Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson, one top-a-top Jamaican graphic artist, im draw one beautiful picture fi represent Alpha: one lickle yute a blow im horn. An yu can see seh di pikni feel im owna strength an know im power di way im a hold di horn. / Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson, wan tap-a-tap Jamiekan grafik aatis, im jraa wan byuutiful pikcha fi riprizent Alpha: wan likl yuut a bluo im aan. An yu kyahn si se di pikni fiil im uona chrent an nuo im powa di wie im a uol di aan. / Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson, a first-class Jamaican graphic artist, drew a beautiful picture to represent Alpha: a young man blowing his horn. You see pride and passion in his posture.
"My designs are quite varied, depending on the poster type and whether it is political or cultural, regional or international. I tend to lend a voice to issues which I feel passionate about, such as injustice against indigenous people, environmental exploitation and poverty."
So who’s in charge of the rompin’ shop? In the case of Shabba Ranks and Lady Saw it’s a clear draw. And, not so surprisingly, even the frontrunners of the reggae revival are singing rompin’ shop songs . . . . Unlike Lady Saw who performs slackness, Jah9 performs innocence.
Yu nuo di big prablem wid Jamieka? Unu ches tuu ai; an unu yai tuu big. / Yu know di big problem wid Jamaica? Unu chest too high; an unu yai too big. / You know what’s Jamaica’s big problem? You all are much too vain and greedy.
Native speakers of English are often not hooked on ‘correctness’ in the way that up-tight, second-language learners often are. They actually experiment with their mother tongue, making it do all sorts of interesting things. Words like ‘bling’ and ‘diss’ have found their way into English not just as slang, but as ‘respectable’ new vocabulary, heard on the BBC.
Asserting national identity in Europe remains a huge issue. Citizens carefully draw lines that separate insiders and outsiders. So why are Germans hugging up Jamaican culture?
Long ago, Marcus Garvey gave us the formula for our greatness: "God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement".
Professor Emeritus Edward Baugh has earned an international reputation as an authority on Anglophone Caribbean poetry in general and on the work of Derek Walcott in particular.
"Four hundred years an de same bucky maasa bizniz. An black inferiority, an brown superiority rule dis lickle black country here fe a long [t]imes. Well I an I come wid Earthquake, Lightnin an Tunda to break down dese barriers of oppression an drive away transgression and rule equality between humble black people."