JIS News

Story Highlights

  • More than 1,700 storyboards depicting aspects of the life and work of Jamaica’s late cultural icon, Dr. the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, affectionately called “Miss Lou”, will be donated to schools, libraries, Ministries and Diplomatic Missions.
  • This will be facilitated through a partnership between the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and Fontana Pharmacy.
  • The project was announced at a civic ceremony in Gordon Town, East Rural St. Andrew on Sunday (September 8), to commemorate the centenary of Ms. Lou’s birth.

More than 1,700 storyboards depicting aspects of the life and work of Jamaica’s late cultural icon, Dr. the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, affectionately called “Miss Lou”, will be donated to schools, libraries, Ministries and Diplomatic Missions.

This will be facilitated through a partnership between the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and Fontana Pharmacy.

The project was announced at a civic ceremony in Gordon Town, East Rural St. Andrew on Sunday (September 8), to commemorate the centenary of Ms. Lou’s birth.

The storyboard also depicts excerpts from Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange on how Miss Lou portrayed Jamaican culture and instilled national pride.

Others, such as poet and professor emeritus at the University of the West Indies, Mervyn Morris, and reggae artiste, Tony Rebel, also discussed the impact of Miss Lou’s work on Jamaican and West Indian culture.

In an interview with JIS News, Chairman, Fontana Pharmacy, Kevin O’Brien Chang, said the initiative aims to educate Jamaicans – both young and old – about the influential role Ms. Lou played in promoting the country’s rich cultural heritage, popularising the Jamaican dialect, and transforming the national identity.

“It gives the summary of what Miss Lou is… .Different quotes on the storyboard tell of different aspects of her. She made us proud of being Jamaican,” he said.

Mr. O’Brien Chang said while it was not possible to put all her contributions on the storyboard, it is hoped that the interest of readers will be piqued, and, as such, they will undertake their own research after reading the synopsis.

“A lot of people know that she made us laugh and that she wrote poetry, but there is far more to Miss Lou than just that. Miss Lou, more than anyone else, was responsible for creating the culture we have… . She taught us to be confident in ourselves as Jamaicans,” he said.

Mr. O’Brien Chang, who is also an author, said Miss Lou championed Jamaica’s culture for more than 50 years, adding that the first time the Jamaican dialect went in print nationally was in May 1943 when the local newspaper, the Gleaner, published her poems.

Meanwhile, Director of Information at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Oliver Watt, expressed gratitude to Fontana Pharmacy for the collaboration in the commemoration of Miss Lou’s 100th anniversary.

For his part, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Alando Terrelonge, described Miss Lou as a cultural giant whose work and life should be known by all.

“We look forward to having the storyboards distributed throughout the schools in the shortest possible time, because our history, our culture, what Miss Lou has offered and what she continues to offer is an important lesson for all Jamaican students, and from the perspective of education, it is important that our children know their past, know their present, and that will help to guide and shape their future,” he told JIS News.

Born on September 7, 1919, Miss Lou passed away on July 26, 2006 in Canada and was buried at National Heroes Park in a section reserved for cultural icons. The late cultural ambassador was an acclaimed writer, poet, folklorist, educator and radio and television personality.

Known for writing and performing her poems, folk songs and stories in Jamaican patois, Miss Lou is regarded by many as the ‘mother of Jamaican culture’.