By Gerald V. Paul
Then: Caribbean icon Dr. Rex Nettleford told a distinguished gathering of some of the best Black minds at a Policy Conference in Ottawa that he was treated with disrespect and racism at the border on his way to speak at the event. Eyes documented the injustice.
(Eyes endured the same “medicine” at Pearson International Airport on returning to Canada after covering The Caribbean in the 21st Century Conference at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, Jamaica.)
Now: As Jamaica’s Carole Beckford, manager, Creative Industries, and film commissioner, JAMPRO, arrived at Person International Airport on her first visit – having travelled to numerous countries – she was warmly greeted with “What took you so long?” And the times they are a-changing?
Anyway, thanks Denise of Jones and Jones Productions for the invitation to last Monday’s cocktail reception for Beckford and the launch of Tribute to Rex – as in Dr. Nettleford – a National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica performance, on Nov. 4 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front Str. E.
It’s NDTC’s 52nd season at Sony Centre, under the auspices of Seth George Ramocan, Jamaica’s Consul-General to Toronto, in association with Group Arts Jam and supported by the creative committee.
Eyesers, the one-performance-only show by the dynamic NDTC “makes a long awaited return to Toronto. “Please join us in welcoming the NDTC and pay tribute to co-founder and artistic director the late Rex Nettleford,” Ramocan told Eyes.
It’s also about philanthropy: two students, selected from schools across Jamaica will be given the opportunity to attend Jamaica School of Dance from funds raised from this event.
Jamaica-born Garnett Manning, founder and executive director of the Garnett Manning Youth and Leadership Foundation (GMYLF), noted Nettleford was a Jamaican scholar, social critic, choreographer and vice-chancellor emeritus of the University of the West Indies. In 1962 Nettleford co-founded the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica.
Margaret Walker, senior consulting officer / consul trade and investment, JAMPRO, waxed poetic and sweet as a Jamaica cultural proponent as she revealed the NDTC is one of the most innovative dance theatre companies to have achieved world acclaim in the last half century. “It blends the Afrocentric and Eurocentric music, dance and traditions, both modern and classic ballet forms.”
Beckford noted the Jamaica Film Commission provides comprehensive support services, including locations advice and assistance; acquisition of film licences; work permits; general consumption tax production waivers; duty waiver on temporary import of equipment; facilitation of investment in Jamaican productions and export of Jamaican audio-visual content.
Ah! Yes, Jamaica, Land We Love, strikes a pose: come take yuh best shot. Come to Jamaica and … Get All Right! As fuh de Eyes guy? It’s a lived experience, a joy working as a journalist in Jamaica.
So Eyesers, let’s support this worthy cause and purchase tickets on line at Ticket Master or from Sony Centre box office 1-855-872-7669. For more information, please call Jones and Jones Productions Ltd. at 905-452-1911.