- The Ministry of Youth and Culture is encouraging all Jamaicans to participate in the emancipation and independence celebrations that will be taking place across the island.
- This year, a major highlight of the 2015 Festival activities, being celebrated under the theme ‘Proud and Free…Jamaica 53’, is the ‘Link Up and Labrish’ discussion forum that will be held at the Independence Village, Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre.
- The discussions will be presented as ‘conversations’ that will be managed by a moderator who will place in context, the sub-theme and issues or questions that are to be examined.
The Ministry of Youth and Culture is encouraging all Jamaicans to participate in the emancipation and independence celebrations that will be taking place across the island. This year, a major highlight of the 2015 Festival activities, being celebrated under the theme ‘Proud and Free…Jamaica 53’, is the ‘Link Up and Labrish’ discussion forum that will be held at the Independence Village, Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, 36 Hope Road, Kingston 10, from August 1-5, 2015, 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. daily.
The discussions will be presented as ‘conversations’ that will be managed by a moderator who will place in context, the sub-theme and issues or questions that are to be examined. Each session carries five panellists who will each present his or her view in an opening statement, and thereafter, the conversations will unfold with the active participation of audience members. Relevant Audio-visual presentations and performances will be included at strategic points in the conversations. The discussions will focus on issues relating to Jamaica’s rich culture and seek to generate meaningful debate around the country’s achievements and vision for the future of its diverse culture and heritage.
Some thirty Jamaicans, representing a cross section of cultural sectors and backgrounds, including youth have been recruited to moderate and sit as panellists. They include Ainsley Henriques, Amina Blackwood Meeks, Lesley-Ann Welsh, Chelsea Wallace, Dane Byrd, Dr. Dennis Howard, Miguel ‘Steppa’ Lewis, Nadeen Spence, Nickesha Lindsay, Laura Lee Jones, Aundre Rowe, Dr. Shelley Morgan, Orville Hall, Jennifer Small, Kerry Ann Henry and Dr. Donna Hope.
According to the Minister of Youth and Culture, Honourable Lisa Hanna, “Everyone should come out and be a part of these conversations. Our Emancipation/Independence observance is the perfect time for us to Link Up and Labrish, our youth and older persons in one space having a frank exchange about how we see ourselves and what is our value as a people. It is about sharing, learning and finding solutions on how to make our cultural heritage assets stronger and more viable on the world stage”.
The opening panel scheduled for August 1 is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion. This special forum will be hosted by the Planning Committee, 150th Anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion at Rudolph Elder Park, Morant Bay in St. Thomas. The remaining sessions will be held at the Independence Village, Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre to include “Exploring the ‘Culture’ in Agriculture: Plant It, Use It, Sell It” on August 2; August 3 the session will be held under the sub-theme, “I Am Who I Am, But Who Am I?”, while on Tuesday August 4 the local fashion industry takes center stage with the sub-theme “Behind the Cloth: Seamstress to Runway. The final session of Link Up and Labrish coincides fittingly with the staging of the World Reggae Dance Championship on August 5 with a conversation around the sub-theme “Folk form of Ramping? Dancehall: Movement of a People”.
Principal Director for Culture at the Ministry of Youth and Culture and Chair of the panel discussion sub-committee, Dr. Janice Lindsay explains that ‘Link Up and Labrish’ came out of a concept that was initially developed called Signature Conversations coming out of the Jamaica 50 celebrations and independence conversations, “It was an excellent programme spearheaded by Herbie Miller which gave business, academic and service club communities the opportunity to contribute to the dialogue on national development within the context of Jamaica’s post-Independence agenda. The programme has been further strengthened, allowing for greater interaction among youth and more experienced voices to participate in the discussions surrounding Jamaica’s culture”.
Each year since 1963, the annual festival celebration, which combines the commemoration of the anniversaries of Emancipation and Independence, is among the most anticipated period of celebrations on the Jamaican calendar.