Ms Legendary vs Ms Lou
Good day & welcome. If you’re fan of Dancehall & Reggae or you’re from the Jamaican background or diaspora, there are a couple things that come synonymous with the culture. There are just certain names that you just don’t go against, tamper with or try to slander. Do not argue about Marcus Garvey, Usain Bolt, Bob Marley etc. Those are just some of the names & topics. Well Louise Bennett Coverley aka “Ms Lou” is one of them. She’s one of the most iconic & distinguished cultural influences of the 20th century. A revolutionist in her own right. A patriot of the arts and an advocate for female rights. We often see things through the eyes of entertainment, (from the front view) there comes a time we need to just stand back and look at humanity.
The year is 2017 and a new wave of stars are among us. This is where culture meets youthful lack of knowledge & naivety. There are several people involved in entertainment within indigenous cultures and arts that are simply not aware of the plights of various artist & entertainers prior to their era. (Being educated doesn’t make you cultured). There are millions of black people in the world who don’t actually know who started what and who paved or allowed us the privilege. We can leave that down to colonialism and all the other variables that kick in.
There is a present dispute and on going dialogue pertaining to a comment a Jamaican female artist made. She was addressing Ms.Lou’s attire as tablecloth. The artist is Ishawna. Was she right? No she was not! It was rude, vulgar and down right insensitive naive to say the least. Here are basic humane reasons why she just shouldn’t have used her in that statement. As a woman she just degraded a female legend. Never compare yourself to someone who has too many accolades as first (meaning icon). Which also spoke about ethics. Meaning it was just rude. Last but not not least the dress code in which she refers to is a national dress code. Referring to times of slavery & more elements. (There is also discussions we could have about colonial influences as well.)
Then I begun to ponder, why would she use her name. Was she just plain and simply dumb? My thoughts were all over trying to fathom how and why. Again my early thoughts were bit of colonialism and white supremacy that hid all the facts of our great leaders. A nation & a people who were taught that blacks never did anything or made it on the highest level. Ishawna is not the only one to blame. We as a people sometimes forget our civil duties & rights. We are also to blame. Its imperative we teach and educate who these people are and what made them iconic.
Here is just a short list of why Louise Bennett Coverley is an icon.
- She was the first black person to attend Royal Academy of Classic Art. British Council gave her a scholarship (Rosa Parks of entertainment)
- During her time in the UK she hosted two radio programs for the BBC – Caribbean Carnival (1945–1946) and West Indian Night (1950)
- She is credited with giving Harry Belafonte the foundation for his hit ” Day O – Banana Boat Song” by telling him about the Jamaican folk song “Hill and Gully Rider” (the name also given as “Day Dah Light”)
- She wrote countless books & produced her own on air program for local Jamaican TV which aired over twelve years.
Let me put it simply like this. If there was no Miss Lou not sure we would be writing on this Flames website or enjoying the mixture of songs we hear on the station. Not quite sure if “Suli Breaks” would have made it as a spoken word artist. Not quite sure if Grime, Grunge, or any of that art form would exist. For a fact Ishawna wouldn’t have made it pass the airport much less a stage. So now understand the influence of this powerful strong black woman who pushed the arts, culture & our West Indian lifestyle forward.
Stay informed as we bring you more stories and info coming out Jamaica the Caribbean. Share your thoughts and views and lets engage in a friendly convo.