Reggae artiste Ras Ash 1st is not afraid to tackle controversial issues such as the slave trade and endemic gang violence from fresh perspectives.
Ras Ash 1st tackles the legacies of slavery with the well-written 'Slave Trade' on the Manatee Records label which promotes forgiveness. "No matter what happens on earth, the only thing can work is forgiveness without the memory of the scar. Mi ah preach forgiveness with love, understanding and unconditional forgiveness. Only Jah Can Set Us Free," Ras Ash said.
Unlike his fellow artistes, Ras Ash 1st is more focused on the virtues of forgiveness as a life lesson than the meagre benefits of reparations for black people because of the savagery of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
"In my age, we have more pressing concerns than reparation. Reparation is about paying back but we are being cruel to each other, so it comes right back to forgive. If ah one can forgive, if ah one can understand, then that one can forgive and move on. Reparation is about getting paid, but getting paid for what? Money don't make your soul rest, it only builds ignorance to do good or bad. If a man wants reparation, he has to first repatriate from within himself, through love, charity, respect, and forgiveness," he said.
He insists that there are lessons to be learned
"The Trans-Atlantic trade perpetrated by the traders of flesh, spirits and souls caused deep-seated effects that we’re still battling with today. The youths are still in ignorance and show a resistance to their true self. Nevertheless, we still stand a chance with loving kindness and the mercies of Jah Jah which teaches forgiveness with love, understanding and unconditional forgiveness,” Ras Ash said.
In the meantime, he has high hopes that his latest production, 1 August Town rhythm, will ignite a yearning in the hearts and minds of residents of the August Town area for peace and a cessation of hostilities in the community.
"The violence is getting out of hand. War is a terrible thing, it disrupts lives, traumatizes children, creates unnecessary financial hardship for families who can’t function, there must be a better way,” a passionate Ras Ash 1st said.
The project features a mix of upcoming and established August Town based acts such as Sizzla Kalonji, Ras Ash 1st himself, as well as new acts Sherdonae, Junga Ras, Sas El Gringo and Reece Gioganii. This collection was released on March 26th on the Sceptre Records label.