Letters to the Editor

Jamaica's design for Olympics ceremony revolutionary

Friday, July 20, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

I would like to throw my two cents into the discussion about Jamaican attire for the Olympics ceremony. The design is revolutionary, forward-thinking. It speaks to the fact that we like the much debated song, We're on a Mission, and as designer trends are emerging it seems the military/superhero costume vogue is vanguard design - for the future and what's next in the mind of most contemporary designers.

I think Jamaica will stand out. When was Jamaica never a trendsetter and leader in cultural tastes? Sometimes I wonder if people would really have wanted another timid suit that looks like everybody else's, just a li'l different, and a different national colour scheme. I certainly didn't.

The designs are cutting-edge. Think dancehall aesthetic meets military superhero vogue. The Jamaican ethos and cultural milieu are reflected in the designs.

What I would like to know is, whose opinions decide what is appropriate for a ceremony, and what is wrong with a Jamaican looking like he is going to a dance, a session or bashment? That is predominantly who we are, and we are going to the Olympics to party and put on a show. We are the stars and the main guests the people will go to see.

USA senators said they should put their Olympics garb in a pile and burn them. But that was because America's suits were made in China. We designed ours - our icon's child did. Many Jamaicans and the world like the designs despite some Jamaicans' schizophrenic dislike of themselves.

Whose taste must we conform to - the Europeans'? When we beat Europeans at their own Olympics that they set up! While we are celebrating 50 and who we are, must we still suit Babylon's tastes and play monkey see monkey do? We are doing our own thing now and I am glad that visionary, vanguard people designed it, and not some cold people like those who are tearing down the design.

Amid the criticisms, it is ironic and timely that Time magazine rates our design. It is this mindset of backwardness, self-doubt, tear-down and oppose at all costs in Jamaica that held back Bob Marley in his own country. Yet he was a success abroad. Some here scoffed at him and said, "What he is smoking is bad or makes you mad and stupid." Now, look at them revelling in Sumfest, the smoke and the reggae dancehall fashion. Bob's daughter is a top designer. Time sees it, why can't we?

Yannick Nesta Pessoa






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