with Black Uhuru, Yasus was creating a cultural revolution on a
world-wide basis, starting in the US covering 26 States and the Pacific
his message. A man can only be king in his home land but it seems as if
Africa is his own land. Coming off a tour in Africa he was literally
crowned King in Ethiopia and Ghana .
honour for the Ghana independence celebration . “Honour Crown HIM” was
the number one single in Zimbabwae for months.
When you talk about suceess and deep conviction you have to talk
about a dub poet by the name of Yasus Afari. Born “John Sinclair” in a
small village in the parish of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, where life was
hard and every day survival was a struggle. His mother was his only
inspiration after his bigger brother left home to join the Police Force.
He always mentioned how is mother used to pray and encouraged him to
work hard so that they could lead a better life. He passed his common
Entrance exam and went off to St. Elizabeth Technical High School. He
did excell and was a major influence on his peer group.
After STETHS he went on to work with the Jamaica Telephone company as a
repair Technician but soon find out that there was more to life than
climbing telephone poles. He won a scholarship to the College of Arts
Science and Technology where a whole new world open up.
At college he
majored in telecommunications and was a revolutionist against how the
system was administered. He participated in all aspect of student life
and was a role model for all the students in that era.
He was elected
Vice president of the Student Council but was denied to serve because of
his positive and anti comformative values.This was a major awakening
for him and he did some soul searching and that is when he knew he had
the calling to do good for the masses.
He vowed that he will fight the
injustices of the society and bring about conciousness to all the people
that would listen to what he has to say.
The social and political climate during this time was rough. Maurice
Bishop got killed in Genada, Bob had just died, and so much was
happening in the political arena that most youths were looking for a
Yasus began doing concerts at the local students union,
The University of the West Indies at Mona, The Nursing School and
The response was like a shock wave and everyone was
taking about Toni Taam as he was fondly called then. He did a several
shows with then up coming stars as well as established Artistes.
His first song was realeased in 1986 during this time Yasus went into a
period of meditation and isolation while writing consistently.
Yasus began to emerge and by joining partnership with other up coming
artist he began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. He met up with
Garnet Silk, who was also is childhood friend, and they began to work on
a few songs together. On one of his birthday’s he was hanging out with
Garnet and he wrote the first line of “I can see clearly”. Garnet went
on to finish the song and also wrote “I saw Zion………” All this led
to a tighter relationship with Silk that gave him the inspiration to
write “Nothing can divide.” Yasus and Garnet still have
unproduced songs laid out on tracks, to be published when the time is
Things started to look up and Yasus teamed up with Maxi Priest to write
“Work” which appeared on his “Dance Hall Baptism” (Senya-Cum/Ras
Records). Mental Assasin was done on Tappa Zuki label. He has since then
recorded with a whole host of musicians including Everton Blender,
Black Uhuru, General Degree, Tony Rebel and more who he has also
The achievements go far and wide and he was awarded Dub Poet
of the year in 1993 in a controversial decision. At the ceremony the
award was given to the well known Mutabaruka. Muta refused to accept
this award and made it explictly clear that it should be given to Yasus.
Yasus went on to win more awards and was also honored in Chiago by
Martin International for Dub Poeb of the year in 1994 and Yasus was
honored many times by the Jamaican Music Federation.
The list of
recognition goes on and Yasus always says it is a great honor to
recognized for all his work.
During this time Yasus also featured in many press features including
gracing the cover of the Billboard Magazine.
He also managed to produce
his own music as well as that of other artistes and promoted several
ground breaking and successful stage shows.
YASUA AFARI’s main showcase is “Poetry in Motion” which is an annual
event celebrating Jamaica’s poetic heritage and now the brilliant
concept of the annual Jamaica Poetry Festival.
What people say about I&I :
“YASUS AFARI represents the immortal vision of the ancient future,
stimulating the revolutionary will to conquer poverty, ignorance, and
injustice, by releasing positive vibrations in harmony with words,
sounds and power. Deeply rooted in his Rastafarian beliefs, Yasus Afari
is one of Jamaica’s national treasures”.
“Yasus Afari is a Dub Poet, Author, Philosopher and Reggae Artiste of
unprecedented insight and inspiration, and international renown.
international reggae/Rastafari ambassador has received numerous awards
and accolades, and has been featured by many publications, including
He produces his own music as well as tat of other
artistes and has produced several ground breaking and successful stage
shows. His annual poetic showcase is called “Poetry in Motion”
celebrating Jamaica’s rich poetic heritage”.
Groundings – St Michael’s Theological College – July 2011