A few months ago, Drake released a video for his single Find Your Love. The video drew a very "healthy" helping of criticism. Some liked it, many didn't. I wondered why Jamaicans licked out against it.
I realized then as I do now that it is a very unpleasant sensation when all your flaws are paraded in front of you, or maybe parodied in front of you. When I attended prep school for a year in St. Thomas, on my birthday, my classmates did a skit about me during my class party. I did not find it funny; the class laughed, but though I seemed to laugh too, I was intensely humiliated, angry and in my ten year old mind saying that "bad mind is active."
Is that how we all saw Drake's video? Did we say, these things in the video are all lies. A fight dem a fight we out. Jus true dem cyaa have we flavour.
Then inside the cerebrum, maybe - do they know? I thought we hid this. My skin crawling with shame.
"See what's in front of your face. Save me my fistful of tears."
Drake made the video. I saw the video and fell in love with the story, the words of the musical. In the midst of the danger, the grime, the "gullyness", the ugliness - he wanted to fight for her. Because he loved her. It didn't matter to me that tourists would be afraid of the Gully "Cat" (according to MTV's translation.)Because, even in hell on earth, beauty reigns.
The events of May-June are the worst I can remember as a young Jamaican. Gilbert is far away in my memories of urgency and worry. But this catastrophe which occurred...I couldn't go to work for a week because I work in the ghetto. Nor could I go to church. Nor could I leave my home really since it's in the old capital. I couldn't do a lot of things. And while all this was happening, I didn't and couldn't have given a damn whether tourists would still want to come. Because, sometimes "mothers", the issue goes beyond that.
Hell was definitely on earth, but beauty reigned. Because. I bled profusely for my country. What happened hurt me. And it surprised me - my pain. A lot of us younger folk don't concern ourselves with issues of nationhood and current affairs (read politics). We go to school/work and drink and party on weekends. Jamaica's heartache is too much to handle sometimes, plus we are too disillusioned to even believe we can make a change that will in itself, make a difference....As I stood in front of that television watching the police station engulfed in flames....I had to steady myself with a bit of furniture and try to contain my horror, dismay, "aghastness", sadness and the heart valve that had burst inside and was wailing O.M.G.
I felt good though, the next day. The country was still in chaos. But, I'd felt something. A powerful emotion, that made me horrified but almost propelled. I still cared about Jamaica/I still care about Jamaica. I want to help to make us better.
Drake's video which emphasized the power of one deggeh deggeh man and the darkness that accompanied this power has long stopped being the focus of conversation centred on Jamaica. Or has it? Are Jamaicans worldwide looking at it now and saying - Jah Know, mi shame....or, Jah Know, wi jus salt suh....or, It hurts, looking at this...or, I want to help...or...
We can't always please others you know. So, regardless of what foreigners think, we have to heal our scarred minds first before we can even try to deceive people that we are all about sun, sea and sand. So, what the outside thinks, cannot be the paramount concern in any reconstruction. It's time to stop being self-conscious; it's time to be self-assessing. We are worthy of love, but we are most worthy of love from ourselves. We have to love ourselves, this nation, and each other. We have to make this our priority before we try to get anyone else to fall in love with us.
It's time to stop sidestepping the issues. When our flaws are exposed, be ashamed. Be angry, if you want to. But don't be deluded and in denial. Otherwise, we'll become the laughing stock. The butt of jokes. Ending up on Ity and Fancy Cat's show.