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In honour of Miss Lou

Fontana launches storyboard project

By Katrich Walker
Observer writer

Monday, October 07, 2019

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Fontana Pharmacy is spending $2 million on a project to use 1,700 storyboards in a drive to educate young Jamaicans about Jamaica's cultural icon, the late Louise Bennett Coverley, popularly known as “Miss Lou”.

The Fontana initiative is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

Fontana representatives say the storyboards — providing a synopsis of Miss Lou's life and work — will be placed in schools, Government buildings including parish libraries, and other public facilities across the country to “prompt” the interest of young people.

This year is being celebrated by Jamaicansas the centenary of Miss Lou's birth.

Born on September 7, 1919, Miss Lou is hailed as a pioneer for her role in bringing Jamaican culture, patois/folk language to the fore, through poetry, folk songs, stories and drama.

She died in Canada in 2006 and is buried at National Heroes' Park in Kingston.

Fontana Pharmacy's Special Project Officer Stephanie Smith told Jamaica Observer Central that arrangements were being made to start “distributing the storyboards”.

According to Fontana Pharmacy Chairman Kevin O'Brien Chang, Miss Lou knew the Jamaican culture better than anyone else and she inspired Jamaican and West Indian cultural emancipation.

“She fought for black liberation, as did Garvey, and later [Peter] Tosh and [Bob] Marley; she stood up boldly for her race,” he told Observer Central.
Chang believes that Miss Lou should be recognised for fuelling the confidence of Jamaicans in speaking Jamaican Patios.

Many Jamaicans today see Miss Lou as a “mother” because she taught them to be confident where their first language was concerned, he said.

“Everybody love Miss Lou, but a lot of people don't know much about her. She's a poet and she make people laugh — that's it, that's what people know, but there is so much more to her. That's why I said well, let us do something just to educate the younger people. Ring Ding was very popular but Ring Ding finished in 1980, that's 39 years ago — way before you (children born in the 21st century) were born,” he said.

In addition to storyboards, Chang is planning to put a bronze copy at Emancipation Park in Kingston so that more people can see it as they pass by.

He hopes the storyboards will whet the readers' appetite to seek out more information about Miss Lou.

“Think of it as a teaser to an exciting movie, because the life and works of Miss Lou cannot hold on one page,” Chang said.