Will Jamaica finally accept and support one of her famous “battyman”?

Marlon James to give Bob Marley lecture
Marlon James to give Bob Marley lecture

Hollywood is showing great interest in Jamaica.  A major television series is in the works.  It is based in Jamaica and it is written and will be executively produced by a Jamaican; but will Jamaicans be proud for this first of its kind achievement?

Jamaica is a very proud island.  Jamaicans at home and abroad are very proud people.  Jamaicans love to see when fellow Jamaicans shine the spotlight on the small island.

Once of Jamaica’s sons has risen to the top of his field and is about to shine a very bright light on possibly the most famous island in the Caribbean.  The only problem is no one is sure if Jamaica will accept this son and is work because he is a homosexual or as they say in Jamaica, “him a batty boy”.

Marlon James who was born in Jamaica’s capital, Kinston, won the man Booker award in 2015 for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.  Now Amazon studio is turning the book into a television series and James will be one of the executive producers.

For his achievement James has not been shown the love other Jamaican high achievers have been shown by fellow Jamaicans. Part of the reason for this is that James’ achievement did not fall in the realm of sports and entertainment but the big elephant in the room is because “James tek wood”.

This time around it will be interested to see if James will get the accolades of a Usain Bolt or Tessanne Chin after winning The Voice competition. After all, now that the book is becoming a television series, it is entertainment.

James’ book is inspired by the December 1976 assassination attempt on reggae star Bob Marley, at his home in Kingston.

It tracks the movement of players in Jamaica’s underworld from Kingston to New York over a 20-year period.

Melina Matsoukas will be the director and executive producer of the television series.

“I am deeply honored to be entrusted with this tapestry of stories so entrenched in roots, reggae, race, mysticism and politics,”Matsoukas told 24 Karat Reggae.

A Brief History of Seven Killings is Kingston-born James’ third book. His first book, John Crow’s Devil, was published in 2005 and his second, The Book of Night Women, came out four years later.

A Brief History of Seven Killings won the Man Booker Prize over five other books including A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyle, the American Pulitzer Prize winner.

“It’s a crime novel that moves beyond the world of crime and takes us deep into a recent history we know far too little about,” was how Michael Wood, chair of the Man Booker judges, described A Brief History of Seven Killings.

 

So while foreigners have seen the greatness in one of Jamaica’s sons, it will be interesting to see if Jamaicans will be able to do the same.  It is a matter of pride and prejudice, can Jamaica show pride in one of her sons that “juk batty”, or is the prejudice against homosexuality so engrained in the fabric of the Jamaican culture, that accepting a gay son is just impossible?

 

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