• Dennis Howard

Every Nigger is a Star a Celebration of Blackness



'Every Nigger is Star' released in 1974 for the soundtrack for the movie of the same name is one of those songs that have shown remarkable staying power. The song was written by Boris and Barrington Gardiner and performed by the Boris Gardiner Happenings with Boris on lead vocals. The film was the brainchild of actor Calvin Lockhart and according to Boris Gardiner, Eddie Knight and Teddy McCook. Bahamian/American Lockhart decided to do the movie after his involvement in another Jamaican film, The Marijuana Affair.


Contracted to produce the soundtrack, Gardiner also recorded the theme song as a ballad. The intent of the song was a celebration of blackness and the indomitable spirit of the people in postcolonial Jamaica.


While to movie was a flop, the theme song has developed into a sensation that seemed to get bigger as time passes.


Deejay Big Youth covered the song in reggae shortly after the original was released. The artist enjoyed some success with the cover, and it overshadowed Gardiner's version.




In the 1990s, Super Cat also referenced the song in two of his recording; 'Every Nigger is Star' and 'Nuff Man a Die'.







The song stirred some controversy in 1999 when American shock jock Howard Stern played the song during Black history month and invited Gardiner to perform the song.

According to Gardiner, r&b singer Billy Paul came to Jamaica and recorded the song at at Federal Recording studio, however his label was resistant due to the word nigger and wanted him too change it. Paul felt it would have diluted the song, it was never released.


Kendrick Lamar sampled the song in 2015 for the song 'Wesley Theory', and the original recording made it to the soundtrack of the movie Moonlighting.









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