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Media Personalities Show Love For Miss Lou

Published:Monday | July 25, 2016 | 4:11 PMKimberley Small
Dahlia Harris
Bella Blair
Debbie Bissoon
Simone Clarke Cooper

It has become a standard that our media personalities now extend themselves beyond the standard English language and often resort to Patois as a way to 'get the point across'.

Miss Lou managed to push the use of Patios to the forefront, popularising the dialectal expression by demonstrating its entertainment value and its effectiveness in communicating to the masses, as agreed by current and rising media personalities.

"When I engage with the public directly, I realise that communicating in a way that is inclusive has a greater impact," Dahlia Harris told The Gleaner.

"One of the main things for me is to operate from an understanding that media creates a space which allows all members of society to participate in national dialogue," the TV personality and playwright added.

"I have heard some of the most profound things expressed in Patois," Harris continued, moving to quote one of her favourite Miss Lou poems, Dry Foot Bwoy. "Mi start fi feel sorry fi / De po bad-lucky soul / Me tink him come a foreign lan' / Come ketch bad foreign cole!"

Co-host of Smile Jamaica, a morning programme aired daily on TVJ, Simone Clarke-Cooper told The Gleaner, though, that she has received negative remarks about her code-switching from social media users, but revels in being able to use Patois as a genuine means of expression.

Radio and television personality Debbie Bissoon also employs code-switching during her broadcast, but admits that she did not immediately recognise its effectiveness in communicating with the majority.

Bissoon recalled spending a year transcribing English to Patois, much to her annoyance. But as a broadcaster, she admitted to The Gleaner that her use of patois allows her to reach a greater cross section of her audience. She is therefore grateful for the opportunity, granted through the shameless and empowering work of Miss Lou, to be able to reveal her authentic Jamaican self.


"She has really helped, because as a media personality, I can be myself," said Bissoon.

Rising media personality and singer Bella Blair had much of the same to say.

"Miss Lou made Patios, our language, cool. When me deh a farin, dem cyah undastand mi, and I find that quite cool," she joked. As one who has established herself as a comedienne by adopting personas who communicate exclusively through Patois on her social media platforms, and explained that it all comes naturally.

"A lot of things aren't planned," she told The Gleaner. "Whatever comes to my mind and the energy that I'm feeling... it just goes there."

"I get away with it because it's what I'm known for," Blair continued, "But the ability to switch it up is something I take great delight in." She said that she embraced Patois, seeing it as just another language that is unique to Jamaicans. As a result, Blair has generated a fanbase in Jamaica and Jamaicans in the North American diaspora.