Diasporan Jamaicans revel in 56th Independence Anniversary

Diasporan Jamaicans revel in 56th Independence Anniversary
Pauline Brown waves her country’s flag at the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence celebration in Miramar, Fla. Monday, Aug. 6, 2012.
Associated Press / J Pat Carter, File

Bob Marley’s “One Love” anthem may well be installed as the August anthem for Jamaicans residing here, in Canada and England.

The hallmark song will be repeated with frequency next month to mark the 56th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence on Aug. 6 and nationals residing throughout north and south Florida, Los Angeles, Calif., Philadelphia, Pa., Stamford, Conn., Houston, Texas, Atlanta, Ga., Indianapolis, Ind., London and Toronto are already anticipating singing their national song —“Eternal father bless our land” — as well as their reggae anthem when a variety of activities mark the day, month and year Jamaica implemented self-governance.

Themed on the island by a motto stating ‘One Love… One Family,’ activities include church services, parish vigils, flag-raising ceremonies, a festival bandwagon — which is a mobile showcase of the best talents from the parishes in the performing arts — street dances, independence concerts and stage shows are principals of the commemoration.

“We will celebrate our music and other aspects of our culture, while we enjoy the indigenous foods,” Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s minister of culture, gender and sports said.

“This will be a feast of creativity, and I am encouraging everyone to take out the family and enjoy the sumptuous meals that will be on display.”

The Kingston-based government spokesperson was making reference to kickoff events slated for the Independence Festival Village to be set up at the National Stadium from Aug. 1–6. Reportedly displays — including a food court, lunch-hour concerts and a Children’s Village will offer free enticements to entire families.

Aug. 1: The Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition will be held at the National Arena, beginning at 8 pm, the Mello-Go-Roun’ will be staged at the same venue the following day starting at 8 pm; on Aug. 3, the World Reggae Dance Championship will be held at the National Arena, at 8 pm; Kingston Reggae Night will be held at the National Arena at 8 pm; the Jamaica Gospel Song Competition will be on Aug. 4 at 8 pm.; and the Western Jamaica Street Parade and Gala will be held on the actual independence date of Aug. at Dump Up Beach in Montego Bay.

Jamaica 56 Independence Festival will also be celebrated through fashion, under the theme ‘Bandana be Bold, with Black Green and Gold.’

The festival’s signature event — the Independence Grand Gala — will be held at the National Stadium on Aug. 6.

Here, although no official gala ball has been announced by the island’s consulate, a flag-raising ceremony is scheduled to be held at 3 pm on Aug. 5 at St. Francis of Rome Roman Catholic Church at 761 E. 236th St. in the Bronx.

A service of thanksgiving will follow at 4 pm, and as usual a sumptuous meal sampling national culinary favorites will be served afterwards during a reception.

For more information, call (212) 935–9000.

Love Seed Foundation, Inc. is hosting a free outdoor concert at 215-32 Jamaica Ave., Queens Village, on that same date. Following a noon service of thanksgiving, beginning at 3 pm. Rhythm Master Band will strike up the music. Food and t-shirts will be available to help guests usher in the festivities. #JerkChickenOnTheGrill #Fish #CurryGoat #JerkPork #JudahSauces and #More are on the menu.

Stamford, Conn. residents will not have to drive north to share in the 56th anniversary celebration. New England residents can go to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 628 Main St. on that same Aug. 5 date where a service of praise and thanksgiving will be held. After the service, coffee hour will feature some well-known Jamaican dishes — oxtail, ackee and salt fish, curry goat, callaloo and other delights.

Family and friends are invited for more info. Call (203) 348–2619 or check the web portal at www.stjohns-stamford.org

Jamaicans residing in the Midwestern city of Indianapolis, Ind. plan to celebrate the 56th Jamaican Independence day at HI-FI, 1043 Virginia Ave. #4. Stone Love Movement is the featured sound-system and its founder Winston “Wee Pow” Powell will be at the selector’s table. He is slated to be flying directly from Jamaica to join fellow celebrants. DJ Indiana Jones will also provide current and vintage reggae hits. That’s on Aug. 4. at 11 pm. > http://cli.re/stoneloveindy.

Jamaica Pennsylvania Association will not be outdone. They will wait until the following week, to celebrate on Aug. 12.

According to their announcement they are inviting everyone to “come celebrate with us, Jamaica’s heritage, culture and enjoy our culinary cuisine, music and entertainment” with a bun eating contest, beer drinking contest, modeling, dancing and singing contest along with lots of other activities enabling participants to win prizes and fun, for the entire family. The festivities begin at noon at Big Yard Entertainment Complex, 6039 Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia, Pa.

South Florida probably takes the prize for hosting the most celebrations.

Jamaica Diaspora Day of Prayer Church Service, Christway Baptist Church, 3500 South Douglas Rd., Miramar, Fl., noon — (954) 442–7477).

Aug. 3: The official jump off to Jamaica’s Independence Weekend is dubbed the LAW — Life After Work. Slated for Lodge at Silver Lakes (West Broward Hall) 927 NW 178th Ave. Pembroke Pines 5pm-11pm (305) 623–578)

Jamaica Independence Celebration — All Night, Black Gold and Green Party featuring the famed Fab 5 band at The Temple Beth Emet Center, 4807 S. Flamingo Rd. Cooper City, Fl.

Aug. 4: Third annual International Music and Food Festival (IMFest) at Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex, 3000 NW 199 Str. Miami Gardens 6 pm – 12 midnight, (305-622-8000 ext. 2208)

Annual Jamaica Independence Celebrations — Shirley Bianca Park, 6900 Miramar Pkwy Hollywood, Fl. (Admission free: 6 pm – 10 pm) Featuring Code Red Band, DJ Fergie, Dr. Sue, Sierra Norwood Children and Ikaya.

Jamaica Independence Gala and Awards, hosted by the Jamaica United Relief at Signature Grand, Davie, at 7:30 pm

JA Independence Dinner / Dance — 408 17th St., West Palm Beach, Fl.

Aug. 5:

Official Independence Church Service, hosted by the Consulate General of Jamaica, Cooper City Church of God, 9191 Stirling Rd., Cooper City, Fl. (4 pm)

JA Independence Service at Grace Episcopal Church, 3600 N. Australian Ave., West Palm Beach, Fl. 33407 (10 am)

Jamaica Independence Celebration Service, Church of the Ascension, 11201 SW 160 St. Miami, Fl., 5 pm (305) 238–5151.

JA Flag and Independence Day Celebration, Lauderhill Sports Park in Lauderhill, 7500 W. Oakland Park Blvd. (954-336-6223) (12 noon – 10 p.m.)

Jamaica Independence Street Festival – NE 4th Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale (3 pm – 10 pm) (art, culture & cuisine) (954) 391–1445.

Aug. 6:

“A Likkle Bit O’ Jamaica” celebration and reception Miramar City Hall, Miramar, Fl. will be hosted by former Third World drummer Willie Stewart and friends (6 pm – 9 pm)

Aug. 11:

Annual Street Dance, “National Pride” Wear yuh Colors — Truck Stop, Weston, Fl.

Jamaican-American Association of Central Florida presents an independence gala at 7 pm at Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Major Blvd. in Orlando (www.jaaocf.com) (407) 276–3685

Independence service, Beulah Baptist Church, 1006 W. Cypress St., Tampa, Fl., begins at 10 am


Aug. 11:

Atlanta, Ga. offers an Annual Independence Gala & Scholarship Awards – Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta, Ga.


July 28:

Houston, Tex. promises an annual independence gala hosted by the Jamaica Foundation of Houston at the Elegance Ballroom in Houston, 6:30 pm

Aug. 5:

Ecumenical Independence Church Service at Windsor Village Church, Houston, Tex., 10 am www.jamaicafoundationhouston.org

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom offers deejays spinning Jamaican discs played by Mello Bostic, Equation, Roadshow, Robo Ranks, Master D, Daddy P, DJ Mikey at Tottenham Green Leisure Centre, 1 Phillip Lane, in London. Patrons are asked to “come out to party, bring whistles, horns flags and Jamaican outfits.” A caution against wearing jeans or “trainers” meaning sneakers when the doors open at 10 p.m. (British Standard Time) on Aug. 4 to Aug. 5.


Further north, the Jamaican Canadian Association offers the Jamaica 56th annual independence gala and dinner dance on Aug. 11 at 995 Arrow Rd. in Toronto, Ontario. For New Yorkers driving up the location is south of Finch, north of Sheppard and East of Weston Road.

One Love!

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