A scholarship fund in honor of the late Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou) Fund was officially launched last Friday (Sept. 8) at the community cultural tribute to commemorate the birthday, life and legacy of the late cultural icon, held in North Miami.
The scholarship tenable at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, will be awarded to a student pursuing the three-year diploma course in Performing Arts.
This was announced by Mrs. Norma Darby, Director of the Florida-based folklore group, the Jamaica Folk Revue, who spearheaded the planning of the cultural tribute.
A proclamation declaring Friday (Sept. 8) as “Louise Bennett Day” in North Miami was also presented by that City’s Mayor, Ms. Shirley Gibson.
Over 600 persons turned out for the three-hour long program of cultural performances which featured folk songs, poetry, drama, dance and video clippings reminiscent of the work and life of Miss Lou including the famous “Ring Ding” entertainment with the children.
The audience was entertained by local artists including the Jamaica Folk Revue, the Tallawah Mento Band, the Roots and Culture Dancers, the Sierra Norwood Children’s Choir, the Queens Entertainment Troupe and dub poet Malachi Smith.
Special guest entertainer was Jamaican cultural performer, Ms. Faith D’Aguillar, who also entertained the audience with a collection of Miss Lou’s well-known pieces.
Consul General Ricardo Allicock described Miss Lou as a cultural anthropologist who, he said, ‘captured the best of our spirit and pride and has inspired us to celebrate ourselves.’
Through investigation and then exposure of the Jamaican culture and heritage, ‘Miss Lou made us special’ as a nation and as a people through her immeasurable contributions, he told the audience.
He commended the coordinating committee made up of several volunteers representing local community associations, for their initiative in celebrating the life of Jamaica’s cultural icon who would have celebrated her 87th birthday on Thursday September 7th.
Mrs. Darby expressed gratitude to the audience as contributions were generously made towards the first scholarship fund which will be presented at the school’s graduation in November.
Principal Burchell Duhaney expressed gratitude to the South Florida Diaspora for their contribution towards a worthy cause.
He indicated that the scholarship would benefit a student that exhibited similar trend of developing the type of performing arts that Ms. Lou represented.
A similar community tribute is being scheduled for at the African American Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday (Oct. 14) as part of the National Heroes’ celebrations here in South Florida.