He is living proof that there is always a way out of poverty and crime. Black Loyalty, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s prophetic, reggae musicians, says he made a vow, a long time ago, that he would not be a statistic.
The La Horquetta, Arima native will form part of the reggae cast billed for the upcoming Redemption concert being held at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain. The event takes place on Saturday, May 6th. “There is a great need for more shows of this nature, more shows like Redemption,” said the singer. “Concerts like these offer the youth an example of what they should strive for,” he added.
Keon Jones his real name, the entertainer many know for the hit single, ‘On My Way,’ is excited for the opportunity to grace a major concert stage in his homeland. “I have been patiently waiting for this moment. People can look forward to seeing something unique- something they’ve never before seen from a Trinidad and Tobago reggae artiste,” he assured.
Years of dedication to his craft, strongly encouraged by his mother, who he also credits with his spiritual affinity, Black Loyalty is set to deliver powerfully on show night. A part of the music industry professionally for approximately nine years, he recalls his growth, explaining that he had the benefit of being around his neighbor, fellow artiste, Squeezy Rankin and even Calypsonian Rootsman. “Growing up, I made up my mind to be around the right people, and even though I wasn’t really pushed in the music, things began to change for me.”
Despite the challenge of an undefined music industry in Trinidad and Tobago, the masterful vocalist believes this opportunity afforded, at this time, will open doors to him. “One of the major challenges I face is being known in places like Finland and Zambia, but not performing in these places,” he said, noting that there are hindrances when it comes to effectively making it out into these markets. “Trinidad does not have a music industry. Trinidad has a body of people who do events and shows. Jamaica has an industry and they have labels and a body of people who manage artistes as soon as the artistes are on the rise,” he pointed out.
Still, Black Loyalty remains focused on his purpose. “One of the artistes I’ve been inspired by is Jimmy Cliff. I listened to his music from my early years. I looked at his way of writing, his delivery. Bob Marley was also a great inspiration; likewise, Peter Tosh, Johnny Osborne and Alton Ellis,” he explained. The artiste says he feels it is important for influential singers like Buju Banton, Luciano, Anthony B and others to share their messages with the people. “Men like Buju Banton who would have been to prison, even as a positive artiste; artistes who’ve been through certain things are exemplars for the younger artistes, educating us all on tribulations that anyone can face and overcome.”
A Roots, Rock, Reggae musician, Black Loyalty says he believes music controls a person’s attitude – “a person’s algorithm.” He says music can alter moods significantly. “Whenever you hear a song, it puts you in a mood so if the mood of that song is violent, even if you edit out the violence, it would not take away from the message that the song is sending. If the mood is love, when you hear the song, you will feel love. If the mood of the music is righteousness and positivity, people who want to feel that, will listen to that. Nobody who wants to feel a positive energy will put on a song with violent lyrics. Each type of music has its place,” he suggested.
A new single, “Woman I Love You,” recently released, Black Loyalty anticipates delivering it on the Redemption stage. “I will try to leave a positive impact because the people- the country needs it right now. The country needs more artistes like ‘Black Loyalty’ right now to speak to the youth. Not everybody with wealth and power can speak to the youths. A youth man can listen to my story or another artiste’s story and learn from it,” he said, adding, “When you tell me there is no way out of a certain life, I cannot agree because I am a living example that there is a way out. People see me today and say they can’t believe how far I’ve reached. I’ve turned negativity into positivity.”
Gates open at 7pm and showtime on May 6th, is promptly at 8pm. Black Loyalty will open for reggae music heavyweights, Buju Banton, Anthony B, Beres Hammond and Luciano at Redemption 8.