Francesca: You mentioned you were at a crossroads in the 90s. So it was at that time that you embraced Rastafari fully?
Prezident Brown: Yes, at that time I embraced it fully and completely. I had been feeling that vibe which is why I think people came to me like "me thought you was a Rastaman", ya know? But, Rastafari is inside. To identify like that, just a look, it's like the locks is what is inside coming out, to declare that yes, I am. But I still know a lot of people who have the same vibe but because of the system and because of their work and their livelihood they don't wear hair. But I am an artist and I have to be free and that gives me the privilege to this image. There is no restriction that I can't wear my hair because of my work. Even from a Christian point of view, black people in general got this image of Jesus Christ as a white man, but still that image doesn't shave or trim, ya know, he's still got his beard. So, it matters which nation how they see God. I'm not into religion because I think that brings division. Religion originally is supposed to bring you closer to the Almighty and take you on a spiritual path. Because of systems and the way people use religion, corrupt it for personal gain, political gain and that kind of thing. . . I deal with spirit.
Francesca: We're living in a very fragile world now politically and spiritually. What do you think we can do as individual to inspire social change and spiritual growth?
Prezident Brown: I think personally just stay positive. Stay positive in your daily living when you meet and greet; right there stay positive, stay positive to each other, ya know? Love they neighbor as thyself. So it starts at home and it's not easy I know because of the distractions in the world. Money is power to a certain extent, material power, but I learn this through Rastafari that you have to balance the material with the spiritual realm. So the people need to get in touch with their spirituality. I just recorded a song the other day called "Higher Vibration," so we have to get to that higher vibration. We have to, it doesn't matter your color, your class or creed. Marcus Garvey said one thing too that if your contribution to humanity doesn't surpass your lifespan you are doing nothing, it doesn't make any sense. You have to give to humanity something that will last even when you're gone. People need to think in this direction.
Francesca: Do you agree we need to speak out now more than ever? We need to take responsibility?
Prezident Brown: Yes, because we elect the leaders. But the people have the power. No matter how the leaders act, the people have the power and once the people are not subliminally seduced, because that is how they do it, how the system works. A few people set up the programs and they use the television and they use the media to sublimely seduce the people so it's like they do things that you don't even realize they are doing. So, this is where I am coming with my music to tell people because a lot of people don't see it that way. Things that look normal to them are not really normal. So people won't speak out unless they know what is happening. That is the other thing, they won't speak out unless they know we are being misled. But I think we can reach a point, I have that vibe and that hope that we will reach a point where the people will see.
Francesca: Do you feel the message of hope and peace needs to be shouted to the people to wake us up or is humanity listening quietly with an open heart?
Prezident Brown: I think people are listening quietly. Then it comes down to the radio and the media. It would be nice to inject more positive music. The government knows that people are like children. You can imagine the power you have when you are on stage and there are 20,000 people standing in front of you, looking at you and you say, "Hands in the air!" and they all do it. That is power, and the leaders and everybody knows that. Those that are in control know that. So that is why music like mine takes a longer time. You have to stay at the grassroots level with the grassroots people. They don't really put the message in the mainstream because it goes against them. Once the radio is playing it, the people are going to hear it, sublimely. So by controlling what is played, you can keep the people ignorant and tell them to just have fun. But while you're having fun they are engineering whatever to control you for whatever reason; their ego or the power of control, so they won't allow positive music to be in the mainstream.
Francesca: Do you have any concerns about the image that is reaching the youth through pop culture?
Prezident Brown: Yes I do, even within my country. I am played on the radio as are other positive artists, but the negative vibes overpower positive vibes because of the money that is being injected into the thing. And then even from an artist's point of view, Jamaica is like a factory of artists. You have young people who come up and are very strong. If youth see a certain artist being hyped on the TV or the radio and he's driving a BMW and he's shouting some bullshit, the youth is not going to follow me because that's reality--he wants to drive a BMW. Prezident Brown is not driving a BMW. That's what I'm talking about--how the universe works, positive and negative. Even if they would just balance the thing and let people choose, let people hear me and hear someone who is opposite to me. Then they can choose, "well, I want to go good, I want to go bad, I like good music, I like bad music." Let them people decide. Don't sublimely put it to them. That's what I ask.