Reggae singer Mikey General remembers 9/11: South Florida Caribbean News
by Howard Campbell
[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – On September 10, 2001, singer Mikey General boarded a flight from Washington DC to Kingston, Jamaica. The American capital was the last stop on an American tour he made with his roots-reggae singer colleague Luciano.
The next day, terrorists struck in the United States, attacking New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon in Virginia. The World Trade Center in Manhattan was the hardest hit; nearly 3,000 people died when al-Qaeda terrorists flew two planes into the Twin Towers.
Watching television from Jamaica, Mikey General was stunned.
“It was shocking to see so many people die. We could have been in New York or Pennsylvania; it was very disturbing, the world hasn’t been the same since, ”said the Rastafarian artist.
As for the current Covid-19 pandemic, September 11 affected all forms of international trade, including the entertainment industry. When things started to return to normal a year later, Rastafarians were among those unfairly targeted, including at airports.
Because shaving goes against their beliefs and many of them cover their hair, a number of Rastafarians have been mistaken for Middle Eastern terrorists.
“They (immigration officials) started to aggressively search us in parts of Europe and the United States, and that happened for a while. We expected it so it didn’t really affect us that much, ”explained Mikey General.
Thirty-seven Caribbean nationals (including 16 Jamaicans, 14 from Trinidad and Tobago, three from Guyana, and two from Bermuda and Haiti) died in the World Trade Center tragedy 20 years ago.
Mikey General, born in the UK to Jamaican parents, grew up in Kingston. He returned to the UK in his teens and began his recording career there on sound systems.
He still plays and tours with Luciano. Their last song is Redemption, released in August.