Fri | Apr 12, 2024

One Love filmmakers got it right

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2024 | 12:06 AM


Much of the critiques of Bob Marley: One Love biopic is centred on sequencing and credibility of events and roles given to characters. Surprisingly, no one has said anything about the usage of Jamaican Creole by the main cast.

It seems the directors got it right this time. Multiple sources have confirmed that experts in the Jamaican language were consulted. One of the experts consulted was Dr Joseph Farquharson and Jamaican Language Unit.

The directors know that Jamaican Creole is not an ordinary language; it shapes the identity of the Jamaican people. In fact, many Jamaican become celebrities in foreign lands as soon as they utter a word in Patois. It is a marker of Jamaican identity. Bob Marley used Jamaican in his speech and songs, therefore, I believe a proper representation of the language was crucial in his biopic.

We have to get it right also.

Extensive research has been done on Jamaican Creole and its benefit to education. Attempts have been made by conceptualisers of the English Language National Standards Curriculum to include objectives which focus on Jamaican Creole. One objective allows students to identify the differences between Jamaican English and Jamaican Creole. This is the right step to including Jamaican Creole in the education system; however, Jamaican should be accepted as the primary means of instruction in the classroom, meaning a language that is used by teachers and students during teaching. This would prevent students from being pressured to speak Jamaican English. This, I believe, would allow students and teachers to approach Jamaican English as a second language. The assumption that students already know English should be erased.

Public education should be centred on overcoming the stigmas associated with Jamaican Creole. Its business value should be preached so that persons may be interested in learning the rules of the language so that they can be offered informed advice.

The directors, I believe, chose to consult experts of the language because they believe in our language more than we do. They are aware of its value, they are aware of the research done and they know that the Jamaican is a coveted language.