We met him toward the end of a long day tramping the streets of New Orleans, mostly the French Quarter. Mardi Gras was everywhere, or rather preparations for Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is not all jazz and sex, but that is another story for later.
Claire wants to write a story about the international devotion of people-of-color to the music and persona of Bob Marley, many years after his death. We have found Bob Marley music in every corner of the world where Black people live, and we have wondered at his universal appeal.
Ras Kevin keeps his stand of far away from the other vendors, outside the French Quarter, still downtown, where he can talk with the people who come to look and to buy. He is educated, has worked in the corporate world, and chooses this life so he can more directly share his message, and Bob Marley’s message with anyone who will listen. He is respectful, well spoken and well groomed, with an enthusiasm and intelligence that draws people to him. Mostly he speaks to people-of-color. His message: quit waiting on the White man to help you out, we are going to have to do it ourselves. It is delivered without malice toward Whites, but with hope for Blacks. He says most Blacks don’t want to listen to him. Others, with their own job security in mind, offer them an easier message, one of entitlement rather than striving, anger rather than hope.
Ras does very well financially, he does exactly what he wants to do in life, and he shares a message he believes in. That is success. We wish him well.