Fri | Nov 17, 2017

30 years since 'Stepping Razor' cut down

Published:Monday | September 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew
Chairman of Pulse Investments Limited, Kingsley Cooper.
Peter Tosh on his famed unicycle.
Bunny Wailer (left), Bob Marley (centre), and Peter Tosh as The Wailers.
Peter Tosh
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Although today marks the 30th year since reggae legend Peter Tosh's death, the museum in his honour does not have anything planned specifically for the day. Still, the Peter Tosh Museum will be opened to the public for those who wish to honour the singer and musician's life by visiting it at the Pulse Complex, Trafalgar Road, New Kingston

"Although there is no official event either by Peter's estate or the museum, Jamaicans can reflect on his life and legacy - his struggle for equal rights and justice, the abolition of apartheid, and the legalisation of marijuana, as well as his fearless, uncompromising philosophy," said Kingsley Cooper, CEO of the Pulse Investments Group.

Winston 'Peter Tosh' McIntosh, Robert 'Bob' Marley and Neville 'Bunny Wailer' Livingstone are founding members of The Wailers. After the group split up, each went on to have a distinguished solo career. Tosh's solo album debut, Legalise It, was released in 1976 and his last, No Nuclear War, was won him a posthumous Reggae Grammy.

Prone to extended speeches during his performances, among Tosh's most famous was at the One Love Peace Concert at the National Stadium, Kingston, in 1978. During an extended talk in between songs, he said, "I am not a politician, but I suffer the consequences," to an audience that included then Prime Minister Michael Manley and Leader of the Opposition Edward Seaga.

He was known as the Stepping Razor from a song of that title, which reflected his militancy.

He was murdered on September 11, 1987, at his home in Barbican, St Andrew, along with radio disc jockey Jeff 'Free I' Dixon and Wilton Brown. Among the injured were Tosh's partner, Marlene Brown. Dennis 'Leppo' Lobban was convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison.

Tosh was awarded the Order of Merit in 2012.

 

MUSEUM DOING WELL

 

Cooper told The Gleaner that the museum has been doing very well since opening in November 2016. However, they have recognised there are peak periods in which the museum receives Tosh enthusiasts.

"The Christmas period, summer time and the Independence/Emancipation period, Heritage Week, Reggae Month (February), and Peter's birthday are all key periods for visitors, both Jamaicans and tourists," he said.

There is a lot to learn about the renowned reggae artiste, including his militant stance and beliefs in fighting for justice, through his lyrics and many of the artifacts on display at the museum.

"As a nation, I don't believe we recognise or sufficiently respect the contribution of our icons to national life, as well as cultural and economic development on a whole. Maybe this attitude will change over time and that would be good. As a museum, we are doing our part in bringing Peter, and all he stood for and accomplished, to the attention of the world, especially our youngsters who need to understand the foundation on which the rights they now enjoy, is built," said Cooper.

However, there are currently big plans in place for legend's birthday on October 19, which coincides with the first anniversary of the opening of the museum, as well as the Peter Tosh Music Festival.

Cooper encouraged persons to reflect on the death of Tosh with the idea in mind that there is much to be done to generate a peaceful environment, or one where crime is reduced to lower levels. Also to keep in mind is that murder affects life on many levels. He said, "Thirty years is significant, but we should also consider the scourge of violence, the wanton loss of life that is its result in Jamaica and the need to really address the crime monster within our midst."