Wed | Nov 21, 2018

Dat Bumpy Head Gal's Journey to OD

Published:Thursday | October 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue/Senior Gleaner Writer
Writer and performer Joan Andrea Hutchinson was conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of officer on Heroes Day at the National Honours and Awards ceremony at King's House, St Andrew.

When a heavily hued Jamaican woman with 'Chiney bump' (hair twisted and rolled into knots) was featured as a television presenter, there was collective shock and surprise, but there was also celebration for the promotion of women who looked like the majority of them.

It was actress, radio personality, and poet Joan Andrea Hutchinson, who had "buss" on the Jamaican cultural scene. From streetsides to academia, her appearance sparked discussion in this majority dark-skinned country, but more than two decades later, there is a significant increase in the number of dark-skinned males and females taking leading roles on television.

On Heroes' Day, the well-respected writer, motivational speaker, television and radio producer, comedienne, storyteller, and mommy joined other distinguished Jamaicans in the class of the Order of Distinction (OD) Officer Class.

Her journey to the OD has not been easy, and she is first to tell you that her greatest achievement is being mother to her teenage and 10-year-old sons.

"I am mother to an amazing teenager and a 10-year-old. My children make my life complete. I allow God to guide my every step. In fact, my favourite song of all times is Your Steps Are Ordered by Fred Hammond," Hutchinson told The Gleaner.

"I am a rural-minded city girl of the soil. I live in the garden. I grow tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, kale, corn," she said, making it clear that the 'dat bumpy head gal' is not afraid of getting her hands dirty.

 

PUBLIC BUT VERY PRIVATE

 

Success in the oral culture has taken Hutchinson to many countries, and it is hard to believe that such a very public person is also very private.

"Contrary to public perception, I love being away from the limelight. When I am on the stage, I am on the stage. When I am off the stage, I prefer quiet spaces and small gatherings. I am very much a homebody," she shared.

"I am very attuned to life and understand the importance of being connected to a higher spiritual being. The brightest light bulb, if not connected to a source of power, cannot shine. I pray constantly and allow every action to be directed and guided by God. Sometimes I do not understand His ways and His plans, but I trust Him. His faith never breaks."

Hutchinson said that people who allow themselves to get to know her make comments like "you are so normal".

Having fun for Joan is chatting with a few friends and listening to music. "Better yet, hanging out with the children, teaching them, and learning from them," she said.

She places high value on people, and Jamaica on Monday placed value on Dat Bumpy Head Gal.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com