'Little to celebrate' - Jamaica 50 parody brings rave reviews

Published: Sunday | August 26, 2012 Comments 0
Abrahams: When Jamaica 50 was approaching I wanted to write something positive about our achievements over the past 50 years, but could not think of much. - file
Abrahams: When Jamaica 50 was approaching I wanted to write something positive about our achievements over the past 50 years, but could not think of much. - file
A screenshot of a bus which transports depictions of Babsy Grange and Lisa Hanna from Dr Michael Abrahams' '50 Years of Independence' video. - Contributed photos
A screenshot of a bus which transports depictions of Babsy Grange and Lisa Hanna from Dr Michael Abrahams' '50 Years of Independence' video. - Contributed photos
Sakina Deer, playing Lisa Hanna.
Sakina Deer, playing Lisa Hanna.
Sherando Ferril, playing Olivia 'Babsy' Grange.
Sherando Ferril, playing Olivia 'Babsy' Grange.

Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer

YouTube video from Dr Michael Abrahams earns thousands of hits

Dr Michael Abrahams has released a parody in 'celebration' of Jamaica 50 called 50 Years of Independence which has been getting major attention on social networks.

The song criticises the type of politics practised by Jamaicans and features characters acting as Lisa Hanna, minister of youth and culture and Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, shadow minister under the same portfolio and depicts the recent controversy surrounding the Jamaica 50 song.

According to Dr Abrahams, aside from the success of local athletes and the progress of the music industry, he does not see much to celebrate for Jamaica 50.

"When Jamaica 50 was approaching, I wanted to write something positive about our achievements over the past 50 years, but could not think of much. Honestly, in terms of sports yes, in terms of music somewhat, however, when it comes to corruption, crime, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment etc., our progress has been unsatisfactory. I found little to celebrate," Dr Abrahams explained.

"Then one administration chose a song, a slogan and a logo for Jamaica 50 and the subsequent administration chose to throw them all out and replace them. And this is symptomatic of our politics over the past 50 years, very immature. And both parties are involved in this," he said.

The song's lines give evidence to Abrahams' sentiment.

Hanna: Hear mi now miss Grange, yu Jamaica 50 song sound strange. Dat deh music inna old people range, it waah refurbish and rearrange.

Grange: Miss Hanna, and yu seh mi song soft but yu couldn't be wronga, yu dun know sey mi a big event planna, a mi buss like Cobra and Shabba suh you tan deh labba labba."

According to the doctor/comedian, the disunity among the politicians prompted him to resort to comedy and music as a means of expressing his emotions.

"This situation caught my attention and I decided to write about it. It really is a sad state of affairs. But I find that when you use humour to tell a story, you stand a better chance of getting people's attention. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Many people remark that it's funny but that they still get the message. The video has been getting a lot of hits and positive comments on YouTube," he said.

Dr Abrahams also revealed that more songs with social commentary and comedy at its centre will follow this production.

"I have recorded songs before, but this is my first music video, and I definitely plan to do more. I have a lot to talk about; the good, the bad and the ugly. Right now, I am planning some projects about Usain Bolt and JPS. Huge fan of Usain Bolt, but not so much for JPS," he laughed.

Actress Sherando Ferril, who played Olivia 'Babsy' Grange in the song and video, said the responses have been good overseas.

"Most people like it. I don't know how big it is out here, but it is big in the overseas diaspora. Somebody told me they watched it six times and that I maintained my character, so I am very proud. I stay far away from politics and I wasn't trying to make a political statement, but the message from production is that we are one country and we should come together and fix the nation," Ferril said.

The song is produced by Douglas Flanigan and the video was directed by Billy Yapp. Actress Sakina Deer was also featured in the song and video, playing Hanna's character.

The video has already been viewed more than 60,000 times on YouTube.com.

Fans of Dr Abrahams can find his work on YouTube.com or @mikeyabrahams on twitter.

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