Yesterday I wrote on the topic of women past and present. I focused on the great African Queen of Angola, Anna Nzingha and also wrote a little about my own personal Queen, My mother. This morning I got up with the Honorable Dr. Louise Bennet , “Miss Lou” on my mind. So I have decided to focus on culture this week and I could not do that without and in my own way honor Miss Lou. As a child I remember watching Ring Ding on J.B.C television in Jamaica every Saturday afternoon, with my beloved Miss Lou and Marjorie playing the piano. She would entertain us with her singing and poems along with having children from various schools performing songs and dance on her program. I remember sitting on the living room floor sucking my thumb (except when I sang along) and watched my favorite television personality entertain and teach at the same time. I have provided some videos of the great Louise Bennet for your viewing pleasure, and I must confess that when I watched them I became nostalgic, so much that my eyes misted as the little girl in me remembered my friend Miss Lou. She was Jamaica’s Oprah!, Loved by all and appreciated by all. What she did for the preservation of our rich culture cannot be matched.
When I began high school.It was because of Miss Lou’s Influence that I did very well in drama, and I remember going home on the bus one evening, pulling out my pen and a small piece of paper and writing my first poem, all from the influence of Louise Bennet, I do not remember it all but I will just give you all a little of what I do remember. It was titled; Spike Heel Boot……..)…….. lol, I cannot remember the rest but when I performed it at school, I received a standing ovation, and it became very popular as did I, because everyone kept on reciting it. Thank you Miss Lou!……
Thank you also for the Brother Anancy Stories you told, (Read my Post… Brother Anancy, Esu in Jamaican folklore)…, which my children who were all born in America, knows and love, along with the folk songs, they appreciate their Jamaican heritage. Miss Lou made me Love and appriciate my rich Jamaican culture and heritage, proud to be black and extra proud to be Jamaican, when I grew up and entered the spiritual world of the revival church, Miss Lou and her songs were there, when 61 revival came in and the Leader or Leadress would start chanting “Judy drownded Judy drownded”, or when deep spirits arrived and we would sing “Mek yuh deh wheel an tun mi”, with our heads wrapped in Madras plaid, the red plaid that you see her wearing in the videos while performing which is the cultural cloth of Jamaica, made famous by her…Mek yuh deh wheel and tun mi was one of my mother’s favorite songs to sing while she cooked.
Miss Lou taught me cultural songs like….. Sammy plant peice a cawn dung a gully….., Long time gal mi neva see yuh, come mek we walk an talk…., It was unda the Sycamore tree….., Evening time, work is over now it’s evening time,….. Dina O!!!/strong>I wish I could sing this one for you and let you feel the spirit of this old lady calling out for her, possibly grand-daughter for help and the wicked little girl not answering her, while the woman complains about her aches and pains and her inability to walk quickly due to age and her ailments. I loved this song, as a child, even though it made me sad for the poor old lady and mad at the wrecthed Dina. Even though I know that I came to earth to be who I am, a spiritualist/traditionlist, I believe Miss Lou helped prepare my path, by who she was and what she represented .
As little black girls growing up in Jamaica and being served our heritage on a huge silver platter by this marvelous woman who was so charming and motherly, who danced and sang and spoke to us through the television as if she was speaking to you specifically, it was so comforting. I saw myself in her and she was black like me and I identified my blackness through her. She was a cultural icon and much deserving of national heroe status, she was actress, writer, folklorist, educator….and I believe she was a child of Osun as these are qualities of Osun’s children. My Mother Louise Bennet, I can feel you alive and well in your residence on the higher mental plane, where you are still influencing artists, teachers, musicians, educators, anthropologists and poets here on the earth plane, and we all appreciate what you did for us while you visited this our earth realm. Happy that you chose to incarnate as a Jamican on you last incarnation and even though I doubt that you will be back, because I believe you have been released from the birthing chain, because of the legacy that you left, I hope that all generations to come will continue to remember you as I Obara Meji do.
Old age does not come in just one day…….Yoruba Proverb.