universe, or the collective consciousness and/or energy we all produce, then in order to achieve what is deserving of your talent, then you must WEAR IT EVERY DAY. That’s the contract you’ve accepted as an artist.

Be one all the time, or you will be one none of the time. It’s not a job, my lovely, it is who you are.

“Rasta Should Be Deeper” Lyrics by KEITH MORGAN, P. PALSSON, K. WESTERBERG, © The Royalty Network, Inc.



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