"Kumina King" by Malachi Smith

Kumina King
For Prof. Rex Nettleford, O.M.

Kumina King
On a blue moon stage
Garvey, Nanny, Miss Lou in front row
Marley, Trevor and the ancestors
Enjoy your majesty’s grand entrance

Silence, silence
Tear drop dead silence
A kete drum speaks an African dialect
You answer in Jamaican steps
Movement to the right
Movement to the left
But always center stage

Your brilliant blackness, white hair
Illuminating Caribbean space
For all to see
The Kumina King dancing

And a one and a two and a three
And a four and turn
And a one and a two and a three
And a four and spin spin
Turn, turn
Feet firm in tradition leaping
Through and above theatre sky
To sky god’s heaven
For he too is watching

As a whole nation joins in
Discovering the beauty of culture
Beaten and woven from African traditions
Europeans, Spanish, Tainos, Siboneys
Jews, Lebanese, Chinese, Indians
Out of many one

Dancing, dancing, dancing
Movement from dance to intellect
Speaking in tongues
Lecturing the world

Dancing across space
Into I-story
Telling my story
Telling our stories
Of slavery
Of beat down, batter down
Of rape, of starvation
Morant Bay, Sam Sharpe rebellion

Of free peoples and indentured servants
Of betrayal and forgiveness
Of hell fire and finding the cross
Of dying and surviving
Of damnation and salvation
Of peoples breaking apart and uniting
Singing songs of redemption

Kumina King
Making us proud
From dance to tongue
Lifting us higher
With every movement
Defying time and space
Dancing in our face
Dancing in our space

Silence, silence
Tear drop dead silence
The kete drum speaks
Your name

Kumina king

Malachi Smith, 02/03/2010


An alumnus of Florida International University, Miami-Dade College and Jamaica School of Drama, Malachi was one of the founding members of Poets In Unity, a critically acclaimed ensemble that brought dub-poetry to the forefront of reggae music in the late 70s and carried it forward for a decade.  Malachi has also performed as an actor and poet, and is an accomplished writer, publishing and performing his own plays and poetry. He has also become known for his performances in other theatrical productions and on radio, television, and live theatre.

Malachi has won many medals and awards for his writing. In 2005, he appeared in New York and several venues in Florida. He headlined the International Dub-Poetry Festival in Toronto and he performed at the Love-In Festival in Miami with Richie Heavens and other greats. He also made three appearances in New York. 

In 2003, Malachi was a featured performer in Baltimore at that city’s Black History Month tribute to Bob Marley, and at the Manhattan Center in New York. For 2003, Malachi has also performed at the prestigious Broward Center of the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is scheduled for the African-Can-Do Festival in Miami on July 26, and he is booked to appear in the city of Tampa on August 1.  Malachi toured St. Kitts and Nevis in the summer of 2000 to rave reviews.

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