Sunday, 17 February 2019

41 Bahamian Cultural Legends Honoured

Forty-one cultural giants were surrounded by government officials, friends and family recently as they were honoured during an art exhibition at Pompey Square. The event was part of the 41st independence anniversary celebrations of The Bahamas.

The cultural legends included names synonymous with features of Bahamian culture like art, music, writers, theatre and of course Junkanoo.

The legends that made the list were Alphonzo ‘Blind Blake’ Higgs, Amos Ferguson, Antonious Roberts, BahaMen, Becky Chipman, Beginning of the End, Brent Malone, Bernard “Buttercup” Ferguson, Charles Carter, Cleophas Adderley, Count Bernadino, E. Clement Bethel, Eddie Minnis, Ezra Hepburn, Freddie Munnings Sr., George Symonette, Jackson and Stan Burnside, James Catalyn, Jay Mitchell, Jeannie Thompson, John Berkley Peanuts Taylor, John Chipman, Joseph Spence, Kayla lockhard Edwards, King Eric, Leroy Duke Hanna, Maureen Duvalier, Pandora Gibson Gomez, Patricia Bazard, Paul Meeres, Percy Viola Francis and Winston Gus Cooper, Ronnie Butler, Shirley Hall Bass, Meta Davis Cumberbatch, Susan Wallace, Edmund Moxey, Theophilus Coakley, Timothy Gibson, Tony Mackay, Wendal Stuart and Winston Saunders.

The honorees or representatives of their families all received a commemorative 41st independence book and a sketch of the cultural legend painted by local artist Jamaal Rolle.

Prime Minister Perry Christie, who was the keynote speaker at the event, spoke about how it is important for Bahamians to know where they come from through icons.

“These 41 legends light up our Bahamas like beacons to the future. So important is culture to national development and identity,” he said.



Sketches of Godfather of Bahamian music Ronnie Butler and Legendary Play Writer James Catalyn by artist Jamaal Rolle.

“ The government has decided with the occasion of this 41st anniversary, it is fit and necessary to begin the process of identifying, commemorating and saluting all those people in our history and in our country who can be considered to be cultural warriors. And in particular pay homage and express gratitude to distinctive cadre of the first 41 personnel whose life, work, talent and contribution are distinctive to their performance.”

After the presentations, the honorees were entertained by a special performance from Geno D.

Play writer James Catalyn said he was more than excited to receive the honour.“I am truly flattered by the gesture and I truly appreciate the recognition to be recognized by the Bahamian people at this time. I was there when we lowered the British flag –the union jack and raised the Bahamian flag and I was always proud to Bahamian and this makes me even prouder right now,” he said.

For entertainer and Junkanoo enthusiast John “Chippie” Chipman this is just another notch under his belt for he has received many awards over the last several years. Among his awards are: an MBE (Member of The British Empire) from the Queen; The Bahamas Merit Award (BMA), which he got the same time as the late Prime Minster Lynden Pindling; Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award; the Junkanoo Award; the Independence Award; the Centennial Award; and awards from churches and civic organisations.

He is also listed as one of the 150 most outstanding Bahamians in Jones Communications' publication of the same name.

“It is a pleasure to be honoured,” he said. “I’ve been around the world serving this country and I was performing for this country when it was only bush. They usually give you your honour when you are dead but I am receiving all mine while I am alive. I even have a street named after me. I am proud to get these awards while I am living,” Mr. Chipman said.

“All of these honourees are great entertainers who performed well for this country. They keep our flag high and so I enjoy seeing all of them unite for this country.”



Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin greets Play writer Jeannie Thompson.




Just some of the 41 artworks by Jamaal Rolle


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