The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) will be staging a series of activities in September to mark the 94th anniversary of the birth of late cultural icon, the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley.
The activities, which will focus on her life and work, begin this Saturday, September 7, at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre, 36 Hope Road in Kingston, with an exhibition and multimedia presentation at 2:00 p.m.
This will be followed by a concert at 4:00 p.m. branded “Tenky Miss Lou” featuring her songs and poems, as performed by school, community and youth groups from the JCDC’s performing arts programme.
At 6:00 p.m. on the same day, there will be a Cultural Dialogue under the theme, “Jamaica Labrish: 50 years on”. The main participants will be Veteran Journalist Dr. the Hon. Barbara Gloudon, interim Chairman of the JCDC’s Board, Dr. Dennis Howard, and JCDC Board member, Clyde McKenzie.
Director, Marketing and Public Relations, JCDC, Stephen Davidson, told JIS that the Dialogue Cultural forms part of a series organised by the JCDC to mark its 50th anniversary celebrations. The aim is to increase awareness of the contributions of some of Jamaica’s leading icons to the country’s rich cultural heritage and national development as well as “to look at how their contributions can help us move forward in the next 50 years,” he informed.
Mr. Davidson is urging young people to attend the Dialogue so as to familiarise themselves with the life and work of Miss Lou, noting that she was one of the most outstanding persons in the development and showcasing of Jamaica’s culture.
“It is significant for us to participate in these events and for us to honour her memory because she is the first lady of Jamaican comedy and we can say the mother of our culture,” Mr. Davidson pointed out.
He noted that Miss Lou pioneered the use of the Jamaican patois in live appearances on stage, radio, television and films as well as in printed literature. “It is good for us to remember and to look back at the things she has done and how she lived her life,” he said.
Mr. Davidson told JIS News that the JCDC parish offices island-wide will also be organising activities to honour Miss Lou. Some of these will include exhibitions at parish libraries, concerts and tributes, essay and poetry competitions, and panel discussions.
“So, throughout the month of September, persons can visit their parish libraries to look at the exhibitions and learn more about the life and work of Miss Lou and participate in the competitions as well as to listen to some of her poems, (performed) by young people,” he said.