Krista Henry, Staff Reporter
In a fitting release for Black History Month, on Tuesday, singer Tarrus Riley gave fans and media a strongly Afrocentric premiere for the Storm Saulter-directed video of his song Shaka Zulu Pickney.
The scene for the launch was set with the beat of drums, servings of natural juices and vibrant colours decorating the grounds of Studio 38, Trafalgar Road, New Kingston.
Produced by T.O.K’s Roshaun ‘Bay-C’ Clarke on his Nyabinghi rhythm, Shaka Zulu Pickney takes listeners through a journey of African and Jamaican history. Launch host Roots FM’s Denise ‘Isis’ Miller emphasised how appropriate the video is for the Reggae and Black History Month celebrations.
A short fashion show from ‘Shades of Africa’ heralded the appearance of Mutabaruka, who not only gave a history of ‘Shaka de Zulu’ but also said how proud he is of Riley’s achievements and conscious attitude. According to Mutaburuka, Shaka of the Zulu tribe was one of the most influential leaders in the Zulu kingdom who revolted against the British. For Muta, Riley’s choice of making the ‘Shaka Zulu’ image a positive one, when in the past, it has had negative connotations, is much needed in the music business.
Clips of Saulter, noted director of the film Better Mus’ Come, and director of Wayne Marshall’s My Heart video, and Riley were also shown. Riley explained in his video clip that he had watched Saulter’s Better Mus Come numerous times and was thrilled to work with the director on this project. Saulter also put his excitement on record, saying “This is my first project since the movie, and I had to come hard. I love the song. It’s naturally dramatic.”
When Saulter took to the podium at the launch, he said “artistes like Tarrus Riley and music like this, we really need to encourage”.
The Shaka Zulu Pickney video was well received by the audience, which was filled with members of the entertainment fraternity. Images of a number of prominent black leaders are ultised in the video, along with African images incorporated with modern-day Kingston, Jamaica.
Riley closed the night by talking about his Tarrus Riley Freedom Fighters Competition, which he will be doing this month. According to Riley it’s a songwriting/poetry competition in which young persons are asked to write 150 words about either Africa, the African-Jamaican connection or who their favourite freedom fighter is. The winner of the competition will get to record a song with saxophonist Dean Fraser.
Continue reading here: Tarrus Riley presents ‘Shaka Zulu Pickney’ video – Jamaica Gleaner