Interview and photos by Jan Salzman
February 18, 2017
San Diego, California
I met up with Hempress Sativa after her set at the Tribute to the Reggae Legends Festival at the World Beat center in San Diego, California. I was sitting to the side of the stage backstage and she came off stage and sat right next to me with a huge smile.
“So you were just saying you love California…”
“Yes I love California…I’ve been coming to California since 2014 and I really enjoy being here. The scene is something similar to Jamaica with the illustrious mountains and love and the marijuana, you know so yeah, California is very nice it’s like a home away from home for me here.”
“So how many times have you been here?”
“I’ve been here a lot of times. More than ten times now.”
“Where in Jamaica do you live?”
“I’m from Kingston, Jamaica, nice, the capital of Jamaica.”
“Where in Kingston do you live?”
“From a place called Constant Spring. Originally I’m from Papine. From a place called Mona Common, that’s where my parents grew me originally you know? And from Mona Common we moved up to Constant Spring.”
“I used to do my grocery shopping at Papine.”
“At the vegetable market, right?”
“ I lived in Jamaica about a year and a half”
“What made you leave?”
“I couldn’t get a work permit. I had work but I couldn’t get the permit. Strawberry Hill wanted to use me for wedding photography.”
“Whaa! That’s a nice place.”
“Do you want to go back to Jamaica?”
“I’d love to. One of my closest friends lives in Negril.”
“Negril is nice. I like the beach there.”
“So tell me about your new album Unconquerebel.”
“Well, the new album Unconquerebel is a thirteen track album produced by Conquering Lion Records. We have some wonderful players on the album, Devon Bradshaw, we also have mixing from the dub master himself, Scientist. It’s a wonderful album. It’s my first album, my debut. I put a lot of energy into it. Unconquerable represents a powerful energy to rid the land of all evil with consciousness with music, with mind and spirit.
“Somebody gave me this patch today”
“Good Over Evil Sound System is the only good system.” ( We laughed)
“So where do you go from here?”
“From here I head back to New York, I have a couple of interviews that I’ll be doing there and from there we go to Europe.
“For the summer festivals? The festivals are really big in Europe. They have massive crowds. ”
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the feeling of the energy from the people. It’s my first time going so it should be a wonderful experience.”
“ I sometimes work for a European website, but today I’m working for a great magazine called Island Stage. They make a paper magazine still.”
“So is it your magazine?”
“No, Susan Underwood is the owner and she does a magnificent job. She has the top people in reggae working for her so I am honored to be representing. This is my premier work for her.”
“It’s good doing it with you.”
“Yeah man. So when is your birthday?”
“My birthday is July 15.”
“Mine is July 18.”
“Whaa! we Cancers!
“And we’re the Tribe of Judah. I learned that when I was in Jamaica.”
“Have you been to the Twelve Tribes?”
“No I haven’t been there, but I met a lot of good people from the Twelve Tribes.”
“The Tribe of Judah is the very best one to be. We’re very kind, thoughtful, we’re nurturers, we’re very loving, but we can be fierce if we so choose. We’re balanced.
“We can be rebels if we want to be.”
“We’re good hearted people.
“Well thank you for this lovely interview.”
“Thank you as well. I apprecilove it.”
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