Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Justice for Smiley

The campaign to find out what really happened to Smiley Culture, who died during a police raid last week, takes a step forward on Thursday

The Justice for Smiley Culture campaign will be having its first Public Meeting on Thursday May 24th, 7 pm to 8:30 pm at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton (entrance on Acre Lane). The organisers say:

'The family have asked it to be known that the meeting will start on time and that they will not want a long protracted meeting. They are still in the process of grieving they will want the meeting to be concluded early. To all those in attendence they ask for your support, prayers, patience and understanding.The meeting will provide an update and details of the next steps for the campaign. One Love - No Justice No Peace'.

Nice tribute to Smiley from Maxi Priest at his myspace site today:

'Stunned, shocked and sad! These are some of the words to describe how I felt when I heard of Smiley Culture's death and how they said he died.

Smiley, a close friend of mine, who like me grew up around sound systems died a few days ago. I shook my head in total disbelief, and for hours I refused to believe it. He was more than just a reggae icon, more than a phenomenal deejay, he was a musical pioneer, but more importantly, Smiley was a great friend to all of us. Those who knew him could tell how articulate and intelligent he was, someone who would think outside the box, had a keen eye for business, and made a significant contribution to this world through his music. Smiley is a legend and respected worldwide.

In thinking of Smiley, I couldn't help but go back in time to when we wrote songs together like Caution with Asher Senator and Paul Robinson. Paul and I also recorded the song "Festival Time", which paid tribute to the good old times and the good old days of which Smiley was a huge part of….

Things we used to do
Things we used to say
Sunday morning I rise bright and early
Getting ready for a festival time
Smiley Culture, Tippa Irie they are coming
Philip Levi, phone and say him soon come

We are gonna meet, meet the sound
We hold the mike,, crowd gather 'round
Put on the show fi please the crowd
Everybody them baul out loud

Festival Time is here....

Smiley and I had similar cultural backgrounds, similar goals and visions for innovating reggae music, and much of this played out in our early days with Saxon Sound system, which was the foundation for our musical career as young teenagers.....times I will never forget.

Smiley was popular across the country and the people loved him, I remember in the early days of our career when we made many appearances together, they loved his spirit, his captivating charm, his musical talent and the way he worked his Caribbean heritage into his music. He was a breath of fresh air, and always motivating others to do their best. I can't count the amount of times he would start and end our conversations with an inspirational quote or reciting a scripture from the Bible.

The music industry has lost a genius and I like all of you have lost a great friend. To his family and friends, I extend heartfelt condolences. May God comfort you through this difficult and challenging time. To his fans and music family….stay strong and look out for each other.

Rest in peace my friend! We miss you.

Jah Bless,
Maxi Priest'

Like Smiley Culture, Maxi Priest started out with SE London's Saxon Sound System (he went to the now closed Roger Manwood Secondary School in Brockley Rise)

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