Goodness and Mercy | An article written By Anicée Gaddis for the True magazine


Michael Thompson, aka Freestylee, is an undisputedly gifted artist, and as you get to know him, you begin to realize that he is committed to a higher cause, namely to transforming Kingston into a global port of call. The catalyst and centerpiece of his vision is reggae, and his ultimate goal, in this lifetime, is to see a Frank Gehry caliber Reggae Hall of Fame Museum erected that celebrates the voice, vision and vocabulary of reggae and related musical genres like ska, dub, rock steady, roots reggae and dancehall. Without a past there is no present, and without a present there is no future. Michael’s vision resonates with the pulse of the future while paying full respect to the roots and lineage of reggae’s past. His mantra is a combination of heritage and tradition, of aspiration and intuition. It’s about celebrating and advocating a music that is pervasive, that’s cosmic, that’s optimistic, that’s righteous, that is a hip, healing and wholesome alembic for these tricky millennial times…


What strikes me most and continues to inspire me about Michael’s bold and selfless mission is that there are deep layers behind it. It’s a vision that involves the originators and the instigators, the heavyweights and the new pioneers. His crew, including Patricia Chin, the matriarch of VP Records, and Ted Bafaloukos have been on the frontlines of reggae since the 60s and 70s, while Michael himself has been creating his poster designs for over four decades. When you link that level of distinction and legacy with the Alpha Boys School, it’s basically a holy trinity of reggae. And the reason I am talking about all this is because I share Michael’s dedication to putting Kingston back on the map, and giving my adopted home city its proper shine. In his classic tune Here I Come, the late great Dennis Brown sang, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow I all the days of my life.” I believe this is true for Michael and many others who are spreading the good word about their golden land.

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