Making Changes…ANNOUNCEMENT

After much thought and a bit of help in learning more of how the site works, I have decided to make some changes on the site to make for better and more cohesive interactions. I have changes the theme, added pages for each respective project and posted journal entries on related pages.

Journal entries have now been separated into posts for the Final Year Show and posts for the Final Year Seminar. Hope all this makes it a bit easier for you to browse the blog. Thank you for your continued support.

– blackafrique

Poetry in Jamaica: A Pastime or Career?

For some time in my college life I have wished to study poetry in Jamaica and how it can benefit the culture  of the country. I finally got to do that in my final year of study. I learned a lot about how persons in poetry see the art form but, admittedly, didn’t do enough to see how persons outside would view it. So, after my final year of study, I have decided to start the Beautiful Eccentric Project to raise awareness of poetry in the country to the youths as well as to ensure those in poetry have a means of earning an income.

My next installment in the project is the Social Experiment – where I will be allowing poets to speak on the events of the past year and what it means to them. I want to see how persons react to the pieces they will hear and, if possible, see if and how it changes people. Maybe not now, but as the country develops.

I hope this venture can grow in to something that sees an industry developing for poetry in Jamaica to more than what it already is now. Poetry is what helped keep this country together and I want to see that happen again.

New Conclusion

Growing up in a Christian family for twenty years tends to blur the view of the wider world. Even with a high school level exposure to religions of the world, they seem so close to current information, it becomes redundant to truly explore anything else. But then, the college environment reveals the truths that are otherwise tucked away from their intended audience.

In recent times, I have come to question the real cause of Jamaica’s ‘Social Retardation’ and that of black people in general. The answer: Christianity! Think about it. The only way the Europeans could get us to do their will was to teach us a tainted version of THEIR religion. Nothing was wrong with how Africans were living, it was just not pleasing to the Europeans and seen as uncivilized. But we know that don’t we. And that is what has led me to believe…well more like proved my belief of…the fact that Christianity is not a black religion.

What’s a black religion? Other than anything from Africa? I view it as a religion that uplifts and equates black people, keeping them in touch with their past to enhance their future. Christians discard the past to work towards a possible future. However, this is merely a theory. My opinion, if anything. After doing much research, I have decided to run an..experiment if you will. How would being part of an African religion change my view of myself and the world? Learning about it won’t be enough, so as much as possible I want to practice this religion and its rituals, gods, and all that it means to these people.

With the choice of this religion in the air, this venture may not begin very soon. But I hope to get the best of this experience.

I’m Back…It seems

This started out as an avenue for assignments for a particular class. Now, with the class long over and my mind in a better place, I feel I have use for this blog. Though I had the urge to just delete it, or render it inactive, I had this inkling of a feeling that this could still be used.

So here I am, blackafrique, ready to start. New posts coming soon.

New Year Kiss

I figure since it’s the new year, I’d say something.
Unlike many around the world I won’t be spending my new year with the one I love. But I won’t waste it. Nor will I waste my new years kiss. Though it may not be on the first day, it will still be my first kiss. And that’s just how I want it.
So…to all those spending this night with someone they love and those spending it without, Happy New Year and may your resolutions be realised.

Integrity is a Business

This is not another assignment, nothing fancy, just the truth: It pains me to those older than me, those I should look up to – no matter the age difference – act like such childish criminals. If the decorum in the lecture (terrible and highly disruptive) wasn’t bad enough, stealing had to cap it all off.
But when you know who did the crime, it amounts to nothing if they don’t confess. Its not murder or rape or fraud; it’s a simple paper that doesn’t belong to you! And now the reputation of the WHOLE class is at risk because of two (maybe three or four) delinquents that either don’t want to confess or don’t want to seem like an ‘infama’ (informer). I didn’t care! I was the informer and I ratted the culprit out. But what about our lecturer and the guest that was brought in to speak? How do they now look at us as students, as people, as managers? Do they even see us as managers anymore?
This is the kind of thing that spills into your career. No matter how good you are at what you do, there will always be someone that will remember this and warn against you. For this simple little piece of paper you could be black listed. This is on your back for a long time and just like a lecturer and their student, trust will die.
As a matter of fact, who steals a personalized object!? It is too much like the previous owner and there is almost no way to get rid of all the personalized data present. Most of all, you won’t need what they have!
Patients has worn thin with these persons and they have now lost the trust of their colleagues as well. Personally, they are dead. They have no place my life until and unless a lecturer gives same….

Action Expressed Through Art

Who would think that art – yes art – could affect out national identity? Think about it. Really. If art reflects what’s happening in society, how does society respond? We can either be positive or negative about it. But that depends on how we see ourselves prior to experiencing a piece of art. That brings me to a formula from the most notable Rex Nettleford; where he says that external conception with internal perception equates to identity.

 

And now…I’ve lost you. All that means is that what society sees you as and how you see yourself is developed into who you are individually.

Still lost? How about this: on the topic of race; if a black man sees himself as a hooligan that is uneducated and is always getting in trouble he will then look at himself, his terrible grades and feel as if he is the statistic from which he can never escape. But there are many black people in Jamaica so we will use instead an inner-city youth. He is poor and can’t afford school and is seen as someone that will amount to nothing. He then sees a play or independent film about an inner-city youth, much like himself, who manages to make it through the system and becomes a role model for those in his community. His perceptions about his race changes and so too will his impact on society’s view of him.

 

In the same way art can be positive, it can be negative and it can be a direct reflection of what is in society. The violent crime in Jamaica is one concern that many have. Those in the music industry either use their music to reach out and give hope; or use it to become the voice of the people. Those ‘voices’, instead of speaking on the behalf of their target audience, mimic the thoughts of the murderers and other criminals. Now this can become society’s wake-up call or a youth’s call to crime. He sees himself as a hopeless

youth with no other alternative but crime and society sees him as a statistic.

But in the art world, change is always sought. The depictions of death and destruction by the hand of a criminal are but a few ways an artist gets his perception out there. There is too, the reasoning behind the act; forcing people to think about how they treat each person they meet from a bad background. Yet the corporate world refuses to hire someone from a poorer lifestyle.

It’s starting to feel like an essay, isn’t it? Ok, let’s talk about culture, dance and how they relate to our national identity.

Now, anyone knowing about the slave trade knows that Jamaica is one of the many countries with an abundance of African settlers. In fact, it may be the most African-dominated islands in the Caribbean. All this means is that there is a rich African-ness among the people. Our natural instinct in dancing is to be close to our dance partner and engage in a grinding motion of some sort. It looks sexual, yes, but one must understand that dancing in Africa is more of a seduction ritual than mere entertainment. Still, it is our first instinctive gesture. Many learned persons, with high income and influential positions, argue that the dances done are vulgar and infect the mind with sexual thoughts. Now we could touch on the religious aspect of this disagreement, but that would be taking it too far. Still Jamaica is a Christian-dominated country and the people always aspire to be God-like. So the views will not be far off. Because we have been forced to believe a slower, more distant way of dancing is acceptable, we have become unconscious of the rhythms living in our hearts.

 

 

 

 

Art speaks to society. There is no person in the world that does not appreciate any form of art and every form of art is beautiful to someone. So how, then, does society speak to art?

Through Action!