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King Genius

15:00 18:00

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King Genius

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Tony Anthony wakes them up

Written by on June 9, 2020

ON May 25 as the cellphone recording of a white police officer suffocating a black man in Minneapolis went viral, Canada-based singer Tony Anthony was among the millions shocked by the graphic footage.

The death of that black man, George Floyd, has sparked international condemnation of racism and police brutality. It inspired Anthony to release his reggae version of Wake up Everybody.

“Like many others, watching the video and seeing the murder of George Floyd by a police officer with no fear or care, brought tears to my eyes and evoked so many dark emotions within. I cried because, as far as my eyes can see, I see no end to this evil any time soon,” said Anthony. “For hundreds of years, as a people, we have fought and died for equality to little avail. For so long black people in America, Canada and across the globe have been crying and trying to expose systematic racism and police brutality to blind eyes and deaf ears.”

David Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, killing him, has been charged with second-degree murder. His three colleagues, who watched throughout without assisting the victim, have been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Anthony recorded Wake up Everybody last year for Then Now & Forever, an album on which he covers classic pop songs. Wake up Everybody was originally done by Philadelphia soul group Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes; it calls for a sense of community to help overcome racial and social strife.

The St Catherine-born Anthony (real name Mark Bennett) has lived in Toronto since the early 1990s and is recognised as one of that region’s top reggae artistes. While not as pronounced, he said racial discrimination is a problem in his adopted country.

“Racism does exist in Canada and I have personally seen and experienced it on a few occasions. I have had doors slammed in my face, [been] stopped by police for crazy reasons, watched in stores as women clutch their purses; I have been asked about arrest record when crossing the border [into the United States], all because I am a black male. However, unlike in America where the racism is more blatant, in Canada it is more subtle,” he said.


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