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Dr. Louise Bennett Coverly - "Miss Lou" as a national Hero

10/23/09

Permalink 12:26:46 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Culture

Dr. Louise Bennett Coverly - "Miss Lou" as a national Hero

Not to seem repetitive but seeing as I covered a topic of one of our cultural icons as a national hero, I have to now go to the other end of the spectrum and cover another cultural icon in Miss Lou. Now any Jamaican should know about Miss Lou just as they should know about Bob Marley, if not I will be forced to take your Jamaica card from you.

When I searched for a nice little biography of Miss Lou I came upon lots of words like celebrated, loved, Legend... Seems like a complete opposite to my search for Bob Marley which only said that he was a musician and songwriter... But this isn't about Bob, its about Miss Lou.

Dr. Louise Bennett Coverly - "Miss Lou" was a folkorist, Poet, Writer, actor, and overall artiste. She is well known for her works which were able to show the Jamaican lifestyle to the world (Insert Usain Bolt pose here :) ). She was able to do this especially because her poems were done almost exclusively in the local Patois a language which she was notably very proud of as she insisted on using it throughout.

She was so celebrated in fact that she has received many national awards including the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Order of Merit and the Order of Jamaica (yet again awards not given to Bob Marley), and even received her Honorary Doctorate. She is certainly a woman accomplished.

Of course she is well known for her tv programme Ring Ding where she helped to continue her folk work teaching children songs and dance which was native to Jamaica. Next to ring ding she was known for recordings such as: Jamaica Singing Games - 1953, Jamaican Folk Songs (Folkways Records, 1954), Children's Jamaican Songs and Games (Folkways, 1957) Miss Lou’s Views - 1967, Listen to Louise - 1968, Carifesta Ring Ding - 1976, The Honorable Miss Lou - 1981, Miss Lou Live-London - 1983 and Yes M' Dear -Island Records. Her poems are also ones held in high regard with names like 'Mout-A-Massi, 'No Likkle Twang', and 'Colonization in Reverse" among many others.

Her impact in terms of spreading Jamaican culture is one which is far reaching. Though I daresay not as far-reaching as a Bob Marley. However she can take responsibility for helping to make Jamaicans around the world feel proud of their heritage.

With all of this known if I was to say that maybe Louise Bennett deserves to be awarded the title of National Hero, I am sure I would gain a resounding YES! from all people who read and even the wider public. However to me it seems strange that we as Jamaicans are more willing to accept Miss Lou as a Hero than a Bob Marley (yes I finally went there).

They have both done Jamaica a great deed and they both should be celebrated in the highest regard, however it seems that there is a certain bias towards Miss Lou which does not exist for Bob Marley. What is the reason for this? Is it because of the message they preached (Pro Jamaican vs Pro Poor People). Is it because Miss Lou is more lovable than Bob Marley, or is it because Miss Lou does not sport long flowing locks?

Yet again I am only posing questions for people to sit back and think deeply on. Personally I believe they should both be awarding the national honour as their work is quite simply im-measureable. I would just prefer to see less subjectivity and more objective views in the debate of whether or not they both should be regarded as national heroes

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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