The 2021 Pop Convergence: A Virtual Pop Conference, April 22-25th
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Isis Semaj-Hall

Isis Semaj-Hall examines Lee Scratch Perry's music to consider how he upsets colonial time and finds liberation in a renewed convergence with what John Mbiti (1969) calls an African sense of time. Listening carefully to his haunted production in the 1970s and the riddles and wordplay he later voiced in the 1990s on "African Hitchhiker,” this presentation argues that Scratch's sense of time is not rooted in money as it is in the West that he rejects. Rather, for this musical African alien, he decolonizes time, making it sense-based not cents-based. If the listener repeats, rewinds, and replays, instead of fast forwarding through Perry’s musical message, colonial notions of time as money and time as space become less stable, and a new freedom of self-preservation can be found. 

Dr. Isis Semaj-Hall is the Riddim Writer, a disruptive dub doctor with a creative practice that is grounded by sound and nurtured by word power. She podcasts For Posterity, blogs pon di riddim, is a co-founding editor of PREE: Caribbean Writing, and is published in print and to the cloud. She is the Caribbean literature and pop culture specialist for the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies, Mona. @isissemajhall