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Miss Lou


Photo:  Courtesy The Gleaner


Aunty Roachy, Boonoonoonoos, walk good, the infectious voice, the laughter, the use of  Jamaican Talk, Ring Ding, Miss Lou and Mass Ran, the tie head, the bandana skirt. These are some of the things that come to mind when one thinks of The Hon. Louise Simone Bennett-Coverley, O.J. the Jamaican Cultural icon who passed away in Canada, on Wednesday, July 26, 2006.


  • Miss Lou as she was affectionately called, lived in Canada for over twenty years, all the while maintaining her cultural connection to Jamaica through her folkloric  Jamaican poems and expressions.  She entertained her audiences with these poems, often bringing tears of laughter to those who were able to see her perform.  I was lucky to see her at Columbia University in 1985, when she performed with Mutabaruka (someone who credits Miss Lou for his foray into dub poetry and the use of the Jamaican language in his every day life).


  • Those poems were funny but they all held a deeper meaning as she commented on every aspect of Jamaican life at home and abroad.


  • Miss Lou left a legacy that will be hard to fill because some people are still not comfortable with being themselves.  Afraid to express the cultural attributes that make them Jamaican.  Miss Lou made it possible for Jamaicans to open their mouths and speak without the fear of people thinking they were not educated.  Jamaican Talk, Patois, was not considered proper speaking, (even today,) although the majority of the Jamaican population spoke that way.  When Miss Lou opened her mouth and the Patois came out people were outraged that she would dare to speak like that in public. 


  • To her credit Miss Lou was prominent in Pantomime that occurred during the Christmas season.  Along with Mr. Ranny Williams they were a dynamic duo of skits  and poems.  Miss Lou was an all time favorite when she hosted the popular television show, Ring Ding.  A variety show that entertained children while teaching them about their Jamaican heritage and their connection, through the language, to the African continent.  Her book of poetry, "Labrish," Jamaican for talking or gossiping, is a must have for those who want to read her poetic side.


  • The Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, O.J. legacy will continue to live every time one a wi open wi mouth an de Jamaican come out.  Ay yai yai!

Mi Deh Yah Now!



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