Mark Your Calendar: Rex Speaks (2/17/2010)


Many outside the Caribbean may not understand the impact of Prof. Rex Nettleford's scholarship on Jamaican/Caribbean culture. Therefore, on February 17, 2010, I will be publishing a speech that Professor Nettleford gave on the First Annual Arts Festival at Broward Community College (2003).

Known for his deeply insightful ruminations on just about every aspect of Caribbean life, Prof. Nettleford spoke on cultural diversity and its impact on the political and economic development in the Caribbean basin.

The speech was recorded and edited by Olivier Stephenson.

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That's the official statement. Rex Nettleford was a scholar, trade unionist, dancer--and much more. He embodied an elegance that always urged his audience to reach beyond the world of the senses toward an aesthetic that was grounded in in the mind, body, and spirit of our people.

Rex Nettleford understood and revealed our deepest contradictions: our bravado and our modesty; savagery and gentleness; the expansiveness of our hearts and mean-spirited-ness of our minds.

He challenged us to love ourselves, our artists, our religions--everything about us that made us beautiful, even as we shed those parts of ourselves that were deformed and disfigured by slavery and colonialism. And we believed him.

For whenever he appeared in public, he was always an image of dignity, of compassion, of strength, who as a guardian of our mythologies and ways of the folk,  encouraged us to discover individually that terrifying space between tradition and the unknown--whose body guided by his remarkable intellect became a metaphor of our creative genius.



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Here are a few of the books written by Rex Nettleford:

Mirror Mirror: Identity, Race, and Protest in Jamaica (1970), Caribbean Cultural Identity (1978), Dance Jamaica: Cultural Definition and Artistic Discovery (1985), Inward Stretch, Outward Reach: A Voice from the Caribbean (1993), and (with Philip Sherlock) The University of the West Indies: A Caribbean Response to the Challenge of Change (1990); and editor of Manley and the New Jamaica (1971), Jamaica In Independence: Essays on the Early Years (1989), and Race, Discourse, and the Origin of the Americas (1995), as well as of Caribbean Quarterly, the University of the West Indies journal of cultural studies.

Source: Active Voice





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