Barack Obama, Island Stylee

Say or feel what you will about Barack Obama’s race for the White House — it’s undeniable that his candidacy is inspiring not just to a variety of Americans, but to a vast range of cultures around the world. Especially in my neck of the woods. Talk to Caribbean people these days and you get a real sense of excitement about the man who might become America’s first black president.

Musical expressions of that hope have been popping up all over the place — at Best of the Best, Buju Banton and Junior Reid both made references to the democratic nominee, and Tarrus Riley did this tune that had a MASSIVE audience reaction. Although his message doesn’t delve into WHY Obama’s his candidate of choice beyond just race, it’s kind of amazing to just watch that crowd go wild at even the first line of the song.

Obama’s name has been dropped in more than a few hip hop tracks, from Will I. Am‘s celebrity-filled songs, to that club banger by Jeezy and The Dream — and that trend is spreading like wildfire all over the Caribbean. And now that I think about it, probably in other countries as well — during my trip to NYC, an informal and conversational poll of my cab drivers revealed an overwhelming support for Obama. “Just his name alone makes me feel proud,” a Nigerian driver told me, and a Bangladeshi gentleman said he felt optimistic about the future of this country with a candidate like him in the running.

Of course, I’m heavily, heavily biased. I readily admit that. But some of these Obama songs are so catchy, they might even make a Clinton supporter start tapping their toes. He may not have won Puerto Rico, but who can resist Obama inna reggaeton? Or Barack, Bollywood style?

When I interviewed calypso legend The Mighty Sparrow last year (more to come on that soon), he was incredibly excited about Obama’s potential, and read all of the lyrics to his just-written ode to him, “Barack the Magnificent,” out to me on the phone. “The respect of the world that we now lack, If you want it back, then vote Barack.” Sparrow was convinced back then in November, and I’m sure the calypso legend is closely watching the news every chance he gets.

IMO, the catchiest ditty by far is by reggae legend Cocoa Tea (who doesn’t have a real official website (and probably never will) because, as he told me in an amazing 2006 interview, “You know what is the 666, the mark of the beast? The numerical value of c-o-m-p-u-t-e-r. Add that up and tell me if is lie me a tell. I and I know them things as a Rasta. That is the thing sent to wreck the world right now.”)

The man behind massive reggae hits like 18 and Over, I Lost My Sonia, and She Loves Me Now used his genius for catchy melodies and came out with this one. Try to get it out of your head, I dare you.

Do you love it? You know I do. Do I think it’ll get haters (like this lady here) to change their views? Um, no. Not at all. But I do think it says something about Obama’s international appeal, that so many of these odes are popping up outside of America — from people who can’t even vote in the upcoming election. And, on a less serious note, all of these would make such a fun summer politics mixtape. Right?

Speaking of which, I got that Obama/Cocoa Tea image from Overthinking It, which also has a sweet download link for Cocoa Tea’s catchy tune. (Interesting site! Worth a click for sure).

what do you think? Have you heard any political odes that you’ve liked lately?

EDITED at 10:24 p.m. — We’ve got ourselves an official Democratic nominee, bellas! History in the making!

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Comments

  1. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    Hey Bella,you was right,I can’t get this song out of my head.I’m going to listen to the reggaeton track to.Barack Obama,Barack Obama,Barack Obama it’s very catchy .

  2. I think its pretty cool the amount of support coming from around the world. Hopefully it’ll strike ppl deep and stay with them.

    ps i love mighty sparrow!

  3. Afrofrenchgirl says:

    Iam French and Cameroonian and I live in France currently. I can tell that French Medias have been talking of Obama a lot. We are very interested by this campain and many French politics think that Obama is the right man for the white House. As an African also, and talking particularly about Cameroon, I can say that people there are really PROUD, we are supporting him without any condition. I think this is the case in most parts of Africa.

    P.s: Sorry if I made some mistakes, Im a French speaker.

  4. Thanks for the vibes Bella.. I can use them this mawnin!!!

  5. ha. I don’t think you will get that lady to change her mind. It’s her loss. These are some great tunes.

  6. I am currently living in South Korea and Barack Obama is the first thing you hear out of their mouth here. One of my friends taught an adult class and covered American Politics and asked what they knew of the election and they said “Clinton and Obama” when asked which was the favorite the majority chose Obama. When asked why, the most common answer was that he is a positive man that is always smiling. But let’s just say it’s his views and long-term plan to repair the damage done by the Bush takeover.

  7. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    Hey Bella, I heard on the news that Hillary Clinton will drop out when Obama wins tonight.I think he will make her his running mate.I don’t like the idea of this ,but he has to do what he feels he need to do.

  8. I’m from (and live in Kenya) and there is no way to explain the excitement and energy surrounding “our son” Barack Obama. No night out is complete without an Obama song!! One of my favourites is by a traditional artist called Tony Nyadundo. It details all the exploits and achievements of the Obama family since–umm–about the 1920s! Its a fantastic song but Bellas don’t get caught on the floor dancing with someone you dont really like because its about twenty minutes long!

  9. Hey Mrs. Mckinzie — I heard that too, but then I heard that the Clintons are denouncing that AP report and not ready to drop out…

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/03/election.democrats/index.html

  10. Auragirl says:

    SO EXCITED for Barack Obama!!!! I’ve been following his campaign from JUMP, and I can’t believe he’s finally gonna seal the deal tonight! The road has been long, and he still has a long way to go, but he’s come so far and I’m SOOOOOOOOOO proud of him…he’s definitely a role model for so many reasons! I’m in it so he can win it!

    OBAMA ’08!!!!!!

  11. flygyrl72 says:

    I’m with you, Auragirl! Finally! I don’t wanna get ahead of myself, but I just keep seeing myself, next January, standing on Pennsylvania Ave, watching him & Michelle in the Inaugural Parade… Can you imagine?! A historical moment! Everyone, please get involved with his campaign in your area, or donate what you can, we’ll need all the help we can get going into November…I’m sure the GOP has some tricks up their sleeves..

  12. Eaaaaaaaassssssssyyyy cocoa-tea & afrob…my my, this is one I have to share with my peeps for sure. I was watching ABC a couple mins ago and seeing them trace Obama’s steps since Feb ’07 to now gave me cold bumps!! I am as unapologetic in my support for Barack as you afrob. I remember having a conversation a couple weeks ago with a friend who worked the telephones as a volunteer for the Obama campaign in Ky and he mentioned he had heard a calypso about Obama, but I didn’t do my own research at the time. This tune rocks…yup it is definitely time to paint up the White House black…

  13. im kenyan and yall know the brotha is kenyan, im tellin you theres mad songs about him everywhere you go especially after he won da nomination!

  14. I LOVE that Bollywood video!!! :)

    I was born in Chicago and raised in the middle of nowhere Illinois. Volunteered on Obama’s state senator campaign back in the day, and it’s soooo exciting to see he’s the democratic nominee for PRESIDENT now. :)

  15. i am a cameroonian and very proud of obama and michele too.there is a song by a cameroonian artist about barack.u can view it through this link. CAMEROONOBOSO.COM.com.the world and especially Africa is proud of u, Obama.

  16. i am a cameroonian and very proud of obama and michele too.there is a song by a cameroonian artist about barack.u can view it through this link. CAMEROONOBOSO.COM.the world and especially Africa is proud of u, Obama.

  17. Afrofrenchgirl i think ur english is superb though a french.

  18. AfroButterfly says:

    I’m glad you put these songs up here or i wouldn’t have found them. shoot i’m sure i’ll play them after he’s in the white house. i can’t wait for hime to win.

  19. First of all thank you for a such wonderfull topic, well i have to say it is difficult for me to say if i agree with you or not. I will read it for a second time and let you know what i think

Trackbacks

  1. [...] by the lovely Afrobella’s site, I stumbled upon this oh-too-funny “Barack Does Bollywood” video. Thought [...]

  2. [...] Afrobella also posted a very good article on Obama’s Caribbean influence in which I used some info for this post from, read it here. [...]

  3. [...] thanks to reader Tynisha for the tip — remember my Island Stylee post about reggae and calypso odes to Barack Obama? CNN just did the exact same story! It was [...]

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