Thu | Jan 18, 2018

Love and solidarity for gays?

Published:Monday | August 1, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Has acclaimed Jamaican poet Kei Miller 'lick him head'? Or is he simply impossibly naive and pathetically sentimental? For those Jamaicans who don't know, Dr Miller is possibly the most internationally acclaimed Jamaican poet since Claude McKay.

Dr Miller made an observation on the BBC radio programme 'The Cultural Frontline' on July 23, 2016, that causes one to wonder whether his sense of Jamaican reality has been compromised by his living in Scotland. Distance has a way of inducing sentimentality. Dr Miller was commenting on the infamous Marlene Malahoo Forte tweet controversy and the LGBT rainbow flag that was flown at the United States Embassy in Liguanea.

Kei Miller made the astounding claim that there was a backlash by the Jamaican people against Mrs Malahoo Forte and that the Jamaican people, in their response to the Orlando gay nightclub massacre and the attorney general's tweet, showed "love and solidarity" for the victims of that massacre and for gay people.

That was absurd fiction and a total misrepresentation of how the Jamaican people, in general, responded to the Orlando massacre and the tragedy that befell the gay community.

Dr Miller is basing his opinion on the reaction to Mrs Malahoo Forte on social media, but that platform is not necessarily a reliable index of how Jamaicans, in general, feel.

Also, Kei Miller, in his sentimental naivety, fails to appreciate the nature of Jamaican political tribalism. Many of those who responded negatively to the attorney general's tweet were not necessarily doing so because they loved gay people but because she is a Labourite.


Montego Bay, St James