1 | Women Trailblazers
4 | Irie Diary
Meet three outstanding Jamaican women, former first lady Beverly Manley and poets Cherry Natural and Stacyann Chin.
An island girl living in Norway, the land of the midnight sun?
5 | Insight on Immigration
6 | Arts & Entertainment Interviews with Reggae greats of many genres.
This month Attorney Chester G. McLeod explains the government changes that have taken place since 9/11 and have lead to an increase in deportation.
Sheryl Lee Ralph and her exciting Cinema Inna Yard.
8 | Carifete
10 | Yardies Deh ‘Bout
Chicago’s Annual Carifete Festival heats up the summer streets with the excitement of calypso, steel pan and elaborate masquerade costumes.
Yvonne Brown is SomeoneYou Should Know.
9 | Choreographing a Nation
Insight on the Rastafarian faith from writer Imani Kali-Nyah.
The story of 1950s Folk Dance revolutionary Ivy Baxter and her impact on Jamaican dance-theatre.
11 | Mek Wi Talk
10 | Tings a Gwann
11 | World Insight
Mr. Errol Hewitt shares his viewpoint on leadership.
13 | Mi Luv Patios
12 | Books
Jamaica-speak for the computer age.
Author Don Bruns shares insight about his novel Jamaica Blue.
12 | Caribbean Beauty Abounds Miss Jamaican World and Miss Jamaican Universe. What we are about…
Writing for Jamaican Diaspora ...
Jamaican Diaspora is a quarterly magazine. Think of our readers as people who like to experience and learn about the Caribbean culture. We encourage our readers to consider something new that is refreshing. It may be just be what you’re looking for and even much more.
Jamaican Diaspora contains articles from our advertisers as well as contributing writers. The articles we publish are written to share knowledge about heath, education, the environment and to instill cultural pride. If you are interested in sharing your expertise or knowledge about a particular subject matter, please contact us.
Janice K. Maxwell, Editor in Chief Karen S. Straka, Art Director & Senior Editor Design by Breadfruit Productions, www.BreadfruitProductions.com
How to place an ad ...
Jamaican Diaspora is a Publication of JK Productions
If you would like to advertise, please contact: JamaicanDiaspora@yahoo.com. We will advertise you affairs; knowing who you are and what you’re planning prevents us from scheduling events on the same date. Remember-unity is strength and knowledge is power.
JAMAICAN DISAPORA is dedicated to Jamaicans,the Caribbean community and all progressive people.The Caribbean is a fusion of Europe , Asian and African cultures.This eclectic mix has produced salsa,calypso and reggae just to name a few music styles. Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae and ska music – and “the rock”,as it is nicknamed by many, has made an international impact on every continent. Today’s hip hop music was in part due to Jamaican born Kool Herc, who moved to Bronx NY as a teenager. Nevertheless, music is not the only arena to have a Caribbean influence – the time has come to explore these avenues of influence. A portion of the magazine’s revenue is donated to the Jamaican American Club, a not for profit organization interested in health,education,environment and cultural pride. If you have a business,creative ideas or anything vital for the community’s well being, please contact us. One love and may peace be with you always. – Janice K.Maxwel,Editor in Chief
Fall 2004 JAMAICAN DIASPORA
Meet three outsta ndi ng women th at exemplify diver sity. These tra i l bla zers chose to defi ne themse lves rather than con form to norms th at were created by someone else. Their inde p endent spi rit va li d ates the Ja m a i can motto: “Out of many, one people” .
When did you begin your cur rent endeavor?
Thirteen years ago when Anthony Abrahams, a former Minister in the JLP Administration of the 1980’s asked me to join him on air for the week-day morning discussion program, The Breakfast Club. During program we telephone experts from all over the world to discuss issues of relevance to our audience. Why should Caribbean women participate in events like the International Gender Conference?
Caribbean Women should participate because as long as one gender is discriminated against we will not have a level playing field for development. The liberation of women is tantamount to the liberation of a country.
What issues are women in Jamaica and the Caribbean confronting?
of women and children. She travels extensively and has a vision to
Issues of Sexism abound. For example, in the age group 17 to 24 twice as many women as men are unemployed. In instances of domestic violence when women begin to assert themselves,the result is more battering from their male counterparts. Finally, there is need for more gender aware women on Private Sector Boards and in our Parliament and for more female Cabinet Ministers in charge of traditional male Ministries – Ministries to do with Finance, Development and the Economy generally.
transform Caribbean people wherever they are. She stresses the need
How can communities influence these trends?
for Jamaicans at home and abroad to unite in investing in Jamaica and
Communities will influence these trends to the extent that they are aware.This building of awareness is a continuous process. As women and men see the opportunities that open up for them because of gender equity and equality they will become partners in this struggle.
ecturer, international Gender Consultant, Political Scientist and Broadcaster, Beverly Anderson Manley was first lady of Jamaica in the 1970’s. She advocates for the oppressed and works tirelessly on behalf
together create abundance and prosperity in our great country. She
has two children from her marriage with Michael Manley, Natasha, a Graduate of the University of Edinburgh and Events Planner in London; and David Graduate of London University and a Marketer in London.
More Trailblazing Jamaican Women Merlene Ottey – top female athlete, winner in the Olympics & Commonwealth Games.
Lady Bustamante – widow of Alexander Bustamante, in Jamaican politics since 1930s.
Leonie Forbes – “Miss Lee”, Jamaica's First Lady of Theatre & Film,garnered national and international recognition
Louise Bennett-Coverly – Jamaica's foremost folklorist & writer, performed in patios and pioneered its acceptance.
Amy Jacques Garvey – wife of Marcus Garvey, helped spread his philosophy of black liberation.
Captain Maria Z adie - Modern day Amelia Earhart,Air Jamaica's first female pilot reached the captain in 1996. JAMAICAN DIASPORA Fall 2004 | 1
How can the Caribbean islands remain viable?
The process for Caribbean integration is necessarily a slow one. As a region we are separated by the Caribbean Sea and have largely been socialized into fragmentation rather than unity. Building this integration process from the bottom up, (e.g. Caribbean working class persons trading across the region as they do now);and from the top down (e.g. CARICOM and the CSME) will result in the viability of the region,bearing in mind that in a globalized world, strong regional blocks assume enormous importance.
When you were Jamaica’s First Lady, you had a cameo role in the movie “The Harder They Come” was that your first film experience? What are your feelings about the impact of that film?
“The Harder They Come” was not my first film experience. I was trained in film production and my major activities were behind the camera.The issues of gender; race and social class presented in that movie still exist in Jamaica and other Third World Countries today. Perry Henzell’s film is awesome because it depicts these issues in a way that resonates with whoever is watching the movie.
In your poem “Live”there is a line that says “Move with the rhythm of the universe and receive the gift of creativity.” Do you consider dub poetry your gift?
Once you are in tune with what is supposed to be yours,it will manifest. My outlet for the arts is through the spoken word, which is used to uplift ones mind.I am a very natural person with my hair and clothing and the spoken word is an extension of that. Did you ever imagine that Rastafarians would have brought such recognition to Jamaican culture worldwide?
arica A. Wedderburn aka Cherry Natural is one of Jamaica’s leading
Marley being an ambassador for reggae music I always knew.We are a very diverse community and our voices had to be heard.
female poets and women’s rights activist. She is also a motivational
Live – by Cherry Natural
speaker, artist, writer, martial arts instructor, and Black Belt in
Meet life on its own terms.
Modern Arnis. In 1989 she published her first book of poetry, Come
Mek Weh Reason. She participated in the First International Dub Poetry Festival in Toronto and was nominated JAMI Award’s best
female dub poet three years in a row. She appeared with Rita Marley
Move with the rhythm of the universe and receive the gift of creativity. Build harmony within.
and other women reggae artists on the album Natty Queen Divas.
Be that candle light to clear the pathway into the future.
She represented Jamaica in the prestigious “Island Voices” writers
You are the world.
exchange program in England and was chosen to represent the entire
You can make the change.
Is there a difference between dub poetry and def poetry?
I feel it’s a little different in the rhythm of the voice. A lot of your poems are in patios,is that to authenticate the Jamaican experience?
Yes,it’s my way of documenting the culture.
Bless each moment and touch each life with you essence. Join Mother Nature and sing song with melodious harmony. Use word magic to create lyrics to heal mankind soul. Dew drops, tear drops and rain drops will sooth the hurt of each broken heart.
As a dub poet, is it better to read poems or listen to a live performance?
Let pain be the ladder on which you climb to reach for your strength.
It’s better to perform live – the audiences remember the experience longer.
Approach tomorrow with a brand new hope, and let the life within you live as if you have never lived.
What value do you place on dub poetry in particular and the arts in general?
Light a candle with your love.
A great value, all cultures have some form of art;it is a way to preserve ones identity. An artist will experiment in various mediums to express and learn, such as creating music, writing or even acting. 2 |
Fall 2004 JAMAICAN DIASPORA
Photos of Ms. Natural Courtesy of Howard D.M.Lewis, Dannette Zaua and John Galuska
What messages do you send with your poetry?
When I place my pen to a page or my mouth to a microphone I seek to present parts of a self I see as absent when I look at art, pop culture and politics in the canon of historical reference. Did you “come out”in the U.S.or Jamaica?
In Jamaica.It was one of the life-changing experiences of my life. I think coming out under those conditions made me an activist. Jamaica’s mainstream culture is ultra-conservative, was there opposition to your sexual preference?
taceyann Chin has been a working artist and practicing poet since 1998. She has won many honors including the Chicago People of Color Slam, the Lambda Poetry Slam, Slam This, WORD: The First Slam for Television and the American Amazon Slam title in Denmark. Denmark so loved this vibrant writer on that her story and works graced the cover of the national newspaper as well as the controversial and spicy Ekstra Bladet. Her poems have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post and Pittsburgh Daily and were featured on 60 Minutes. A film about her, Stacyann Chin was shown in theaters in Denmark and on Danish National Television. Between the Lines explores the notion of being a Jamaican writer of Asian and African descent.
Yes,so much so that I decided it was safer to move to America. I have lived here as an out lesbian since.
Haiku For My Mother by Stacyann Chin Chinaman left her black child in her flat belly rockstone in her heart In one of your poems, you mentioned the countries rejection of you; nevertheless, you still write about “yard”and you still visit.What is the magic about Jamaica that creates this bond to the island?
It is important;for within the context of visibility, people who identify as Jamaicans are at cross purposes with some of the traditions,to visit the island,to speak about the Jamaica that is their reality- only then can the faith of the new Jamaica be sculpted to reflect the diversity of heritage that has always and continues to define the place from which Marcus Garvey, Merlene Ottey, Bob Marley, Madge Sinclair and Lorna Goodinson sprung.
You have stated that your light skin and private school upbringing, provided certain privileges in Jamaica.Is “shadism”still an issue for Jamaica?
Where will you tour this year?
Yes,up until the time I last visited,up until the time I last spoke to a person who lives there, people still prefer the attributes that are associated with being of mixed race, and those most highly prized are associated with whiteness.
Wherever the words take me, I am in Australia now, I have Stockholm and London and Honolulu and Parts of Africa on the agenda. Jamaica will see me this year and of course, all across America,there are places to scream and sing and dance and…
Do you think it’s a gender related issue?”
I suspect that at its heart, race, class and heterosexism all meet to produce a series of myths that keep certain “folks” in one place and another group in another place.The myth of the large, dark skinned Negro was perpetuated to warrant the brutality used to “protect” the white woman’s virtue.The converse is equally true – “Helen” for whom all of “Troy” was sent to war had to be at a disadvantage – helpless, pale and slight. Do your works reflect the Asian of your Jamaican heritage?
Yes and No. I exist as a Black Phenotype in America.Any privilege that being half Chinese allowed in Jamaica has shifted in America. Here the one-drop rule is evident.A little Black makes you Black – little Asian mixed in makes you not much of anything outside of Black. I think it is safe to say I am informed by my Asian-ness,it colors my Blackness,and gives me license to explore what it really means to be a creature of mixed heritage. Visit:www.stacyannchin.com
JAMAICAN DIASPORA Fall 2004 | 3
A YARDY IN NORWAY?
IRIE DIARY and Photos Courtesy of ShellyWeston Slog
Most Norwegians are Protestant.The government is a democracy, with a parliament and Prime Minister. Their royal family are very down to earth and live more or less normally and for that they are much respected. Crime in Norway is very low. When a policeman was murdered recently it was a big thing as he was only the seventh policeman to be killed Most people who have heard of Norway think of Oslo, it’s capital city, or Lillehammer, here since World War II.There is no death penalty where the 1994 Winter Olympics were held. It was there that Jamaica's four-man nor life sentence – the maximum time for any crime bobsled team finished 14th, (ahead the United States, France, Russia and Italy), and is 21 years. their two-man sled beat the Swedish national champions, coming in 10th place. Last year Norway was named third best country in the world for women with children to live (behind Coincidentally, their team coach is from Norway. So why did this Yardie move to Norway? My name is ShelleyWeston Skog, I’m 27 years Sweden and Denmark) and this year, it is ranked the old.I grew up in a little district called Boston (ever heard of Boston Jerked Pork?),in best country overall.The state is very supportive of Portland,about 9 miles from Port Antonio. After finishing school,I went to work, but mothers and their children. Prenatal and maternity was never satisfied – as I had always wanted to travel I applied to several cruise lines care are free. Children under twelve receive free and soon was working in the Purser’s department on Norwegian Cruise Lines. The medical check ups and vaccinations – even dental cruise ship was one of the best experiences of my life – I have been blessed to have care is free for children. Money is provided to travelled to over 48 countries and met amazing people from all over the world, but purchase cribs, clothes, strollers and so on. Monetary assistance is provided for children through most importantly, I met my husband,Øyvind, who was an engineer on board. school age and education is free through highschool. We were married in Port Antonio, Jamaica (of course) in an excellent ceremony.Two months later I was off to Norway. Øyvind and I now have a son,Aleksander, who is 6 While there are downsides to living in Norway – months old. We settled in Bodø,in northern Norway – translation: very cold winters, winters are really cold,summers short,high income midnight sun in the summers,and almost total darkness in the winter. But Bodø is a tax is unbelievably high, and I can’t find a hair salon that can do my hair – life is much easier here than it nice city, and has everything you want and need,without being too big. would have been for us in Jamaica,which is very sad I’ve met many people from different countries here – Turkey, the Philippines, for me. Jamaica can be such a wonderful place. I miss Thailand, the Ukraine, Russia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, England, Algeria, Burundi, the island, but am very well taken care of by my Brazil, Romania, Yugoslavia, and more. Unfortunately, I haven’t met anyone from loving husband, and this remarkable, beautiful Jamaica,or even the Caribbean. country, and for that I am very grateful. It happens every time – when I’m asked "Where are you from?" and I say Jamaica, I get the same response: "Ooh, Jamaica, it’s so beautiful there", and then in the same breath: "Why on earth would you choose to live here in Norway then?" It’s a simple enough answer I guess, My wonderful husband is Norwegian and we decided to live here. Well, actually, it was I more than him who wanted to live here. He would have loved to live in Jamaica, but I wanted to try something different, and we both knew that it would be easier for us start out in life here.
Fall 2004 JAMAICAN DIASPORA
INSIGHT ON IMMIGRATION Issues surrounding immigration are confusing and complex –
This week our contributor is esteemed attorney Chester G. McLeod
compounded by the climate in today’s world. Jamaican Diaspora
whose areas of expertise include: Criminal Law, Family Law and
recognizes the importance of staying knowledgeable about
Immigration Law. Mr. McLeod was born in Manchester, Jamaica,
immigration policies and issues. In the words of Marcus Garvey, “In
attended Chicago State University, received his law degree from
wisdom they shall ever grow*.” In an effort to help our readers gain
Southern Illinois University, became a member of the bar in 1995 and
knowledge on this important subject we present a series on
practices law in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
immigration issues with the help of contributing experts.
Next Issue: Obtaining a Visa by Attorney Marlin Kirby
Reorganization Leads to More Deportation of Aliens After 9/11 the United States government reorganized twenty-two federal agencies under the Homeland Security Act (HSA). The newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the agency that oversees these agencies. One of the main missions of the DHS is to prevent terrorist attacks and it is responsible for coordination with other federal agencies and state and local law enforcement agencies. Even before the Homeland Security Act was passed,the USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) law was passed to provide federal agencies greater authority to track and intercept communications of suspected terrorists or organizations affiliated with terrorists. It also allows the President and the Department of Justice, to designate any organization or individual a terrorist and freeze their assets and provides stricter regulations for entry by aliens into the U.S. In March 2003 the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) became obsolete and was divided into three bureaus.The largest is the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). It processes applications for citizenship, administers the Visa program and provides services for new residents and citizens.The remaining bureaus are the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP). The agency in charge of deporting a resident alien is the BICE.The average Caribbean person has definitely felt the sweeping changes throughout the world,especially in the U.S.since September 2001. In April 2003, in the case of INS v. Hyung Joon Kim, the Supreme Court ruled that a permanent legal resident, convicted of a crime, may be held in jail without bail prior to deportation – even if the INS has not determined that the legal resident poses a danger to society or is a flight risk.Mr. Kim was born in South Korea,entered the U.S. in 1984 at six and became a permanent resident in 1986. In 1996, he was convicted of first-degree burglary, and was convicted of a second crime in 1997. Based on Mr. Kim’s convictions, the INS charged him with being deportable and detained him pending his removal hearing. An appellate court ruled that Mr. Kim should not be held without bail because the INS did not provide sufficient justification for a “no-bail” detention. The Supreme Court reversed the appellate court’s decision and ruled in favor of Mr. Kim’s detention, reasoning that Congress specifically gave the Attorney General the authority to take into custody any alien who is removable from the United States because he or she has *From his poem “Those Who Know”,Selections from the Poetic Meditations of Marcus Garvey (1927)
been convicted of one a specified set of crimes. The Court also reasoned “that one the major cause of the INS’ failure to remove deportable criminal aliens was the agency’s failure to detain those aliens during their deportation proceedings. It is clear from this case that the government will be allowed to suppress an individual’s rights in order to deport criminal aliens. The Supreme Court based its ruling on findings including that confinement of criminal aliens alone cost $724 million in 1990 and that at 25% of all federal prisoners, criminal aliens are the fastest growing segment of the federal prison population. They reasoned, “that the INS could not even identify most deportable aliens, much less locate them and remove them from the country”and added that deported criminal aliens reenter the country illegally in great numbers. The Supreme Court has basically said that the U.S. needs tougher laws against aliens who have committed crimes, even if they have been permanent residents for many years. Most people of Caribbean decent know someone who has been deported. One of the most important benefits of becoming a citizen is that a naturalized citizen cannot be deported,unless the government finds information that was not known when the person became a citizen or that lied on their application. Becoming a citizen is easy and inexpensive if done correctly. This article cannot address all the implications of past conduct;therefore anyone who thinks they may have committed a bad act or crime in the past should consult with an immigration attorney before completing the application for naturalization. Certain offenses will have to be disclosed or may show up on your criminal record and could lead to deportation. Applicants for naturalization can be denied citizenship because of the following reasons: not filing income tax every year, not paying income taxes, voting (only citizens can vote), intentional failure to pay child support, and claiming to be a citizen to get a mortgage or other benefits. Basically, you have to be a person of good moral character to become a citizen. The qualifications and requirements vary with age, marriage status, and length of legal residency. If you understand English,are over 17, mentally competent, and have been a legal resident at least 5 years (3 years if you are continued on page 13
Contributing author Attorney Chester G. McLeod
JAMAICAN DIASPORA Fall 2004 | 5