Reflection: Chicago Reggae Pioneer

| February 23, 2012

Staff Writer Nastasia Grant

Tzaddi Wadadah I Terrier is a Jamaican born who migrated to Chicago in the mid 1960’s. He can best be described as a very humble, charismatic and spiritual individual and it’s simply difficult not to like him. He is an icon within the Chicago reggae community and has contributed immensely to the musical and cultural development inChicago. He is noted as being one of our reggae pioneers in Chicago, Illinois.

 

The Music

During his early years in Chicago he became drawn to reggae music. In 1972

Tzaddi Wadadah I Terrier

Tzaddi Wadadah I started his journey into the reggae arena, and after meeting Bob Marley in the early 1970’s he experienced his first live musical performance. He describes this as one of the most electrifying moments. At that time it became very clear that he wanted to pursue his musical career. Tzaddi describes Bob as one of his biggest inspirations, and as a youth he emulated the older artistes. Tzaddi was associated with artistes such as Tabby Diamond and was close friends with Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Bob Marley, David Hinds (lead singer of Steel Pulse), UB40, Muta Baruka, Sly Dunbar, Judy Mowatt and Rita Marley.

It all started when Tzaddi and his brother formed the first reggae sound system in Chicago by the name of President Disco. They had the will to fight and their minds were set on success. With Tzaddi as the selector, the group started playing anywhere they could, from basements, birthday parties to weddings.The name of the sound system was later changed to Black Sabbath International, one of the hottest cultural sound systems in Chicago. Black Sabbath International is still prominent in Chicago today and Tzaddi has received several awards for his contribution to reggae music. However, today the younger generation of Terrier has taken over, Tzaddi Wadadah Terrier II a.k.a. Selector T, who is CEO of Black Sabbath sound system and D.O.V.E Musiz Inc. in Chicago.

Religion and Service

The Rastafarian belief system was on the rise during the 1970’s, with Bob Marley as one of its biggest advocates. During that time Tzaddi became what he describes as a “serious” Rasta and Rastafari became what he refers to as his ultimate awareness. Based on his religious belief in 1974 Tzaddi and his associates started the Haile Selassie I Day Celebration in Chicago in honour of Haile Selassie I.

Wadadah, as he is fondly called by his peers, has been the recipient of a number of awards for his service to the reggae community in Chicago. In 1982 he was the recipient of the Martin’s International Reggae Arts Award for his contribution to cultural development in Chicago.

He has always been dedicated to service; Tzaddi along with Sekou TaFari (founder and CEO of Frontline Books and Publishing) are the elders of the Chicago Rastafarian Community, serving the community through the Rastafari United to Serve Humanity (RUSH) organization. With Tzaddi as the spokesman RUSH acknowledges black history, cultural music, dance, and Rastafarian contributions. Tzaddi is also one of the founders of the Friends of Rastafari (FOR), which is an organization which is made up of people who are friends and supporters of Rastafarians.

Tzaddi Wadadah I Terrier Gregory Isaac Winston Harriot Vern and Jah T 1981 in Park West Chicago

He describes himself as a student of the bible, as well as an educator of theology and Ethiopic studies. He teaches Ethiopic studies after completing his studies in sociology and theology.

Tzaddi continues to break the mole of the stereotypical ideology people occasionally associate with Rastafarians and he demands Rastafarians universally to be holy and just, because God/Yahweh/Jah is holy and just.

Today he enjoys landscaping and photography. You can catch him listening to music, reading, following a religious path and preaching the gospel. When asked if he had a message for those who want to become a musician he responded, “…reggae is a stage…you say what you have to say then you will have to step down one day …whatever you say make sure it’s uplifting and edifying”

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Category: Culture & Society

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