STAR of the Month: Etana uses reggae for social change
"Tried to get a job today, but when dem see the application dem say, 'If this is really where you reside, please step outside.' She asked them why, and they replied." Lyrics like those of the 2006 single 'Wrong Address' played the role of first introducing Etana as a human being, then as a reggae singer whose voice should be heard.
The words of her songs are usually based on personal encounters or someone else's experience with love, discrimination, pain or any emotion that is relatable no matter what belief, race, colour or creed a person has. The STAR of the Month said that Wrong Address and songs like I'm Not Afraid, Blessing, Love Song, Reggae, Weakness In Me, Richest Girl, Free and Better Tomorrow speak about everybody and are popular across countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Brazil, the US and Canada, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Mauritius.
At the same time, she expressed that songs that present serious social issues do not necessarily mean a sure footing in the global music industry.
Etana said that one of her least popular songs is How Long, a track on the her 2014 album, I Rise, because it is viewed as being too serious.
"The lyrics of the first verse, 'how long will the people suffer, how long? While the leaders carry on. Promises don't feed hungry belly, set your traps you kill ghetto pickney, then you lie then you steal from the poor, you mistreat, but soon will come your day', are current and hard-hitting," she said.
She continued: "Songs like Caltariba System and Nuclear may be considered unpopular as well."
Both songs address the hurt people experience in countries all over the world, with Etana speaking frankly of stories such as children being gunned down.
At the end of the day, she said: "Reggae music can be used to evoke social change. It brings people together from all walks of life or starts the fight for a right cause."
The reggae singer is satisfied with releasing a song with a serious message that she believes deserves attention, even knowing that it might not end up being one of her more popular tracks.