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JIS News

Jamaica’s beloved cultural icon, the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou), has died. She was 86 years old.
Miss Lou passed away today (July 26) at the Scarborough Grace Hospital in Toronto, Canada, after collapsing at home early this morning.
Born in Kingston on September 7, 1919, Miss Lou is Jamaica’s premier folklorist, poet, entertainer and comedienne. As a cultural giant, she made Jamaica’s patois an accepted language through her poems.
Famous for her radio shows which included ‘Laugh with Louise’, ‘Miss Lou’s Views’ and ‘The Lou and Ranny Show’, she was also celebrated for her television show ‘Ring Ding,’ which was popular among Jamaican children all across the island.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner, expressed sadness and regret at the untimely death of Jamaica’s Ambassador of Culture.
“Miss Lou was a true leader. Through her courage, she gave a nation a language and a voice with which its people can express its culture. It was not an easy task in those days to challenge the status quo in such a profound way, but this ‘tallawah’ woman did it. She has contributed to our culture through folklore and acting,” she added.
The Consul General called Miss Lou an outstanding daughter of Jamaica, who was loved and respected all over the world and particularly in Canada, her adopted home, where she resided for more than a decade.
She visited the island in 2003, where she was special guest of the government for Emancipation and Independence celebrations.
“Jamaicans everywhere salute Miss Lou for a life well lived. Walk good, Miss Lou,” the Consul General said.Miss Lou received many accolades and awards during her lifetime, including the Order of Merit in 2001; the Order of Jamaica in 1974; the Norman Manley Award for Excellence (in the field of Arts); the Institute of Jamaica’s Musgrave Silver and Gold Medals for distinguished eminence in the field of Arts and Culture, and in 1983 the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of the West Indies.
The cultural icon was slated to add to her numerous awards in a ceremony at the Jamaican Consulate this evening. She would have been presented with the 2006 Jamaica Independence Award Hall of Fame from the West Indian-American Association of New Jersey. Several members of the association were enroute to Toronto from the United States, when Miss Lou passed away.
Miss Lou, who was predeceased by her late husband impresario Eric “Chalktalk” Coverley, is survived by son Fabian and many “adopted” children. Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.