Thu | Sep 21, 2017

From Dancehall Mumma To Mother, Minister Marion

Published:Thursday | January 26, 2017 | 1:00 AMMel Cooke
Minister Marion Hall performing on Night One of Rebel Salute 2017.
Lady Saw
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The transformation which one woman has made from the publicly pubic personality of dancehall deejay Lady Saw to the fully clad Minister Marion Hall, is fascinating. I am intrigued, not with her sincerity or hypocrisy, but what it indicates about sexuality, spirituality and the few choices women are channelled towards in a society where the major God figure was reputedly born to a virgin. (We sing it every Christmas - The Virgin Mary had a baby boy).

It has never occurred to me to question Marion Hall's genuineness as a Christian. While covering shows Lady Saw has performed at for some time, there were ample indications of a deep spirituality. And someone as artistically honest as Lady Saw would find it very hard - nigh impossible - to be a hypocritical Marion Hall.

So the person who demonstrated how to ride a prostrate man on stage when doing Heels On and gave a videographer or two on stage a (literally) hard time, made her major Jamaican event debut at Rebel Salute 2017 to, by all reports and YouTube evidence, superb results.

 

THE MUMMA

 

The 'mumma' - a staple of matriarchy in Jamaica which I define as a woman who is in control of herself, her family, her men, and her circumstances by sheer force of personality and a willingness to kick in the teeth of those deserving it - has become the stereotypical mother.

That mother figure's authority rests heavily on her, publicly conforming to the standards by which society values and valorises a woman, which, in turn, are a close approximation to notions of what the mother of Christ is perceived to have been - chastity and high morals, primary factors. For example, when Supreme Promotions banned D'Angel from Sting in early 2014 after she ended up with her legs splayed open at the 2013 show, The Gleaner, reported that Isaiah Laing demanded, "What kind of image is D'Angel portraying as a mother? ... It was not about Ninja Man, she embarrassed herself. At least a five-year ban for D'Angel." An attempted mumma cannot be a respected mother.

And yes, Marion Hall has no children; I have listened to Infertility. We are talking about the characteristics of a mother, not actually being one.

What we may not concede is that Lady Saw becoming Marion Hall is a quick, public transformation of a woman that we have seen happen in women we know personally or by reputation - you know, when the 'hottie hottie' suddenly dons long skirts and goes to church. In a society which holds mothers as near sacred, we may be very surprised to know how the women in generations before us behaved before they became the cherished figures we now know.

Ms Hall is not the only woman who was a mumma before being a mother. She is just the one we can all see.

Mumma or mother, though, the fire of the woman who destroyed Macka Diamond at Sting 2013 remains, as the somebody who dared challenge the minister's Jesus as Rebel Salute 2017 found out.

Powerful personalities rarely change. It is the focus which shifts.

melville.cooke@gleanerjm.com