Tag Archive: black


I received an invitation from a friend inviting me to the Edna Manley School of Dance Faculty in Concert titled “Physical Labrish…Reflections of the Moving Mind”.

For my international readers the word ‘labrish’ in the Jamaican culture means to gossip or to chitchat.

When I received the invitation I made up my mind in earnest to attend this concert. One, I have not been to many and since I am free why not? That same evening I had a group meeting for my Supervisory Management course which was near the dance school. I was late because of my group meeting but I could not miss it. I literally ran to the venue, paid the entry fee and walked right in, head upright as if I were early.

Looking back, I have been to a concert at Edna Manle before but it was in a different studio. The Dennis Scott Studio the venue for the concert was exquisite. I liked the interior, very modern. It made their presentation look credible. They utilised a huge projector and lighting to enhance their routines, which was pleasing to the eye. I will not continue to describe the aesthetic appeal but just to say, the stage without the dancers was good.

The faculty concert was dedicated to the late Professor the Honourable Rex Nettleford, O.M., O.C.C., F.I.J., who has been integral to the dance community in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. He was a Jamaican Scholar, choreographer and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies. In 1963 he founded the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, a respected ensemble which he led until he passed away.

Of the pieces I saw I could not decide on a favourite. I loved all of them. They each had something that you could connect with and appreciate.

To begin with the show had to be good. The dancers are lecturers in their field at the dance institution. How can they fail?

One of my favourites of the night was a piece entitled “Today and Tomorrow” choreographed by Arsenio Andrade-Calderon. It was very short but essentially he prepared for the rain. He sat on stage on a chair with his umbrella while dancers walked on stage opening water bottles one by one and pouring the liquid on his umbrella. It was a very reflective piece. After the pouring of the water which signified the rain he then closed the umbrella and walked out signalling the rain had ended – tomorrow.

I thought the piece could have been better presented if better use of the lighting was done. To signal the clouds and the initial preparations for the rain, the set could have been dark while brighter lights could signal the tomorrow which came after the dark moments. However the interpretation, the point was made.

The concert ended with everyone laughing. The final piece entitled”Of Tensions and Dilemma” brought to life through dance the struggles the lecturers encounter in their normal day-to-day activities as dance facilitators. The choreography began with teachers in traffic and the drama that comes with that – horrible bus drivers, persons walking on the streets etc. If you take public transportation you can appreciate it but more so Jamaican public transportation. The piece was hilarious, it included the struggles teachers go through with administration issues and student lackadaisical attitudes to education.

I could not end without telling you about my favourite Jamaican dancer, Neila Ebanks. She danced in many pieces at the concert but the two I enjoyed her in were entitled “The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret” and “Their work song…a moving musical soundtrack for making it through”. The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret was an excellent piece in terms of its production and execution. It began with Neila Ebanks on a video presentation and her obsessive compulsive behaviour to edgings/lines. The video presentation showed her entering the dance studio which was cut to show her continue her compulsive behaviour on stage. This piece showed some thought went on into its production. Leaving the stage the video presentation continued with her leaving the studio and Sister Mitzie Margeret continuing her behaviour on the outside (on video).

Based on the attendee’s reactions the concert was well received. The concert ran for the full weekend. I was their on the final night – Sunday and it was almost full house. Only some seats were empty (limited) which I think the organizers can take some compliments. I will be attending more Dance Concerts here – the quality is good.

However, I think the dancers here should take care of themselves. Jamaica has a culture where we think fat is attractive and in terms of dancing, the shapes and lines are so important that leading a healthy lifestyle is imperative to the visual senses. As I mentioned before I was not there for the beginning of the show and was aware of any states rules. I took my camera to take pictures. During the show I noticed no one was taking photos apart from the official media team. I did not want to be reprimanded so I did not.  However, I snapped a private camera phone shot and after that I noticed the persons beside me started to tape the show. This was at the end. After that, I took out my digital camera to snap the photos you see below. I am happy I did. The teachers gave a good show. I am happy the students have good role models to follow.

Faculty Members

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Marketing for any business operating in today’s harsh business world isn’t easy. Getting the right campaign to the target market is a huge task. Hitting the nail on the head can be a massive gamble. Companies who use the services of marketing/advertising agencies most times are not in control of what the agencies produce. Somehow, companies even accept anything that the agency produces without contesting or even make suggestions to improve on the advertisement. It is sad when companies have to withdraw ads that offend a segment of the target market even sometimes offending the society. Advertisements are not only produced for the intended market. Because they are viewed in the mass media, extending the reach of the ad, the advert may be offensive. Companies however have a huge role in ensuring that the ads that the company has on television, radio, print etc are comfortable and not offensive.

Recently, KGB a company that answers questions that they receive by text messaging released an ad that some people find offensive. Some even want the ad to be pulled. The ad portrays black females in a salon getting their hair done. A female talent in the ad asked the other ‘What kind of hair is this?’ The response of the hairstylists says natural. The discussion there continues with the quest to find out what natural hair means by sending a text message to KBG for the answer.

From the advertising agency and company’s point of view they have achieved their objectives. They produced an ad reflecting the company’s proposition (product), and they used talents which reflected in some way their intended target audience. Success huh?

But the issue is bigger than that. The issue is the portrayal of black people. Culturally, the black race is known for their sense of humour, survival, hardworking attitude, breaking the law etc. Generally in advertisements the black talent would always deliver that punch line of a joke, or be seen eating unhealthy foods like chicken (not that chicken is bad). There are both positive and negative images that are embedded in ads today. These images can be offending; some can be flattering while others can be motivating.

There is certainly nothing wrong with the advertisement of this company. People will find issue with the ad that most of the actors were black. Normally, companies with a huge target market would show diversity in the ad to show that all races accept their product. This advertisement borderlines offensive because it appears to be saying that only black people wear weaves and emphasizes the fact that they cannot explain where it comes from. The believe that black people wear the most weaves may be a lie, but this ad does not make it appealing.

But how did we get here? There are issues within the black community and it is sad that this company is highlighting that flaw to sell their brand. Majority of people believe that black people use weave as a way to change who they really are. They use all the hair products and chemicals to look like someone else. Weaves do compliment and enhance a woman’s features. There is nothing wrong with wearing a weave. There might be a problem when weave identifies your race.

Breaking News

Now this piece will shock some people, especially black folks and some whites. My opinion even shocked me. So before we do anything, let us get the facts.

Background

h_l_gates_jr_medHenry Louis Gates is a competent scholar and primarily known for his work at Harvard University and the fact that he is black. He is all over the media, hosting shows, commenting on issues, even being listed in the Time Magazine among the 25 most influential Americans. This guy is huge at 58 years. At the time of this incident he was on a trip from China where he is filming a documentary.

So, Gates arrives at his rental home in a limo and attempts to open his door. The key turns the lock but doesn’t open the door, it is jammed. There are conflicting reports here, some say he had a key others he didn’t. It doesn’t matter. Apparently this wasn’t the first time. To solve the issue he heads to the back of the home and enters through the door turning off his house alarm system. He then heads to the front door and with the help of his driver they get the door open. In getting the door open, the driver has to wedge his shoulder in the door as is he is trying to force entry to get in. Meanwhile, a passerby who knows there have been increases in break-ins in the area calls the police and mentions what is taking place. At this time Gates is on the phone reporting this matter to the managers of the home.

In no time, American style, police shows up.

Sgt. James Crowley

Sgt. James Crowley

Now, if I were Gates, I would be so nervous police shows up at my house. I am innocent this is my home. After hearing what the police is there for I would be eager to explain the situation, gently not causing any alarm. I haven’t done anything wrong.

No, Mr. Harvard goes in a tirade, yelling and accusing the police officer Sgt. James Crowley of racial bias. The officer recognizes what he is dealing with and asks for identification. Gates said “No, I will not.” Of course, every officer should know his face; he is a diva professor at Harvard. How could you not know who you are talking to?

Gates goes on to say ‘this is what happens to black men in America.’ Now this situation is getting out of hand. Racial issues are brought up. The officer attempts to calm Gates down to no avail. Gates heats up declaring to the officer ‘You don’t know who you’re messing with”. At no point in the official report does it say the officer is rude, uncouth, harsh, or disrespectful to Gates. The report details the vicious verbal attack of Gates against this law enforcement officer.

So he is locked up, mug shot all over the internet, charges dropped later and we all have our opinions.

Now an officer is charged with the duty to serve and to protect. An honest call was made to the dispatcher about a possibly break-in. This officer within his limits has to ensure that this is not a criminal in a home. He must also use his judgement. I would not want to imagine what would happen to this officer if he allowed a thief to get away. He would have looked silly.

Henry Louis Gates is the real racist in this matter. He is battling his own issues of being black. He is the first to draw the racist card and does so in a violent way, having a tantrum with the officer, even though he is innocent. Gates is also wrong for not willingly identifying himself. Dude, you are INNOCENT, YOU ARE IN YOUR HOME. Gates was not arrested for showing proof he lived at the house. I would think that he was arrested on disorderly conduct because of his nasty attitude and racial comments. That is the real issue. His hissy fit gave him an arrest although the police may have been in the wrong. By the way, the police actions are consistent with his traning.

Henry Gates should be ashamed of himself. This matter could have been handled by him much better. But in his quest to stand up for every black man in America, and sell more books he now looks stupid. Of course for many, this is racial profiling. White police officers should not accost black men, because all of a sudden you will be accused of being a racist. Black people should stand up and blame themselves for packaging themselves wrong. They have a terrible history of breaking the law and being cheeky.

Barack Obama was then asked recently in his press conference about his thoughts on the issue. He didn’t minced words to call the police men of the area actions stupid clearly pandering on the thoughts of many black Americans who cry race. The president is wrong here. He normally is credited for his language and oratory skills; on this issue I do not think he handled it well.

Lesson here, cooperate with the police. It may safe you some PR work if your this popular.

Below is the Police Record of what happened.

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