Positive solutions to appease the legacy of Reggae Lane

​Pictured here with Ras Ovid ~ RIP

The positive spirit of reggae got the government to name that laneway

Reggae music did that… The spirit of reggae breaks all barriers globally

That’s the upside


This did not turn out well for the part of Eglinton West considered as Little Jamaica… most, if not all of the businesses are closed or in the process of shutting down with what I understand, zero compensation, either from the government or Metrolinks
“We have no budget”

The colonial machine rolls on, gentrifying another black community with zero plan, from day one / ground zero, to compensate the businesses nor the families that made that part of Eglinton, an international legend

The area is synonymous with reggae music with many great artists passing through and making it the hub of the culture for a time.  Record shops, posters, flyers, dances… meet and greet, artists and some fans

It was a happening spot

Now it is gone

Buried under politricks and construction

This is the downside for reggae culture in the area


In the years to come, no one but Caribbean Canadian people will reminisce on what was

Reggae is the unification of the sentient beings of this planet and a connection of a loving energy.  Reggae cannot stop this juggernaut of legislation and construction that did not include the input from the business owners or the affected families

Reggae however stands its ground always as a beacon of positivity for the community

Reggae Lane is a child of Reggae

My suggestion to the community is to rally around this FOR the community, without negative politricks… for the families, for the businesses who have lost greatly, for the veteran artists that have contributed so much and never properly compensated, for the up and coming performers and those that still do it today

Reggae Lane is much more than a place off Eglinton; it is a vibe that can be used for the good of the Caribbean as well as the Canadian community who have been gentrified without compensation

Reggae Lane is more than a place

Reggae Lane, no matter its humble or sordid beginnings can be used to bring respect to all involved with cooperation of reggae fans

It can be a path to bring some semblance of respect and a program to generate income for a community that has been deliberately decimated by gentrification


How do we earn from Reggae Lane when the colonial racist has never allowed reggae to be included in rotation on Canadian radio or exported Canadian produced reggae music


We the people

We the reggae people

I believe that there are enough talented and capable humans in the community of reggae who could make this uplifting for those aggrieved by the nature of colonial existence in this country

It can take an honest look at this colonizer system and possibly bridge gaps to the blatant racism of the Eglinton gentrification


First with the Caribbean community and with reggae fans of all nationalities

Then with the government… not likely but got to keep an open mind… maybe

Reggae heals the planet through truth and love

We see all of the bullshit tokenism, ie; murals, speeches and apologies yet ZERO fiscal investment to compensate the talent or the people

Colonialism alive and well

Maybe there is a chance to heal the cavernous fracture that is Eglinton West, once Little Jamaica, into something more positive than it is viewed today

We reggae people must be willing to stand apart from the colonial corruption, yet unite with the guidance of truth and integrity

Or, accept this path, like the dinosaur, as all good things come to an end eventually

An interesting parallel is also what is happening to G98.7FM

I have zero insight to the inner runnings of that station, except for what I read and it sounds like they have a massive debt situation which usually leads to shutting down a business

Black, Caribbean, Jamaican, African culture/s struggle hard in this colonial environment.  It may be time for some to recognize the inevitability of removing ‘urban’ culture from white Canada deliberately, focussed more on spending with our own businesses as Marcus Mosiah preached over 100 years ago

Because it works

We speak of it privately among ourselves yet here I bring it to the fore…  Some of us get that we are not viewed as “equals” by those who govern this country yet we do not care to be anyone’s equals as we stand in our own grounds and see the reality of this situation

The consistent abuse by the Canadian government to the Native population for a century and a half, tells the only story we need as it pertains to equality

We can pretend to get along as these hypocrites do, yet we continue to grow fiscal opportunities within our talents, for our children
Reggae is a global energy

An ‘element’ not posted on the periodic table

Still an element that moves the planet on a spiritual plane

We do not need permission from any guy to play, perform, sing, dance, produce or promote the music and the culture.  We have done it for over sixty years now without support from mainstream media {consistent radio airplay} and deliberate blocking in countries like Canada and the US.  Yet it still thrives and grows the positive psyche of the planet

We cannot be curbed

I am grateful to have ownership a Reggae Lane design

My brand

Through all of this, even with the negative press, a black man, a born Jamaican owns a Reggae Lane trademark

It came about when I asked why the Reggae Lane committee wasn’t being paid for our work

I was told, “We have no budget”, and so I requested Marlon Tygon Cowan to design what you see in that logo above to raise funding not only for the committee, but also as a fundraiser year round for reggae music.  A Canadian contribution to the world of reggae

I believe that it is historically, the first roadway on planet earth, named after Reggae Music

That’s Guinness Book of World Records worthy

It is a global milestone

Certainly not as noteworthy to the ‘gentrifiers / colonizers, as they collect their kickbacks but a big deal to me and the fraternity of reggae if I am correct

The gentrifier isn’t as interested in this fact as Reggae Lane, some might have thought, was a distraction from what is truly happening on Eglinton West, this massive gentrification.  No, it will not be used as such.  What it shall do, is shine a light for all to see as well as to hold up the mirror so that the gentrifiers can see their reflections

That’s reggae talk


I resigned from the RL committee

I realized that we were working at cross purposes.  This Reggae Lane thing meant more to me than it did to others so I went my merry way

Neither reggae nor Reggae Lane will be used in a negative way on my watch

There is a truly negative stigma by many about Reggae Lane, based on various factors which include its placement down the “crack alleyway”, the way the businesses and families were treated by this process as well as the ongoing gentrification.  All we are left with is a couple of murals

{Exceptional works by Adrian Hayles, the mural artist, capturing a vibrancy to the great Canadian reggae history}

No sir

I who care for reggae music will walk a positive path for the culture as I always have and allow Reggae Lane to do positive for I n I community

Reggae Lane is a child of reggae as I said previously so I n I will defend against babylon as a reggae soldier must.  My band IBADAN rehearsed down that “crack lane” many moons ago, so I do feel a sense of pride that I rehearsed on a part of a historical space

I have or want no war with Metrolinx or the government, as that is a colonizer strategy to keep I focus away from I n I community

We must begin to learn and to adapt

I n I focus is glorifying reggae music and reggae culture to the max as it is freedom music and I am grateful to be a humble soldier in this worldwide reggae army

JuLion, the Canadian Reggae Defender 
David Kingston hosted a reggae radio show from 1981 – 1992 approximately, 27 years ago, on CKLN 88.1FM, a conscious idrin.  When I discussed some gentrification topics with him, he sent I man this poem, adapted from the famous Joni Mitchell chune “Big Yellow Taxi”

With greeting to JuLion King, and apologies to Joni Mitchell
They paved paradise
And put us in a parking lot
With a painted mural, an alley
Where it once was a hot spot 
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
They paved paradise
And put us in a parking lot
They took all the dreads 
And put ’em in a dread museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to seem ’em
No no no
Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
They paved paradise
And shoved us in a parking lot
This is the sentiment of many reggae people

I know, the gentrifier does not give a shit, yet I get to share a story that one won’t ever read in the mainstream… a perspective of my own


This tune selected for this piece is “Youths Of Eglinton” by Black Uhuru, whose leader singer, Mykal Rose is brothers with the owner of RAPS on Eglinton, released in 1981, addressing gun violence in Toronto, Jamaica, England, Africa

Reggae consciousness

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