Bahamas culture appreciators, Enjoy the above:
Junkanoo Spirit photos taken with cultural love
And Bahamian sisters
For over a decade in both my cultural heart
and home I've constantly celebrated Junkanoo,
Now in my cultural heart and cyberhome,
I continually celebrate your sacred Spirit, too!
When I consider the very positive, sacred sistas who have crossed my lifepath, my mind just naturally flows to my sweet friend, the late Jacqueline Newton Baker, the sister of my friend, Steve "Papa Lou" Newton (who introduced me to Junkanoo), and the precious daughter of my wonderful sister/friend, Sandra Bethel Newton of Nassau, Bahamas. (That is Jackie on the right in the lime dress, helping her younger sister, Michelle ("Mickey") Newton Taft prepare for her wedding. Jackie, in her short years, lived a life of light, love, and service.
Even in those last days of extreme physical challenge as the Spirit was compassionately calling her to just release this world and step into a soothing Light beyond comprehension, Jackie continued to gather whatever strength remaining in her body temple to smile and lovingly encourage others. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated--(whose birthday of Jan. 15th Jackie shared)--it is not the quantity of the life one lives, but the quality. Jackie lived a life of the very highest quality--brimming over with sweetness, love, service, and devotion of the Divine. Well done and very well done, lovely sacred Bahamian sista. Enjoy that beauty-full world of unmatched Love and Light. You more than earned it.
The follow is an excerpt of a poem I wrote in honor of Jackie's graduation to the Spirit realm in November of l999:
...Jackie's lovely smile
would just light up a room.
It's earth's loss and Heaven's gain
that she went Home so soon.
What a winning combination,
both a pretty soul
and plenty good looking
Then to top it off,
she was a whiz in the kitchen
with that great Bahamian cooking!
yet one November morn,
Jackie by Spirit was told
"Take off that painful earthly garment.
Put on this Heavenly robe.
As a servant in your Father's vineyard
you've laboured so hard.
Come home, precious daughter.
Reap the harvest of an early reward.
copyright (c) L. Cousins 1999
(top) Junkanoo woman performer giving Junkanoo lovers a cultural memento; (second row, left to right) Arlene Nash Ferguson, One Family Junkanoo member and proprietor, Educulture Bahamas Ltd; Clarice, who performed with the Roots Junkanoo Group at Super Bowl XXXV; and Mitzi Chipman, prominent culturalist and performer who is a daughter of John "Chippie" Chipman, "grandfather of Junkanoo." (third row) A young Junkanoo princess who is a Roots performer.
As we celebrate the contemporary women Junkanoo performers, let us also pay homage to Ms. Maureen Duvalier, a pioneer Bahamian Junkanoo Queen, who was a co-leader of the Mexicans Junkanoo Group in the l950's. (no photo presently available). In addition to her role as a Junkanoo group leader, she is also noted to be the first woman to bring female dancers to Nassau's Bay Street for Junkanoo and the first female member of the Bahamas Musicians and Entertainers Union.
I was so pleased to learn that Ms. Duvalier was recently honored for her historical contributions to Junkanoo. with the first annual Junkanoo Achievement Award during the 30th year Independence Day celebrations. The Junkanoo Development Association also honored five other great Junkanoo pioneers including John "Chippie" Chipman, Alfred Fountain, Reverend Prince Hepburn, the late Donzel Huyler Sr., and Walton "Sax" Taylor. A well-deserved congratulations in general to all of these fine elders and in particular to the sacred sister elder, Mrs. Maureen Duvalier.
As the Junkanoo Soulsite celebrates the sacred Spirit of Bahamian women, be sure to visit the pages dedicated to Bahamian women authors and Bahamian sister artists (see links below). There are reviews, both textual and audio, of their written works and depictions of their artwork. Enjoy to the maximum degree.