Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Carolyn Cooper | Shabba Ranks, Peter Tosh an Miss Lou

Published:Sunday | October 23, 2016 | 12:00 AM

 

CHAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

 

 

Last week Monday, Shabba Ranks step up fi get fi im national honour a King's House. Wednesday, Peter Tosh museum open inna New Kingston. An Thursday, Miss Lou collection launch down a National Library. Big tings a gwaahn.

Rexton 'Shabba Ranks' Gordon get fi im OD fi "invaluable contribution to Jamaican music locally and internationally". Dis ya OD a 'Order of Distinction'. A no overdose a drugs. Shabba OD a fi overdose a liriks: 'Trailerload'.

Mi done know seh plenty badmind people tink seh Shabba no deserve no national honour. Fi slackness? Dem no have no rispek di dancehall culture. Same like how nuff smaddy no tink seh Bob Dylan shuda win no Nobel Prize fi literature. Dem too fool. Song liriks a literature. Fi ten year now, mi teach one 'Reggae Poetry' course a University of the West Indies, Mona. Wi study Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Buju Banton an Tanya Stephens.

Mi mek sure mi go a King's House fi tek picture wid Shabba. Mi proud a im so till. Inna mi book, 'Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture At Large', mi have one chapter weh mi call, 'Slackness Personified: Representations of Female Sexuality in the Lyrics of Bob Marley and Shabba Ranks'.

See weh mi seh bout Shabba Ranks' song, 'Flesh Axe': Using agricultural, legal and mechanical imagery, Shabba compares the body of woman to valuable property - land that must be cleared, seeded and watered. Again, some women will object to the 'commodifying' analogy. But in an agricultural economy that has long deprived small farmers of access to arable land, this earthy metaphor signifies the high value that is placed on the fertile body of woman.

 

DREAM AN VISION

 

Di Peter Tosh museum open wid nuff style an fashion. Kingsley Cooper an Peter Tosh wife, Marlene Brown, di two a dem ketch di vision fi set up di museum. An di Peter Tosh Estate join up wid dem. Fi bout 15, 20 year, Kingsley work hard fi turn dis ya dream inna reality. It never easy. But di whole a dem pitch een an mek it happen. Old-time people seh nutten no happen before di time. A true.

Same like Miss Lou archive down a National Library. Mrs Yvonne Fraser-Clarke in charge a di Special Collections Department. A di launch, shi seh wen Miss Lou a lef Jamaica fi go live a farin, shi gi National Library whole heap a letter, picture, tape, book an nuff a har writing weh never publish. One hundred an five box. Twenty inch long, fifteen inch wide an five inch deep. Over 10,000 document!

An it tek bout 20 year, stop an start, fi sort out di whole heap a box dem an get permission fi di public look inna dem. Miss Lou, Peter Tosh an Shabba Ranks. Dem write all kind a literature. An it gone all bout. Jamaica soon win Nobel Prize fi wi liriks. Wi culture big an broad. Nuff rispek due!

 

PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN

 

Laas wiik Monde, Shabba Ranks step op fi get fi im nashinal ana a King's House. Wenzde, Peter Tosh myuuziyom opn iina New Kingston. An Torzde, Miss Lou kalekshan laanch dong a National Library. Big tingz a gwaan.

Rexton 'Shabba Ranks' Gordon get fi im OD fi "invaluable contribution to Jamaican music locally and internationally". Dis ya OD a 'Order of Distinction'. A no uova duos a jrogs. Shabba OD a fi uovaduos a liriks: 'Trailerload'.

Mi don nuo se plenti badmain piipl tingk se Shabba no disorv no nashinal ana. Fi slaknis? Dem no av nuo rispek di daansaal kolcha. Siem laik ou nof smadi no tingk se Bob Dylan shuda win no Nobel Prize fi lichricha. Dem tuu fuul. Sang liriks a lichricha. Fi ten ier nou, mi tiich wan 'Reggae Poetry' kuors a University of the West Indies, Mona. Wi stodi Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Buju Banton an Tanya Stephens.

Mi mek shuor mi go a King's House fi tek pikcha wid Shabba. Mi proud a im so til. Ina mi buk, 'Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture At Large', mi av wan chapta we mi kaal, 'Slackness Personified: Representations of Female Sexuality in the Lyrics of Bob Marley and Shabba Ranks'.

Si we mi se bout Shabba Ranks' sang, 'Flesh Axe': Using agricultural, legal and mechanical imagery, Shabba compares the body of woman to valuable property - land that must be cleared, seeded and watered. Again, some women will object to the 'commodifying' analogy. But in an agricultural economy that has long deprived small farmers of access to arable land, this earthy metaphor signifies the high value that is placed on the fertile body of woman.

 

JRIIM AN VIZHAN

 

Di Peter Tosh myuuziyom uopm wid nof stail an fashan. Kingsley Cooper an Peter Tosh wife, Marlene Brown, di tuu a dem kech di vizhan fi set op di myuuziyom. An di Peter Tosh Estiet jain op wid dem. Fi bout fiftiin, twenti ier, Kingsley work aad fi ton dis ya jriim ina riyaliti. It neva iizi. Bot di uol a dem pich iin an mek it apm. Uol-taim piipl se notn no apm bifuor di taim. A chruu.

Siem laik Miss Lou aakaiv a National Library. Mrs Yvonne Fraser-Clarke in chaaj a di Special Collections Department. A di laanch, shi se wen Miss Lou a lef Jamieka fi go liv a farin, shi gi National Library uol iip a leta, pikcha, tiep, buk an nof a ar raitn we neva poblish. Wan onjred an faiv baks. Twenti inch lang, fiftiin inch waid and faiv inch diip. Uova ten touzn dakyument!

An it tek bout twenti ier, stap an staat, fi saat out di uol iip a baks dem an get pormishan fi di poblik luk ina dem. Miss Lou, Peter Tosh an Shabba Ranks. Dem rait aal kain a lichricha. An it gaan aal bout. Jamieka suuhn win Nobel Prize fi wi liriks. Wi kolcha big an braad. Nof rispek juu!

- Carolyn Cooper, PhD, is a specialist on culture and development. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.