Shade Tree by Rocky Dawuni should be a global peace song

Estimated read time 8 min read

Ghana’s veteran reggae musician Rocky Dawuni has stood out globally for his brand of music. Called ‘Afro Roots’, Dawuni’s music transcends borders, merging divides and encouraging love among earth’s most dangerous species; humans. His new song, Shade Tree is very timely and should be a healer of the wrecked humanity if only humanity would give it a chance.

Shade Tree is not the first song from the multiple Grammy-nominated singer to speak about love and oneness. “Beautiful People” from his most recent album, Voice of Bunbun Vol. 1, he stated that “…love is a language to free us from every bondage,” a statement that all humanity probably can relate to.

In the same album, he said in the song titled “Difference”, “Just like ying and yang…You know what the difference is”. He then added, “We cannot go wrong, if we cherish what will make us strong, makes all the difference”. A unique message to humanity that speaks about what we can do with our collective effort from our greater commonness instead of dwelling in the minute difference. Just like “Ying” and “Yang”, the difference is “i” and “a”, and that is what society considers more than the three words that depict their commonness.

Why Shade Tree should be a global anthem now?

Shade Tree is a song that speaks for unity in diversity. The world has been vocal on some issues such as racism, gender inequality and other forms of segregation. Minorities often bear the weight of the social blunt from these human-defined differences.

What is shocking is that the calls are louder when stronger powers feel their interests are on the line. Take whatever it is, there has never been a true concern about the total impact on all of humanity. It is always about us versus them, a situation that has developed into a bulging swell waiting to burst.

In the last few years, we have seen so much happening in the world that has impacted human lives. Apart from natural disasters, every other thing that has caused pain to humanity is a product of humanity’s own effort fueled by naivety or greed. Greed fits in well for most.

From terror attacks to wars, these have all been fostered by people seeking to take undue advantage of others. What leads to that is always a matter of the defined differences. Humans so much desire to dwell on differences and express them more than what is fundamental.

We are a torn world that is in need of emergency fixing. Like children without parents, we are naked before our own deeds. And like most of the victims of the atrocities of our biased allegiance to differences, we would live with the scars and pass them on to generations unborn.

An indecisive world sacrificing lives for supremacy

Russia and Ukraine have been fighting since February 2022 in what is an escalation of something that started 8 years before that. Russia launched a calculated aggression on Ukraine in 2014 and annexed the Crimea Peninsula. It defended its decision and since 2022 has continuously defended its invasion of Ukraine. What is worrying is that the world does not know when this will end.

In the wake of the invasion, global powers donated arms to Ukraine to defend itself. Efforts have been made to broker peace but you do not add diesel to the fire while pouring water on it to quench it. It doesn’t work. You either choose to burn more or quench it. What it simply means is that the world is confused about what it wants, whether peace or supremacy.

As if the global impact of the Russia-Ukraine war had not done enough, another one erupted. Hamas launched a criminal attack on Israel and massacred hundreds of civilians and soldiers. What was the immediate response? A show of support for the sides based on where one’s interest lies. There is no global body bigger than the United Nations, which should be the Shade Tree for a world burning under the scorching heat of war, but the tree seems to be losing its shade as the children of the earth are burned to extinction.

In all of them and all wars of the past including World Wars I and II, none was fought without interest of differences. Superiority-centred, disdain for the so-called lesser people and dishonesty from onlookers have plunged our world into multiple crises including wars. Several families, clans and tribes have been eliminated as a result.

When the Russia-Ukraine war and Israel-Hamas war finally end, there is one thing that would be assured, several families and generations will be lost. Who will account for them? No one. They will be considered unfortunate for being at the right place at the wrong time. But is that actually the case? They were there at the right time but they trusted the wrong people to share the shade tree with them.

In Shade Tree, Rocky Dawuni noted:

In a space between pleasure and pain

We are one but we are not the same

Yeah yeah yeah yeah

We take the same shelter from the rain

We are one under the shade

Mama mama mama

Then you know we are one but we are not the same

Now you know we are one under one shade

You cannot question how true this is. One, whether Russian or Ukrainian, Israeli or Palestinian, Jew or Muslim, Christian or Traditionalist, the common identity is we’re humans. Whether one believes in the creation story or evolution story, it still traces back to one origin. And whether one is located in the South or North, East or West or Centre of the world, it is the same thing; we’re humans. When a bullet hits the victim, it is blood that comes out just like if a bullet hits the aggressor. So why not consider the one thing that existed in us before any other thing was added?

If humans are divided by countries, religion, colour, education, wealth or any other alignment; how can’t we remember that before any of those things we were first humans? How can we not value what nothing can change about us? Anyone can change his or her country, religion, beliefs and even colour at will even if it takes years to do so but who can change the fact that humans will always remain humans, not birds or fishes or cows?

For this, it is time the world adopts Rocky Dawuni’s Shade Tree as an anthem for peace, unity and the recognition of humans by humans.

About Shade Tree

Released in 2023, Shade Tree is the latest single from the Afro Roots veteran. He shot the video in Salvador, the capital city of the Brazilian region of Bahia. The video was directed by Ema Ribeiro and produced by Acessos Produtora.

Explaining the reason behind the song, Rocky Dawuni said, “At a time when Africa is awakening to new political realities and the wider world is grappling with further geo-political divisions, this is a poignant song that reminds people of our shared humanity”.

He added, “The shade tree is where conflicts and disagreements can be resolved – it provides ‘shelter from the rain’ which is shared amongst everyone. Humanity shares this common destiny because we are nature and our destiny is intimately entwined with each other and with all of life just as the roots of the tree. Under the tree, we are a community in our individuality.”

Rocky Dawuni released a new single Shade Tree calling for unity in diversity
Photo: Rocky Dawuni/Facebook

Dawuni who is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Africa for UN Environment made a strong call for attention to be shifted to humanity’s commonness, away from the differences.

He said, “We live in a time when our world is teetering on a threshold of uncertainty, chaos and cycles of violence which could unravel the very essence of our collective responsibility to live for each other.

“It is time for all of us to rise above the blindness of our entrenched alliances to embrace a new philosophy that will elevate a spirit of our shared humanity, our divinity and our unity.

“Each of us must recognize that every life is a precious and beautiful gift from God and our worthiness would only be reflected through the eyes of our fellow human being. ‘Shade Tree’ is a musical offering for our uncertain times and a call to invoke the power of empathy to break down every erected wall fashioned through hatred.”

Could he be any less direct about this? Without our greedy and entrenched alliances to our differences, we would be one world, living and celebrating each other. There would be no neither African nor European, Jew or Muslim, Palestine or Israeli, Ukrainian or Russia but us; humans.

Stream Shade Tree and other of Rocky Dawuni’s songs by clicking on Shade Tree. You can also enjoy the video below.

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