STAR of the Month: August Town is always in Etana's heart
Artistes have been known to pay homage to their home turf. Grammy-winning album, Stony Hill, is named from Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley's childhood neighbourhood, and reggae revival star Chronixx's Spanish Town Rockin is still on disc jockeys current playlists.
STAR of the Month Etana has done the same with her 2011 hit August Town. Although the reggae songstress is no longer a resident there, her tributes to the area carry on. Etana revealed that she still goes back to visit August Town to present herself as an example for others to follow.
"I was told I had to leave and not go back there. But I still go back there. Why? Because I want to be an example for anyone who would think to leave; be that example for someone who has never seen their parents go college or dress up properly or even go to another country. I think that a good role model is often missing from the garrison," Etana said.
August Town is a song of dualism; outlining the pleasures of living near a river and stringing up a sound system and also the violent crimes which are often take place there.
VIOLENCE FLARE UP
Interestingly, in 2017, August Town was lauded as homicide-free. As the year turned, so did the residents' stretch of good luck.
This year, a rash of violence has plagued the area.
"It’s just one of those things that I feel will never truly end. It just goes on and on. Most of the time when the war start, it’s always because of some old ting weh di happen. ‘You kill my uncle, so me a go guh back go kill your bredda'. And it’s more reprisal. You go dis, so me a do that. Things like that, and I question them all the time," Etana said.
Although Etana stays close to the community, the Wrong Address singer said: "It’s not a place for you to think of living forever. It’s supposed to be a starting point, but it shouldn’t be a place that you should stay forever - not mentally, not physically. So I always tell the little ones that the ghetto means to ‘get out’. I think it was called ghetto for a reason. ‘Get out'."
Etana said that when she does visit August Town, she does walk-throughs to find those in serious need and try to fill the gaps where she can.
"I want them to think ‘I wanna be like her. I wanna fly. I wanna make money. I want to live my life a certain way.' So I want them to see me, so I go back there - just for even just that - for them to see," she told THE STAR.