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Oku Onuora is one of Jamaica's best known dub-poets and he synonymous for his radical, subversive literature and performances which always mirror the voice of Jamaican people.
Oku Onuora was born Orlando Wong in Kingston, in March 1952. He grew up in the slums of Kingston and there received an informal education from a Rastafarian known as Negus. As he grew, he began to develop a rebellious nature as he was dissatisfied with the conditions around him. This led him to become involved in demonstrations and rallies against police violence and racism. When this outlet did not calm his raging soul, he began to get violent engaging in guerrilla activities and robberies around Kingston. This landed him in jail as he was caught for his offences and sentenced to 7 years in prison. He tried to escape before being sent to serve his term, but was caught and classed as a security risk and so was sent to a higher security prison where he then began writing poetry as an outlet for his building anger.
The prison guards disproved of his writing and tried to ban him, but some of his work leaked and was published in 1977 in a book called Echo by Sangster Books. The book was an instant success and it was then that he changed his name to Oku Onuora.
After his release from prison, he was granted a scholarship to the Jamaican School of Drama as his writing had won several local awards. Onuora soon dropped out of the school and left Jamaica to perform at the 11th World festival of Youth and Students in Cuba.
His first album "Reflection" was released in 1979 and it was the first LP of its kind as it was not made of singing but Onuora reciting his poems over a slow dub beat. He followed this with "Pressure Drop" in 1984, a full-length album which went on to become a classic. After this album he began to focus more on writing plays and he took time out to perform live and tour across the Caribbean, US and France. In 1993 he returned to dub-poetry releasing another album which spoke out against injustice and oppression in Jamaica.
In 2010, Onuora announced plans to begin performing again as he had quit music in the late 1990's due to his disagreement with where local music was headed. He continues to write and record work for a release which he claims is imminent.