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Michael Smith, usually referred to as Mikey Smith (14 September 1954 - 17 August 1983), was a Jamaican dub poet.[1] Along with Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Mutabaruka, he was one of the most well-known dub poets. In 1978, Michael Smith represented Jamaica at the 11th World Festival of Youth and Students in Cuba. His album Mi Cyaan Believe It includes his best known poem of the same name. He had left-anarchist leanings and Rastafarian sympathies. Smith was allegedly murdered by political opponents associated with the right-wing Jamaica Labour Party after heckling the Jamaican Minister of Culture at a political rally on August 17, 1983.

Smith was educated at Kingston College and the St George's College Extension School. He also studied at the Jamaican School of Drama with Jean 'Binta' Breeze and Oku Onuora. Linton Kwesi Johnson released some of Smith’s work on his LKJ label. Smith appeared on the BBC television series Ebony and the BBC also broadcast a documentary based on his association with Johnson. "Mi Cyaan Believe It" is most remembered for Smith’s heartfelt phrase "Laaawwwd - mi cyaan believe it - mi seh - mi cyaan believe it". In 1982, Smith released his debut album and performed extensively in Europe supporting such acts as Gregory Isaacs. Smith recorded a session for John Peel which was broadcast by the BBC on 4 May 1982. [2] He continued to work as a social worker representing prisoners in Gun Court. His outspoken commentary on the “isms and schisms of ‘politricks”’ in Jamaica led to his life being cut short. Michael Smith was stoned to death following a clash at a political rally, which sadly occurred on Marcus Garvey's birthday.

Linton Kwesi Johnson, during a presentation on Smith’s life and work at the second Caribbean Conference on Culture at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, had the following to say about him: “The late Jamaican poet, Michael Smith, was to my mind one of the most interesting and original poetic voices to emerge from the English-speaking Caribbean during the last quarter of the 20th century". [3]


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