JIS News

‘Yes Mi Dear’ a cultural tribute in honour of late Jamaica cultural icon Louise Bennett Coverley (Miss Lou), was held last Friday (Sept. 8) at the Jamaican High Commission in London.
The tribute, which was held in collaboration with the Jamaica Information Service and Promoting Our Heritage, featured anancy stories, folk songs, poetry and reflections on Miss Lou’s life and work.
Acting High Commissioner, Sharon Saunders said that Miss Lou’s appeal was international and transcended geographical barriers. She described the late cultural icon as a “woman for all seasons” and noted that her contribution to Jamaica would live on for generations.
“Miss Lou, beyond argument, was one of the most significant figures in Jamaica’s cultural development and indeed, our development as a nation and as a people. We can only hope that tonight’s tribute can begin to express our gratitude and appreciation for the immeasurable contribution she has made to all of our lives,” Mrs. Saunders added.
Writer, poet and broadcaster Benjamin Zephaniah said that listening to Miss Lou as a child, while he was growing up in Birmingham, was an educational experience. He described her as an inspiration and read a short poem he had written for her called ‘Heckling Miss Lou’.
In his remarks, internationally renowned poet and writer, Linton Kwesi Johnson said it was a privilege to have known and performed with Miss Lou.
“Miss Lou’s impact on our national identity and consciousness, except for perhaps Marcus Garvey, is without precedence in this century. The enormous debt, that a person like myself owes Miss Lou is tremendous. She has left us with a lasting legacy and taught us to love ourselves and to come to terms with what we are as a people,” he stated.
Artistic Director of the Talawa Theatre Company, Pat Cumper, in a tribute read by journalist and actor Luke Williams, noted, “she wasn’t just an entertainer, not just someone who wrote funny verse.
She created a small revolution in how Jamaicans regard the language they speak and empowered a newly independent nation to claim a new identity and pride for itself”.
Folklorist Carol Russell had the audience in stitches with humorous anancy stories, while choreographer Jackie Guy had them dancing and singing along to a selection of folk songs.
Community Relations Officer at the High Commission, Delores Cooper, who was the mistress of ceremonies, kept the audience entertained with humourous reflections of life in Jamaica.
The evening also featured video clips of Miss Lou in concert and a special poem by Vivienne Witter, a member of the Association of Jamaica United Kingdom.