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Jamaicans in South Florida have launched a scholarship fund in honour of late cultural icon, Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou).
Norma Darby, Director of the Florida-based folklore group, the Jamaica Folk Revue made the announcement at a community cultural tribute held recently in North Miami, to celebrate the birthday, life and legacy of the late cultural icon.
She explained that the scholarship was tenable at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, and would be awarded to a student pursuing the three-year diploma course in the performing arts.
She said that the proceeds from the cultural tribute would go towards the scholarship fund and the first award would be made in November.
Meanwhile, more than 600 persons supported the three-hour long programme of cultural performances, which featured folk songs, poetry, drama, dance and video presentations of Miss Lou’s work, including the famous ‘Ring Ding’ show for children.
A proclamation declaring Friday (Sept. 8) as ‘Louise Bennett Day’ in North Miami was also presented by that City’s Mayor, Shirley Gibson.
The audience was also entertained by local artistes including the Jamaica Folk Revue, the Tallawah Mento Band, the Roots and Culture Dancers, the Sierra Norwood Children’s Choir, the Queens Entertainment Troupe and dub poet, Malachi Smith.
Special guest entertainer was Jamaican cultural performer, Faith D’Aguillar, who amused the audience with a collection of Miss Lou’s well-known pieces.Consul General Ricardo Allicock, in his remarks at the function, described Miss Lou as a cultural anthropologist whom, he said, “captured the best of our spirit and pride and has inspired us to celebrate ourselves”.
“Miss Lou made us special as a nation and as a people through her immeasurable contributions” to Jamaica’s culture and heritage, he told the audience.
He commended the coordinating committee, which is comprised of volunteers from local community associations, for their initiative in commemorating the life of the late cultural icon, who would have celebrated her 87th birthday on September 7.
Principal of the Edna Manley College, Burchell Duhaney expressed gratitude to the South Florida Diaspora for its contribution “towards a worthy cause”.
He indicated that the scholarship would benefit a student that exhibited excellence in the areas of the performing arts, which Miss Lou represented.
A similar community tribute is being scheduled for the African American Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday (Oct. 14) as part of the National Heroes Day celebrations in South Florida.