Deeno Jay is a singer, songwriter, producer, and dancer born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Jay’s music transcends the boundaries of any one genre and has been said to incorporate elements of hip-hop, dancehall, afro-pop, and R&B. As the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown has long been a center not only of art and music but of suffering and injustice. Freetown was an integral port in the Transatlantic slave trade and earned its name by acting as a safe haven for emancipated slaves returning from Britain and North America. Emcees from Freetown like Deeno Jay are tasked with carrying the history of the city with them everywhere they go as their music is responsible for representing a unique facet of the Sierra Leonean identity.
Never Forget 2021
Sierra Leone gained independence in 1961 and amongst festivities for the 60th anniversary in 2021, Deeno Jay released Never Forget to remind the people of Sierra Leone of all the corruption and injustice wrapped up in its history. The song sheds light on numerous political and social issues including the lasting effects of the Ebola outbreak and the inefficiency of parliament but mostly focuses on issues of police brutality and corruption. Throughout the video Deeno Jay is seen shirtless with the phrases ‘don’t forget’ and ‘never forget’ scrawled across his chest and blood dripping from his mouth as he chronicles the unsavory realities of the last 60 years of independence in Sierra Leone. In reference to issues of state sanctioned violence Deeno Jay discusses how “our police become our enemies instead of protecting us” and goes further in saying “so what are we celebrating… 60 years of degrading?”(1:36). Never Forget provides a uniquely critical lens of Sierra Leone that adds another dimension to expressing national pride and the act of repping where one’s from.
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