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September 4, 2012

President Obama with Caribbean leaders

By Howard Campbell—–

FOUR years ago when Barack Obama was on the verge of becoming the first black president of the United States, the reggae community threw its weight behind him.

Singers Cocoa Tea and Screwdriver and singjay Tony Rebel were some of the artists who recorded songs in tribute to the Democratic senator from Illinois who defeated Republican John McCain by a landslide in the November, 2008 election.

Top: President OBAMA… reggae community still throwing weight behind him. Bottom (L-R) Tony Rebel and Screwdriver

With the US election less than three months away, Obama is in a tight battle against Republican Mitt Romney for re-election. Despite the odds being much higher this time around, the reggae support is intact.

“I an’ I know sey Obama a go do it a second time an’ we’ll rejoice even more,” said Screwdriver, who lives in the city of Margate, Florida.

“A lotta people expected miracles but yuh can’t change everything in four years,” he added.

The Montego Bay-born Screwdriver recorded the song Jah Send Him Come in tribute to Obama in 2008. He has no plans for another song but told the Jamaica Observer that he is recruiting voters in Margate to vote for the president.

Florida, which is home to massive retirement and immigrant communities, has again been cast as one of the so-called battleground states.

Screwdriver, best known for the song Sharon (A Pregnant yuh Pregnant), pointed to the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and granting of amnesty to illegal immigrants as two major positives for the Obama administration.

Rebel recorded Blackman Redemption along with Nikki Burt and Queen Ifrica four years ago, to celebrate Obama’s victory.

He told the Observer that he tuned into the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida last week and plans to do the same for the Democratic National Convention which opens today in Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to Rebel, Obama has done a “tremendous job” and deserves a second term.

“Under the circumstances which he took over the country, he has done really well,” said Rebel. “I think he would have done even better if the Congress had not deliberately blocked him in critical areas.”

Jah Send Him Come and Blackman Redemption were two of the reggae songs that hailed Obama’s historic rise from the Illinois state senate to the White House.

Cocoa Tea

Cocoa Tea’s “Barack Obama” got the ball rolling while Obama was campaigning for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton. The song stayed eight weeks in the No.1 position on the New York Reggae Chart, scoring as Cocoa Tea’s longest running solo single.

Obama is scheduled to speak at the DNC on Thursday.



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