Arts & Culture

Miss Lou hailed as 'Mother of Culture'

BY SIMONE MORGAN-LINDO
Observer reporter

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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THURSDAY morning's Exhibition and Bandana Fashion show at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library on Tom Redcam Road kicked off a month-long celebration for the life of renowned folklorist Louise Bennet-Coverley, affectionately called Miss Lou.

Miss Lou would have celebrated her 98th birthday on Thursday.

The celebration is a collaborative effort between the parish library and Jamaica Cultural and Development Corporation (JCDC).

Speaking at the event, JCDC chairman Kenneth Salmon hailed the late poet as the 'Mother of Culture'.

“I would really like to commend the JCDC for ensuring that the Jamaican culture stays alive. Many of the issues that we face today is because we have abandoned the core values of our culture. She was one of Jamaicas leading poet who gave the truth through our own language. You can't mention the words Jamaican culture without referring to Miss Lou,” he said.

The celebration attracted several institutions from the Corporate Area, including The Women Centre, St Joseph Teachers College, Vauxhall High School and Louise Bennett Coverely Primary.

The event would be incomplete without theatre or dramatic pieces, so students gave recitals of some of Miss Lou's most popular poems.

The event closed with the unveiling of an exhibition of Miss Lou's work.

The JCDC will continue Miss Lou celebrations throughout the month of September.

Miss Lou was born in Kingston. Described as Jamaica's leading comedienne, she was a poet who could hit the truth about her society through its own language. A historian in her own right, she chronicled valid social documents reflecting the way Jamaicans think, feel and live.

Over the years her work took on mass appeal through her presence in media — initially in print and later to radio and then famously on television where she hosted Ring Ding, a weekly talent show on the now-defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation.

She died at 86 on July 27, 2006, at the Scarborough Grace Hospital in Canada, where she lived the last decade of her life. She is interred in the cultural icons section of the country's National Heroes' Park in Kingston.

The celebration of the life of Miss Lou continued with a live concert on Thursday evening at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre on Hope Road.

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