Independence Special: Jamaica @ 60 & Beyond

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2022 50 INDEPENDENCE SPECIAL: JAMAICA @ 60 AND B YOND F ATURE | THE GLEANER | SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2022 THE HON LOUISE BENNETT-COVERLEY SEPTEMBER 17, 1919 - JULY 27, 2006 Published Sunday, May 16, 2021 LOUISE BENNETT, ‘Miss Lou’, a Jamaican poet, folklorist, writer, and educator, is the most decorated among Jamaican poets and songwriters and with good reason. BornonSeptember 7, 1919, Bennett ismost revered for thepart sheplayed indrivinghomeacceptanceof thespoken dialect in Jamaica and for its use as a language in its own right. Miss Lou sweetly delivered the Jamaican language in song and poems on stages in the island and across the world, encouraging acceptance and wide usage, and removing a veil of shame carried by many ordinary Jamaicans who could not speak the Queen’s English. Among her awards are Member of theMost ExcellentOrder of theBritish Empire (1960); The Norman Manley Award for Excellence (1972); the Order of Jamaica (1974); theMusgrave Medal (1978); an Honorary Doctor of Letters – York University (1998); and the JamaicanOrder of Merit (2001). Miss Lou wrote in Jamaican Patois, helping to have it recognised as a “nation language”. Other writers and performers have followed in her footsteps, including artistes Mutabaruka, Linton Kwesi Johnson andYasus Afari. Miss Lou is creditedwith giving Harry Belafonte the foundation for his 1956 hit Day-O (The Banana Boat Song). Who was this woman, who single-handedly reversed and destroyed the labelling of Jamaican Creole as unfit for airplay? Miss Lou was born on September 7, 1919, on North Street in Kingston, Miss Lou’s legacy of pride in The Honourable Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett-Coverley. THE GLEANER ARCHIVES jamaica at UNIQUELY JAMAICAN LIKKLE BUT TALLAWAH! CULTURAL ICONS PLEASE SEE LEGACY, 52 everything Jamaican continues