In the prime of his life, Jabari may seem a bit different from others his age. His focus on delivering what’s positive, clean and free of divisiveness, places him on the opposite end of the spectrum when compared to others, his age demographic in the Caribbean and even internationally. It’s not something that bothers him though. He’s cool with his choice and says he hopes that what he’s doing offers others his age, a clear understanding that there is definitely another option.
THE ZESS MOVEMENT
In Trinidad, the rise of the Zess movement saw music stars emerge, among them, K Lion – an artiste out of Belmont who passed away in 2020, at the age of 23, having suffered a heart attack in Miami. Jabari knew him well. They went to school together. “I will always give him respect for his talent. He was always really talented. We all had that dream of making a career out of music – not just to make money, but to do what we loved. The majority of those TriniBad artistes are very talented, but it seems to me that what they are portraying to the younger generation is that there is no other way.“
His sentiment has been considered time and time again in social discussions near and far, not only about Trinidad and Tobago’s music, but music carrying negative symbolism and imagery, globally. “The artistes have control. The DJs have to play something on-air and what they are playing is provided by these artistes. If there are more artistes out there who decide to change the script, DJs will follow, because the artistes have an audience, and music is more important than just what plays on the radio, and what plays in a party. Music also speaks to people’s lives because there are people out there who take music literally and it can be dangerous. These artistes can flip the script and actually help people,” Jabari rationalised.
A firm believer that the gifts granted to us all, should be used to do good, Jabari said, “these people have a gift where they can reach others with their gift. They have melodic capabilities that people who listen to their music catch on to their songs so easily; if they could just change their lyrics to sing a little more positive music, and basically try to preach to the youths that it doesn’t have to be all bad, there could be change.” He went on to say that in his head, if every single one of those popular artistes of the movement made a cumulative and conscious decision to push only positive songs, the DJs would ultimately have no other choice than to play those positive songs. The argument has however been that when positive music is released, the airplay is often non-existent. “The reason those artistes became so popular is because they have their own market – a market they created with the people around them. They went directly to the people before the music was even playing on the radio stations. Their people made it possible,” said Jabari. He added, “my whole thing is, it’s not impossible to feed the people positive lyrics. To me, it’s a matter of if you want to do it or not.”
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