JIS News

Tributes have been coming in from Jamaicans in the United Kingdom (UK), on the passing of cultural icon, Louise Bennett Coverley (Miss Lou), in Canada on July 26.
Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK, Gail Mathurin said the High Commission and staff were saddened by the news of the passing of Mrs. Bennett Coverley.
“We join with the Jamaican community in mourning the passing of a great cultural icon who almost single-handedly championed patois as a valid form of expression. Beginning her career when Jamaica was still very much a British Colony, Miss Lou’s work was instrumental in the process of distilling the essence of Jamaicanness within the Colonial milieu, which helped us to embrace our individuality in a way that would propel us towards nationhood,” she said.
Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board representative, Travis Johnson, from Leeds, said Miss Lou helped to place Jamaica on the world stage as a cultural force.
“Miss Lou comes to mind when you think of Jamaica and Jamaican culture’s place in the world. She made it acceptable to speak the Jamaican patois, which reflected the island’s diverse African and multiracial roots. She helped Jamaicans understand that the unique dialect was part of their cultural heritage,” he said, adding that Jamaica has lost a most important national symbol.
“She was a warm and wonderful person. She helped us to understand who we were and that we had a rich heritage, of which we could be proud,” Mr. Johnson said.
President of the Association of Jamaicans’ UK Trust, Mavis Stewart said that Miss Lou was surely one of the finest Jamaicans who ever lived.
“She was simply the best, she touched every aspect of our culture and will remain in all of our hearts. Who can forget her wonderful smile and her laughter? She has ensured that Jamaica’s name will burn as bright as a beacon and her legacy will live on,” Mrs. Stewart said.
Artistic Director of the Talawa Theatre Company and Jamaican novelist and playwright, Pat Cumper said Miss Lou would be remembered as a consummate entertainer.
“Miss Lou will always be remembered as a consummate entertainer, but she must also be recognized and celebrated as the driving force behind Jamaica’s discovery of the power and beauty of its own language. Like Garvey and Marley, she changed the cultural landscape,” she said.

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