Happy 45th Independence Jamaica

As many of you know today is Jamaica’s 45th Independence. I want to reflect on the colors of the Jamaica flag. I am proud that the colors in the flag are being worn proudly the past few years. More clothing is being produced with the Jamaican flag. My daughter’s most prized possessions are her Jamaican flag t-shirt/babydoll shirts. A few years ago I would get emails from users telling me that the Jamaican colors are “red, green and yellow (gold)” or they wanted some Jamaican with those colors. I remember being asked why not change to these colors since it seemed more popular than the colors in the flag. In many of these cases I did not want to argue the point when most things Jamaican were recognized by these colors. Today that has changed and I am proud…it make my life easier.

On another note on the flag. Recently a Jamaicans.com website visitor emailed me about the meaning of the black in the Jamaican flag. We listed the orginal meaning on the site. There is a new meaning based on a recommendation of a group led by Prof. Rex Nettleford in 1996. I believe the goal of the Rex Nettleford Report was to tone down the negative connotation of the word black in the flag’s symbolism. There was some heated discussion about the change. Gleaner columnist Dawn Ritch wrote an article called “Demeaning the national flag” challenging the change. Below is the original and the new symbolism.

The black stands for hardship, the green for both hope and the fertile land, and the gold for wealth and sunshine. (Original)

Black symbolizes the strength and creativity of the Jamaican people ; Gold, for natural wealth and beauty of sunlight; and Green stands for hope and agricultural resources. (New meaning based on 1996 recommendation)