JIS News

A special tribute to the late international cultural icon, Hon. Louise Bennett Coverley (‘Miss Lou’), played to a packed room at the conference centre at the British Library   on International Women’s Day (March 8).

The ‘Walk Good: A Tribute to Miss Lou’ event featured renowned British writer, Valarie Bloom; well know storyteller, Jan Blake (both of Jamaican Heritage), as well as Jamaican storyteller, Amina Blackwood Meeks,and poet, Jean Binta Breeze.

The tribute was a part of the British Library’s ‘Evolving English: One Language Many Voices’ programme, which explores the national and international diversity of the English Language.

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Anthony Johnson and his wife, Mrs. Pamela Johnson, were special guests at the event.

The High Commissioner said it was significant that the British Library honoured Miss Lou on International Women’s Day, describing it as a tribute to Jamaica’s culture.

“The British authorities have adopted the concept of English as an evolving language which is changing over time and is being enriched by various forms. Jamaica can be proud that the Honourable Louise Bennett Coverley has been selected for her contribution to the evolution of the English language. It is a tribute to Jamaican culture,” Mr. Johnson said.

The British Library’s Senior Events Officer, John Fawcett, told JIS News that the idea for the tribute to Miss Lou first came about three years ago during discussions with the founder of the Crick Crack Club (A London based storyteller collective).   

Mr. Fawcett said the tribute was to highlight and celebrate the work of Miss Lou, her   legendary status in Jamaica and the fact that she elevated the Jamaican patois into an art form.

The Walk Good tribute started with Miss Lou’s signature song, ‘This Long time Gal (Come mek me hol you Han). The performers also spoke of the impact and the inspiration she provided in their lives and careers, with Miss Blake declaring that, “we have not lost our culture to the cold.”

In addition to short video clips of Miss Lou in concerts and interviews, there were performances of a number of her poems and Jamaican folk songs. The women also performed their original works, which were inspired by Miss Lou. The evening ended with another of Miss Lou’s trademark songs, ‘Walk Good’.



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