Herbie Miller, ‘Titus’ react to national honours
Each year, on Heroes Day, Jamaicans gather around their television sets to watch the parade across the lawns of King’s House to see who has accomplished enough to be recognised by the nation. This year, the tradition continues, and will include actors, musicians, dancehall stars, and even some musical academics.
Marley matriarch, Rita, who has spent the better part of 2019 collecting awards and honours, will be appointed another. She is now a member of the Order of Jamaica (OJ) for outstanding contribution to the popularisation of Jamaican music. Prolific music producer Gussie Clarke, international dancehall star Sean Paul, and historian Herbie Miller will be appointed to the Order of Distinction in the rank of commander.
Immediately recognisable for comedic antics and an inimitable grin, actor Glen ‘Titus’ Campbell along with drummer Desmond ‘Desi’ Jones and (posthumously) reggae singer Jacob Miller will be appointed to the Order of Distinction in the rank of officer.
“I must humbly appreciate this honour. One does these things without looking for this sort of thing. But it’s difficult for me to judge why anyone thinks I ought to have this honour,” Herbie Miller told The Gleaner.
The difficulty comes from Miller’s steadfast, passionate pursuit to ‘liberate minds’, motivated solely by his love for country. “Everything I’ve ever done, especially the Jamaican things I’ve done, are done with a sense of nationalist pride. I did it because I was Jamaican and felt as though the things that interested me, that I know a little bit about ... that if I added my little bit to all the other little bits – it would add to a greater, grander narrative of what Jamaica is all about.”
In a career spanning 38 years, Glen Campbell wasn’t necessarily looking for accolades either, though the thought may have crossed his mind as a youngster. “From a very tender age, I would wake up on Heroes Day, and that would be the thing you do in the mornings. You watch the awards, then you go about the rest of the day. A few times, I thought ‘I wonder if I will get to that stage?’ And here it is,” he said.
The beloved actor describes the recognition as humbling and surreal, but acknowledges that he has been rewarded time and time again – from a dedicated, receptive audience. “One of the most gratifying things is to see a happy audience at the end of the night. Or, you’re walking on the road and somebody say ‘Mr Campbell’, or ‘Titus’, or ‘eediat!’ They appreciate the work that you do. Or they say, ‘Ah yuh make me can go through the day. I remember something and just smile.’ It keeps them going. That feels good.”
Miller also has pleasant feelings about being honoured, with the hope that he has been recognised for his true intention.
“I am humbled that our nation finds it fit to honour me with this citation. Everything I do is to build up this nation, to eradicate from their minds the colonial imperialist mentality that has kept them bonded to plantations, and that plantation continues to exist in the minds of too many. Every single thing I do is to help to liberate the mind. I’d like to know that that is what they’ve seen in the work I’ve done,” Miller said.