Undiluted Revolutionary Black/ Pan Afrikan Consciousness is perhaps the most applicable description of the musical content and style of the Marcus Garvey Revolutionary Guards (MGRG or The Guards). MGRG stand as proponents of Black Afrikan Revolutionary consciousness built firmly on the need for a sure defense for the black nation as proposed by the Rt. Honored Rebel Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Currently MGRG comprises of the collaborative talents and lyrical skills of Jamaican born Asafo Weedamiah and Royal Chanta, poet and singer respectively. Chanta, born Marlon Anthony Bean and Weedamiah, born Burt Murray, are the remaining duo of the unit that has its founding roots in New York during the late 1990s. Both met after finding the commonality of Ras Tafari and music as members of a then larger Marcus Garvey Revolutionary Guards, which was founded by Weedamiah. As posited by Weedamiah, the poetical piece of the duo, “Music was our voice of expressing ourselves as young rasta yutes” and Ras Tafari provided the required comradery to stay on the right path as individuals. “MGRG music is Rebel music, Rasta music, naturally”.
Chanta left behind aspirations of becoming a soldier and instead embraced his knack for writing poetry and with this mutual gift; both were able to continue the fusion of their talents with Weedamiah leaning more towards a more poetical/ lyrical delivery and Chanta graduating to singing the lyrics he would pen.
MGRG has performed over the years at many shows and community events in New York, across Florida, most notably Orlando and Miami. They have also performed in Jamaica at the Caymanas Polo Golf Club, alongside stalwarts in the industry like Capelton, Cocoa Tea, Richie Spice and other big cultural artistes. Weedamiah has also performed as a solo artist on many shows, most recently Hail the King in Fort Lauderdale in July 2013 alongside Midnite, I Wayne and more, the Live It Up Festivals in October 2013 and I-Revolt in March 2014, both events staged in Jamaica. The Guards remain available for bookings as they prepare to release their new album Akoben. In the meantime, they continue to build their crafts as a cohesive unit and as individuals, with Chanta having two singles out currently “Anything is Possible & “Brain Cell” and Weedamiah working on his solo album.
Insurrection Volumes 1 and 2 (mixed cds) are the mentionable collaborated works from MGRG so far, which also feature contributions from former Guard members. Listening to these two works will wake up the consciousness to some hard but necessary truths as MGRG’s protest music is an indictment against social injustice and down-pression (oppression) wherever it appears. They also strive to educate by highlighting tenets of Afrikan Kulcha (their AK) such as reverence for the ankhcestors (ancestors) and staying firm in the struggle for the restoration of black dignity and Afrika’s Redemption. The influence and teachings of the Rt. Honored Rebel Marcus Garvey, HIM Haile Selassie and revolutionaries of the Black Power Era is also evident in MGRG music, which is born of the fire age (late 90’s) with such influences as Sizzla Kalonji, Dead Prez, Public Enemy and of course Peter Tosh and Bob Marley.
The Guards not only do upful music they are also community activists. The message and works go hand in hand with the music. Both Weedamiah and Chanta serve as members of the BLAK Empire, which is a community charity organization. From its inception, they have been volunteering at the Afrikan Kulcha School (AKS), a pan Afrikan non-profit institution based in Orlando since 2007, as a teacher and chef respectively. Both are also entrepreneurs. Weedamiah is founding owner of BLAK IWA Productions, Inc (bka BLAK IWA TV), that has been a growing presence in the live music scene in Jamaica and online. Royal Chanta co-owns and co-runs Lyfe Foods, a growing vegetarian catering business in Orlando. As community men and fathers, MGRG attempt to live to a higher standard and calling authentically.
Currently,Tthe Guards are on the path to releasing Akoben, their debut studio album produced by RonIkahl Productions, slated for distribution in late spring of 2015. The Akoben is an adinkra symbol that represents the war-horn, a call to readiness and vigilance. This album will be a wakeup call for the community to be vigilant and ready to defend their Afrikan culture by all means necessary. The first single “Burning Up” (Dorner) has been lighting up airwaves and is available online for listening. Weedamiah and Chanta wrote all songs on Akoben, except for “Ting Deh”, which was co-written by Mr. Desert, a former Guards member. Akoben will feature thirteen (13) tracks and there are no collaborations as MGRG announces its re-emergence to the world. Since the genesis of MGRG, The Guards musical skills as well as philosophy have grown and matured and are even more relevant in these times of social injustice and world wide civil unrest. After all it is the mission and life calling of the Marcus Revolutionary Guards to stand as a watchman, beating down the walls of Babylon.