A note from Dutty:
I am Dutty Bookman, a thinker, an instigator, a family man. I am deeply affected by the human condition and I always seem to be working on ways to improve it for future generations. I have idealistic visions of life and what it should be, and I am learning to balance these visions with the practical strategies needed to achieve them. I resolved some time ago to walk a revolutionary path and, with diligent effort, I am proudly serving a community of likeminded people as we endeavor to become members of a new race, transcending petty divisions in the hopes of everlasting peace.
I try to maintain a low-key, unassuming personality even while living a life of public outreach since the year 2000. Some things that people rightfully associate with me are:
- inspiring the term Reggae Revival to describe a current movement;
- co-founding Manifesto|Jamaica, a youth empowerment non-profit organization (2009);
- being a talk show host on national radio (2007-2009); and
- operating one of Jamaica’s first social websites with thousands in membership (2000-2008).
Duttyism is the literary voodou that I do from time to time. It is art and science at once. I feel that my public writings are medicinally administered to myself as well as others who read them.
As an author, I love to do book signings, panel discussions and inspirational talks. As a DJ, I enjoy playing roots reggae and dub music wherever the vibes are required.
Give thanks. Love all ways.
“Leadership does not mean domination. The world is always well supplied with people who wish to rule and dominate others. The true leader is of a different sort. He seeks effective activity which has a truly beneficent purpose.”
– His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I.
Island Stage Magazine caught up with Dutty in Denver during the Fallen Fighters US Tour. Here is our conversation:
Interview and Photos by Robin Shaffer
Editor Susan Underwood
Robin So I don’t want to ask a bunch of questions about stuff I could read. Honestly, I have to say I didn’t know about you until Susan contacted me a few days ago, so I read as much as I could find. I watched some YouTube videos so I’m not completely unfamiliar. What’s your purpose? Your purpose is to encourage rebels? What’s your purpose right now on this tour?
Dutty Bookman My purpose on this tour is to encourage people who have a lot to offer at this point in human history. To heal the earth. To heal the way humanity has gone. To kind of correct the direction that humanity has gone; but there are a lot of people who may feel like ( and I say this from personal experience), that there are times when you know that you have the ability and the power within you to do things that are frankly quite powerful and impactful for humanity, but you shy away from stepping out of your shell or doing things that could be meaningful just because you just lack a little bit. Or, if you had just a little bit more confidence and to know that your voice matters too as well as your contributions matter, that you would actually go for it. So because of my personal journey and you know, battling myself on the inside with matters like that, but yet still putting different works out such as my books and my CDs. Going out into the world and putting myself in front of people even though I can be quite an introvert, it encourages me myself to do more of that because of the reaction I get from people when I speak, when I interact with people, when we have a reasoning, when I play music. The way I play music is not typical of Selector or a DJ here in the United States, so I try to empower people with all the words, sound, and power, you know.
Robin That’s great. So are you a Rasta? Are you a socialist?
Dutty Bookman I’m a Dutty-ist. I really try to focus on what I can offer and wherever it aligns, so I definitely Ites Up His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I as a perfect example of how to behave in this modern human era, especially when you find yourself in a position of power and influence with the way that you carry yourself. The diplomacy with which you can interact with people of different cultures and lifestyles, even though it may not align with your culture or lifestyle. Building bridges and strengthening the human spirit and the human condition.
Robin So you’re not just here to talk to black people or Rasta’s or youth?
Dutty Bookman You know what? I speak to whoever is there. Whoever is interested in my vibration, then this means I can talk to that person, you know what I mean? So far on this tour we’ve had different situations, you know. The first date on the tour was opening up for Yellow Man. I played a lot of roots and dubstyle music, but down here its a more dancehall kinda show, you know what I mean? And interacting with the audience who all show Love , and the next day reasoning with the youth in Dallas, who may have had a rough life. Who knows. Coming to San Francisco after that and I was in like a kind of…somebody described it as like a Geek convention or something like that, but it was basically just like, well to do, you know, more on the affluent side young people who just wanted to have a pool party and they have this annual thing and they invited me and I play just like I always do. I try to adapt to different situations. Yes, I try to bring people to hone in on my energies and get along in all scenarios you know.
Robin So talking about the music, uh, this revivalist thing, talk to me about that a little bit.
Dutty Bookman The Reggae Revival is ahhh…reggae revival are two words that I’ve put together. Over time that became popular. In the mainstream consciousness especially in Europe and somewhat on the West Coast of the United States, and of course in Jamaica. Not without controversy, but it was just to give life to what I saw happening while I was living in Jamaica, before I had moved to DC. Right now I live in Florida, but I had moved to DC from Jamaica, and before I had left, I was working with the Bob Marley Group of Companies. I was a communications co-ordinator and also helping my brethren Protoje to get his career off the ground. My career, the basis of my career is PR. (Public Relations). I keenly study the media in hopes to manipulate the media, you know, for positive things. So you know reggae revival was that I saw that we could attach a name to this movement rising up in Jamaica, so that we could then create a narrative that describes what was even beneath the surface of the music. More so than just the musicians, but the visual artists, the intellectuals that were rising up in this generation, you know such as myself and Ination, and just the spirit of the time, its an era, a time and place, you know, just like if your going to Google and you type in Harlem Renaissance you’re going to find out about the significant period of African-American history in the New York region from the early 1900’s to the 1930s, you know what I mean? So it is valuable to have that in this day and age where you have this kind of technology. We have the power to even create the package as to what is the story that is told of our generation. So it was where the Reggae Revival was coming from.
Robin Very cool. I’m going to take it back to the music a little bit and personal just a little bit because I’ve heard you talk about it on youtube and read about it. When mentioning Reggae Revival I hear Jesse Royal,Protoje, Jah9 and Chronixx’s names, but I’ve never heard you talk about my favorite band, Raging Fyah.
Dutty Bookman I always mention Raging Fyah! I sort of take part blame for that because again, doing that PR work I thought I was doing. So the idea was I call names that I knew of, and I was more closely associated with, but not thinking in my head. I was thinking in my head that people would delve deeper and start to explore more and realize that what we’re talking about is a generational shift, and it includes all of whom cannot be named. So, but what happens is people regurgitate the same names, and so I have to take part blame for that because if I was wiser at the time, maybe I would not have called any names at all, I don’t know, but I think calling names out may have helped people to grasp what kind of energy was there. Over time, people recognize that there is more to it than just these names and like I said, it’s more than just the music, the music is a tip of an iceberg, or I like to say ‘the tip of a burning spear’.
Robin Oh, that’s great. So you’re making sure that you stop in all kinds of diverse places to ensure that your message reaches more than the people who, say… might have come to the bookstore in Jamaica , when you released your first book.
Dutty Bookman Yes. Basically. And also, this tour is about in part, expanding my own self, individually, because you know my entire adult life, since I came into certain consciousness, has always been about society and the community doing things that uplift other people and for all of us as a whole. I realized over time that I have not been as strong individually as I could be, so I learned that a community is as strong as the individuals that are within it. And so, if I’m going to be seen as one of the leading figures marching in this reggae revival movement, I have to be out there more and practice the things that I’m offering. So, you know, being a selector and an author, I’m in a unique position where I can put things together and kind of mold what it is that I bring out in the world. So this is actually probably the first meaningful tour where I get to practice in front of people, meet different people, and see what the communities are like around the United States. For me, an important part of the work is the United States even though we are very pan-African here, and I very much want to live in Africa. I see that my work is here because we’re kind of living in a cultural desert in the United States. I want to reach out to more people because the more people that hear the sounds coming out today and see the artwork, and interact with the intellectuals who are talking now, I’ve noticed that people immediately get it, so we need to get in front of them in a different kind of way.
Robin Well, I don’t want to trip you up by asking you to name some authors that we might look for because you already had this problem with musicians and maybe some people felt like they weren’t included. So where would you send me to look if I if I wanted to tap into that.?
Dutty Bookman I would say, definitely the first person you could ask is iNation. If you don’t know, iNation is a, vendor or purveyor of literature and crafts in Jamaica, and a critical part of the movement, a key component the movement. iNation would be able to provide you with a lot of different authors. For me, two of the authors, and I say this very humbly, I am one of the key authors of the movement because of the way that my writings have connected with the music, but then there is a visual way. There’s an author by the name of Gladstone Taylor who connects with the visual artists who have come together and created a movement called Paint Jamaica. They are doing wonderful things and he has been in their midst, so he has been able to articulate their experience as a visual movement; as the visual wave of this whole generation of movement. So I would say those two authors, myself and him and iNation actually just got out his first writing. His first book out now is called Thirteen, I look forward to more great works by him. You know I have a publishing company Bookman Express, so I actually publish Gladstone Taylor, who I just mentioned, and I’m looking to publish more authors within’ the Caribbean and places like that especially.
Robin That’s great. Do you want to say anything about your next move or what you see happening in the near future for you?
Dutty Bookman I’ll only say that there is potential for growth and I don’t know what the future holds exactly, but I see the potential ,and I see that we have the ability now. You know the great thing about this revival movement is the unity, especially displayed on stages. But I think that we still have a lot of room to grow with unity of purpose and other kind of things can we really come together and do. When the artists are out there, what kind of message can we really put out, beside Rastafari? But, Ras Tafari is the name of a man, Haile Selassie I, who spoke on a lot of subjects about collective security and international morality. He touched on different fields and industries, so maybe we can start to zone in some of those industries, perhaps the marijuana industry. You know I mean start to really figure out how to make this legalization happen so it can really benefit the small farmers of Jamaica, you know what I mean? So that would be one thing. There’s so much potential. It just takes a coming together and it takes courage from the fans especially because I view myself, especially at that moment when I named the Reggae Revival, at that point and in that time, in that way, I viewed myself as like the ultimate fan, like, I represent the fan perspective. I was there sitting down watching them on the underground scene. Jah9, Protoje, No Maddz, and Raging Fyah; and watching them in awe and knowing we were in the midst of something special here. A lot of us felt that way, and a lot of people are now disillusioned because they feel like the Reggae Revival didn’t materialize into much more. But, I remain hopeful and I still feel like the ultimate fan. We just have to keep encouraging them. You know, not putting them down and letting them know that we’re still with them and that what they do can have a great impact on the community as a whole.
Robin And that’s what you’re doing here.
Dutty Bookman That’s my whole works.
Robin Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
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