Here at TALLAWAH, in addition to the remarkable ways in which Jamaican culture impacts people’s lives, we’ve always been interested in the new and the next. And with everyone presently in Jubilee mode as the nation turns the big 5-0, what better time to look to the future – even as we reflect on our storied past?
When it comes to brilliant institutions and individuals who are doing just that, the examples are endless, but we’ve managed to shine the spotlight on a worthy few in this issue, starting with The National Dance Theatre Company (“A League of their Own”), whose lifelong motto of “continuity and renewal” has taken on added significance in this post-Nettleford era.
Like Jamaica, the NDTC, a cultural giant in its own right, is marking its fifth-decade anniversary this year with a clear and knowing emphasis on the new generation. The Company’s upcoming season, I am told, promises to be one of the most unforgettable in recent history.
Having emerged winner of Mission Catwalk’s just-concluded sophomore season, designer Gregory Williams has shown what many of us knew all along: he’s a genuine talent who is going places (London included). As you will read in “London Calling,” Gregory is keenly aware of what it will take to establish himself – and his fabulous womenswear designs – on the international scene, and he’s drawing on that very Jamaican mix of raw talent and sheer ambition to conquer those new frontiers. We wish him the very best.
Similarly, this month’s cover star, Keisha Patterson (“Playing for Keeps”), is shaking up our perception of what it means to be a chameleonic performer in a business where versatility is the thing. I have been following Keisha’s singing-acting career with deep interest since her teenaged days with Ashé, and it’s an absolute pleasure to see her still striving and thriving, while shattering stereotypes and other people’s expectations along the way.
Now, with a great new stage role and a second album in the works, the girl is having the time of her life, perfectly in sync with the mood of Jamaican culture these days – which, of course, is one of change and celebration. I am utterly intrigued to see what She will do next.