September 7, 2007

Happy Birthday, Miss Lou--2007

Miss LouHere is the link post that I did last year about Miss Lou.

Of course, we'll be hosting a Miss Lou celebration later today and if tonight's show is like last year's, there will probably be a few stories about the performer's connection to Miss Lou. I never met Miss Lou, but my connection with her goes back to Jamaica's Festival Competition. I recited one of her poems and I won a gold medal in speech. Reciting Miss Lou's poems gave me the confidence to speak in public and I've never forgotten that.

I tell this story as a cautionary tale when school officials talk about cutting funds for the arts--as if the arts are unnecessary and do not feed people. Artists and writers provide food for many people who have made a living reciting Miss Lou's poems or singing Bob Marley's songs. Think about how many singers, good and bad, that Marley is feeding right now. Think about how many young poets and writers that Miss Lou inspired to write in the language that when everything falls away, they cry in.

What language do you cry in? What language gives you comfort when you cry?

In Jamaica, we always have Marley singing, "No, Woman, Nuh Cry." But more importantly, there is always Miss Lou's voice, brimming with sunlight, singing "Evening Time" and her comforting laugh and adieu, "Walk good, yuh hear!"



N'Drea ~ the Storyteller said...

The only connection I have with Miss Lou is that I grew up watching 'Ring Ding', as well as that programme she did with Mas' Rannie. That said, I've given away my age :)

However, I have much respect for this fine daughter of the Jamaican soil. She has elevated Jamaican Creole to such heights, that even its worst critics have no choice but to perhaps, grudgingly give it the respect that is due, because of her creative use of it in her poetry.

She has inspired me to use it in my own writings. I'm not a published author - yet - but it will certainly hold a featured place in any future works.

Miss Lou may have passed on, but her works and their message still live on.

BTW, I'm glad that I came across your blog, because I'm keen on meeting Jamaican and Caribbean writers, and learning more about the art of writing.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Give thanks Sister n'drea & Welcome.

Yes, Miss Lou was an inspiration and what some of my "intellectual" friends seem to forget is how much the people LOVED her. People saw themselves in Miss Lou and they felt proud every time she was onstage and doing her thing.


Unknown said...

I've heard about her birthday, but politics still overshadows her birthday, even though it's all over. Sad indeed.

Anonymous said...

Happy B'day Miss Lou, she definitely had a great presence and spirit.

Great post.

- Lazy Jamaica

Geoffrey Philp said...

Give thanks for the comment, Leon & welcome, Lazy Jamaican!

We had a great time at the celebration last night and as soon as I get some links to the event, I will post some pics.


david santos said...

Thanks for posring, Geoffrey!
Very good hork.
Have a good weekend

Geoffrey Philp said...

You, too, David!