Art is an unusual thing. It is not real in the sense that a tree is real. A song is no stick but still, you can be hit by a song. The stink may shatter your bones but art when wielded properly can shatter your mind. Art is not real but it is ahead of the real, it traverses the land of possibilities. Art is our first glimp of what could come into being. Art is a map of the world ahead of us.
When I say Dream of a New State, I’m not only taking the real state that is a geographic location. There is also state in the sense of a condition of being. One’s state of mind. It is in art that the map of this kind of state can be revealed. The conditions to come are already dreams in the present.
Which brings me to, who dem a program? When Papa San did this song, he was an outsider in the visual narrative. He dressed different, nor was he the hero of the visualisation to match the song, he was a muse. A sidekick to the hero along with Stanryck on vocals. But still, Papa San was on point; he was on mission. Just as in the same way Bob Marley was sending signals in his music to the delight of those who would not usually allow such messages. Even further back, the drums of the maroons carried messages unheard by those who should not hear. Now back to San the Papa and his Protoje. What is the significance? Simply put, Ptotoje is the former sidekick now as heroe. The Program had its star, there was another message to the sides, just out of the centre of the frame. That message is now front and centre. It’s asking a question and it is asking you. Who dem a program?
The new hero in this visual story is us. But not just that, there is but one sidekick noticeably along for the heroes journey. That sidekick is the reader. But not just any reader, one with the philosophies of Pan Africanism at hand. It’s no coincidence that both of the songs (Papa San and Protoje) feature a rastaman. It’s is no coincidence that rasta is synonymous with Jamaica’s culture. As Rex Nettleford explained it, Rasta is the memory of the Jamaican people that they are Africans. It is the memory of humanity itself for all of mankind must look to Africa to remember the very foundations of their humanness. Why people do this? They simply look back since it aids in going forward. It tell you why you are here, in this moment, at this point. It is in looking back one becomes more captivated by the present. This is art as it is real, the unalderated present as living thought. This is why songs capture their time so beautifully.
To be present means also to lend yourself forward. Lend yourself the the realm of possibilities. The dream of what should come next. A new state requires new minds. The dream of a New State must come from a new state of mind.