Luther Mack has written his first book
The breathtaking landscape and coastline of Portland parish in eastern Jamaica has inspired many poems and songs. Its natural beauty has attracted celebrities like Hollywood actor Errol Flynn who once lived there.
A son of the soil, Luther “Luther Mack” McKenzie never tires of visiting that rustic region. It was while there 10 years ago that he got the idea to write a screenplay with slavery as a backdrop. That concept evolved into a book titled ‘The Singing Village: Black Slaves Magically Become White to Survive Slavery’, which was released last August on Amazon.
It is the first book for McKenzie, a musician/impresario known in South Florida reggae circles as Luther Mack. Formally trained in creative writing, he has written reams of screenplays for over 30 years.
‘The Singing Village’, which begins in 18th Century Jamaica, spreads into the 20th Century. Although he describes it as “historical fiction”, the book entails mystery and mysticism set in one of the darkest periods in history.
“Fiction or non-fiction, whenever we get the opportunity to bring up the subject of slavery, we should do it and we should allow no one or anything to prevent us from telling the stories of the atrocities that were inflicted on our people,” he said. “But The Singing Village has a profound message for all races of humans. We only look different on the outside. We are actually the same people.”
There is also an audio version to ‘The Singing Village’ which McKenzie believes has the goods to make it to the screen. With time on his hands during the Covid-19 lockdowns, he wrote the manuscript in less than three months.
McKenzie has lived in the United States since the late 1960s, first living in New York City. While he played keyboards in reggae bands there and in South Florida, where he moved to in the 1980s, writing is his greatest passion.
But as much satisfaction as it gives him, McKenzie is best known as head of Shang Records which helped put Shabba Ranks, Patra, and Mad Cobra on the pop charts in the 1990s. He also signed the upcoming Ky-Mani Marley to the company during that decade.
McKenzie also promoted successful reggae events in South Florida, Haiti, and Senegal.
“After all my experience promoting and producing shows, I was most honoured when my excellent brethren Clifton ‘Specialist’ Dillion invited me to be a part of the Shang Records family. Specialist had moved the company from New York to South Beach and wanted me to be the president. With music pouring through my veins, it gave me the opportunity to delve into the everyday life of running a record company and being an intricate part of the creative geniuses in our daily encounters,” he recalled.
While crafting ‘The Singing Village’, Luther McKenzie got an opportunity to show a different side of his creativity.
“My favourite books are biographies because you learn so much about life by reading other people’s stories. But that child in me draws out my imaginary side, stories from another realm, stories that speak to the inner spirit, stories that question our very existence,” he reasoned. “I am satisfied that I have written a riveting story that not only engages the reader but ignites the spark of… ‘could this be possible’?”
(Photo courtesy of Luther McKenzie)
Luther McKenzie is a globally, talented brother who shares his talent selflessly. Whatever he puts his hands on, it blossoms into a unique production.
Congratulations Luther on all you have accomplished and many more success stories, in the near future.
Excellent read. Takes you to a different era with and level of creativity that surpasses one’s imagination. Loved it!