Fire Ah Go Bern: Listen to Tanya Stephens’ “Bernie A Di Realest”

Words by Jesse Serwer

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Tanya Stephens has never been afraid to speak her mind. She was one of the first Jamaican reggae acts to offer support for gay rights and, now, with “Bernie A Di Realist,” she’s become the first to record a song in support of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Over a rhythm from J-Vibe Productions, the “It’s a Pity” singer professes that she can feel the Bern from her head to her shoulders and “inna my waist, knees and toes,” and also from her pants to her belt to her shirt and “inna every stitch of my clothes.”

If the endorsement strikes you as unusual, well, this is not the first time an artist from Jamaica has recorded a song endorsing a U.S. presidential candidate. In 2008, Cocoa Tea issued the self-explanatory “Barack Obama” in support of the current commander-in-chief’s first campaign. It’s also not the first Bernie-related reggae track, either. That would be Sanders’ own 1987 version of “This Land Is Your Land,” which awkwardly transposes the words from Woody Guthrie’s folk staple over a sort of reggae rhythm. Well, let’s just act like that one never happened.

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