“Media offers the means and material of an imagined community…Motion pictures coming out of Jamaica…convey content as they catalyze an imagined family reunion. ” – Terri Francis
This week, Shadow and Act revives IU professor Terri Francis’s earlier essay, “Slow Jam, Experiencing Media as Love Letter in Jamaica or What I thought of the ‘One People’ Documentary.” Francis writes:
On Jamaica’s Independence Day 3 years ago, I joined a global Kingston audience to participate in the country’s golden celebrations at the National Stadium but I began the day reading Dr. Carolyn Cooper’s essay “Who is Jamaica?” in The New York Times. There she argues that the nation’s 50-year old motto “Out of Many, One People” seems progressive but actually “marginalizes the nation’s black majority by asserting that the idealized face of the Jamaican nation is multiracial” (See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/opinion/who-is-jamaica.html?_r=1; Read an expanded version of the piece here http://carolynjoycooper.wordpress.com/). I re-read a little bit of Dr. Deborah Thomas’s Modern Blackness in which she explains how the motto “brackets” blackness, as suggested by the title of her book’s introduction “Out of Many, One (Black) People” (http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=7797). One motto, many significant critiques.
Not just on Independence, but going back over the week to Emancipation Day on August 1, I reflected on the many meanings of blackness, of freedom, and of independence I passed through as I moved from town to country, neighborhood to neighborhood, household to household during my research visit to Jamaica. I came here to work on my manuscript, “Sounding the Nation: Jamaican Film History, 1900-1972” so I’m asking myself what is cinema? What is cinema in Jamaica?
You can find the full essay at this Shadow & Act link: http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/slow-jam-experiencing-media-as-love-letter-in-jamaica-or-what-i-thought-of-the-onepeople-documentary-20150602