The Day Peter Tosh challenged me. I was 9.

In 1977, Martha Gordon, my Grade 4 teacher at Mona Primary School arranged for the late, great Winston “Peter Tosh” McIntosh to come sing for her class. I can see it now… Peter Tosh perched on a stool in front of Grade 4G, with this guitar, singing.
At the age of 9 I was hardly aware of his genius, his forceful and intimidating personality and his celebrity. But I remember us being spellbound as he filled the classroom with his undeniable presence and as he easily strummed and communicated with his distinctive voice.
In between selections, Tosh stopped and pointed to a calendar on the wall. It was one of the popular themes back then: a picture of Jesus with the Sacred Heart.
“Dem tell unnu seh dat ah Jesus” he began. “But Jesus was a Jew. Jesus wasn’t no white man. Jesus never have no straight hair, white skin and blue eyes” he insisted.
Mrs. Gordon, a powerfully built black woman with a booming deep voice, forever festooned in gold bangles, chains, rings and earrings, took charge, albeit with a nervous note in her voice: ” Stop it Peter. Just sing for the children.”
At the age of 9 it mattered not, and today at age 46, it hardly matters to me if Jesus was white, half-white, olive-skinned or black. I still view him as God. BUT. But I paused. I was amazed at Tosh’s audacity. Those utterances in 1977 bordered on sacrilege. I was impressed. And I came away from that experience knowing somehow that to question the status quo is absolutely the correct way to go. I went on to marry a cousin of Peter Tosh. My children share the Rebel’s gene pool.
“Bun Babylon and challenge the status quo.” Bust up myths. Ask the hard, uncomfortable questions. Refuse to let anyone or anything set your agenda.
That’s just the way it is…some things will never change.”
“NO! Don’t you believe them!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.