Wat a joyful news, Miss Mattie,
I feel like me heart gwine burs
Jamaica people colonizin
Englan in Reverse
By de hundred, by de tousan
From country and from town,
By de ship-load, by de plane load
Jamaica is Englan boun...
Oonoo see how life is funny,
Oonoo see da turnabout?
Jamaica live fe box bread
Out a English people mout'.
(An excerpt of Colonisation in Reverse by Louise Bennett Coverly)
THE above poem was a tribute to Jamaicans who have made major contributions to the development of the British society since the Second World War in various capacities and sectors of the economy. This relatively large Jamaican population and their offspring in Britain was also the base of the Internationalisation of Reggae music, as they popularised it all over Europe in the '60s and the '70s. They continue to provide a viable outlet and a spring board for our artistes on the European market. In the 50th year of our Independence, it is truly colonialism in reverse as our Jamaican athletes and musicians are taking London by storm. While it is well known that our track and field athletes are expected to come away with a significant haul of medals, the fact that a large contingent of the crème de la crème of our artistes and musicians will be performing for 12 days at one of the most prestigious venues in the world, might not be as popularly recognised.
To quote from Google, "The O2 arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in the centre of The O2, a large entertainment complex on the Greenwich peninsula in London, England. With capacity of up to 20,000 depending on the event, it is the second largest arena in the UK after the Manchester Arena and one of the largest in Europe. In 2008, The O2 Arena took the crown of the world's busiest music arena from the Manchester Arena, a title which it had held since 2001."
The list of artistes reads like a who is who in Jamaican Reggae and Dancehall. It includes: Lee Scratch Perry, U-Roy, Yellow Man, Ernie Ranglin, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Monty Alexander, Mutabaruka, Lloyd Parks Band, the Abyssinians, John Holt, Mighty Diamonds, Leroy Sibbles, Freddie McGregor, Marcia Griffiths, Maxi Priest, Taurus Riley, Gyptian, Toots and the Maytals, Horace Andy, Johnny Clarke, Morgan Heritage, Shaggy, Raging Fyah, Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Morgan, Max Romeo and Bob Andy. The mere fact that a promoter would invest in such a major venture, during the Olympics, when London is inhabited by people all over the world, speaks to the enormous power and international appeal of Jamaican popular music.
Meanwhile, back on the rock, the Jamaica 50 Secretariat, through their international media partner RJR will be broadcasting our celebration from the National Stadium facilities and selected venues across the island, throughout Western Europe, England, Florida, Canada and selected African countries. This is more ample evidence of the commercial viability of exporting our cultural products in a national thrust to increase the contribution of the cultural/creative industries to Jamaica's gross national product.