I have the honour of growing up in a town called St. Ann’s Bay in Jamaica, about two blocks from where Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born and bred and about 25 miles from where Robert Nesta (BOB) Marley was born and bred. Despite being from a small island as Jamaica, both Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley have had a huge impact and influence on black consciousness and black dignity, world wide. Indeed they were loved and equally hated by many people in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Caribbean.
I have read the book “Opinions and Philosophies of Marcus Garvey” and listened and sung Bob Marley’s music when I was in my teens. Needless to say Garvey and Marley have made an indelible mark on my brain and have helped shaped my world views, political orientation and even religious perspective.
Interestingly, I recall one of Marcus Garvey’s speeches where he said that, “If negroes are created in god’s image and negroes are black then god must in some sense be black”. Accordingly, I have nobly rejected the idea of a white god. Yeah, I am convinced that the pictures and drawings showing god or Jesus as a Caucasian (white) are lies and fantasies.
I must admit that at times, I do wonder if god is white as I watched and saw how Blacks suffer in the East, the West, the North and the South. Yeah, as Bob Marley sung’ When I hear the crack of a whip, my blood runs cold. I remember on a slave ship where they brutalized our very souls”. Of course it is hard to ignore the fact that Blacks have been raped, robbed, kidnapped and killed daily, for centuries.
EYES OF THE BEHOLDER
Then one day I went Peru and visited an old pre-Inca religious site called “Pachacamac (Earth Maker). It was believed that Pachacamac made the first man and woman (recall the biblical Genesis story with Adam and Eve). Of course, as I stood among the pyramids in Lima, Peru, my mind reflect on the Egyptian pyramids, the garden of Eden; and the many different religions of the world all claiming to be true.
My little mind tried to embrace the idea of a Black God, A White god, A Yellow god…. and I got stumped. Then it dawned on me: does god have a colour? Is god multicoloured like the rainbow?
The answer was simple: if god is a spirit, then a spirit cannot have a colour. I rest my case.
With my matured orientation of life and creation, I penned a poem called COLOURED. It tried to cover the perplexities of having a god with a colour but end up non-committal. After all, isn’t colour one of the major reasons for the hatred, bigotry and prejudice that is helping to destroy the brotherhood of man. Hope you like.
Let me paint god
with my new colour set
Let me give him a shade,
see what he is yet.
Should I make him black
When so many blacks are oppressed?
Or colour him white
And let Whites rate themselves the best.
Could I paint him brown?
and incur the wrath of the rest?
Or give him a bright yellow
And put the red to the test?
Let me not paint god
With my new colour set.
Let me not give him a shade
And wonder how he is yet.