After seeing the disappointment in his wifeâ€™s eyes when Donald Trump won the United States (US) elections in 2016, Aaron Nigel Smith dedicated a song to her which has now morphed into an entire album. Smith is now celebrating the projectâ€™s No. 1 debut on the Billboard Reggae Album chart for the week dated March 23.
An educator and international touring musician, Smith said he was totally shocked and honoured that his solo album,Â In Our America, had done so well. â€œNot in my wildest imagination did I ever think that this would have happened.â€ Released on March 8 on his Aya World label and distributed by Tuff Gong International, the album was produced by Dubtonic Kru band member Deleon â€˜Jubbaâ€™ White, who said he was honoured to have worked on this project.
In Our AmericaÂ has 10 songs inspired by events in the US and around the world. The album cover has various messages plastered all over it: â€˜Black Lives Matterâ€™, â€˜Immigrants and Refugees are Welcomeâ€™; â€˜All People are Equalâ€™; â€˜Women are in charge of Their Bodiesâ€™, among others. Whatâ€™s profound Â is that the album offers positive messages and inspiration for everyday activism, and has Donald Trump to thank for its genesis.
â€œIt was the day after the US elections, and I looked at my wife, and she was so disappointed, and the songÂ Ring The AlarmÂ came to me. It started out as a tribute to women, and it just ended up being an entire project,â€ Smith recalled.
Ring The Alarm, without Âapology, aims the spotlight on Donald Trump and his errant Âpolicies and represents a call to action. Smith said he felt compelled to speak up about the state of the United States and the world, especially political changes in the last two years, and the album does just that. Songs like More LoveÂ ,Â andÂ OneÂ call for world peace and unity, two messages in harmony with the tenets of Rastafari and roots reggae.
Smith who Â has no Jamaican roots, expressed his appreciation to the Jamaican community for embracing him. Expressing how he loves the culture and Â pointed out how he fell in love with the music in high school and was heavily influenced by Bob Marley and the Wailers. Born in Pontiac, Michigan, he credited his grandmother for Âgetting him involved in music, that Âsubsequently became his life, as he won scholarships that took him through school. â€œI know that music saved me as a child, and thankfully, my grandmother was astute enough to realise that I needed something. And it is for this reason why I have decided to work with children,â€ said Smith, who is the founder of 1 World Chorus, a non-profit organisation serving youth in the United States, Kenya and Jamaica.
Known for the Emmy Award-winning PBS TV showÂ Between the Lions, he has produced and released five albums for Âchildren, includingÂ 1 World Chorus Celebrates Bob Marley,Â in Âcollaboration with Ziggy Marleyâ€™s Tuff Gong Worldwide.
Donald Trumps presidency has impacted the world greatly and influenced and touched people in different ways. His legacy will draw a lot of debates and conclusions in years to come. But the one thing people can draw from everything is that he has drawn more people together to sing with one voice. The world just awaits a riddim that embodies his presidency and persona.