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Commentary with Winston Barnes: Rex Nettleford

DAVIE – This is someone who spoke with little concern about shame or pride about having to go to school barefooted. When he passed in Washington D.C. last evening, Rex Nettleford was Chancellor Emeritus of one of the finest institutions of learning in the world, the University of the West Indies.

For an insight into his intellect, I refer to a comment he made during an interview on this radio station years ago. Speaking about race and identity, Professor Nettleford said he had pleasure in reminding his white friends that they were as black as he was white, meaning, as many of us are now convinced there are no pure races on earth.

Prof. Rex Nettleford

The tireless years as the creator and creative force behind the Jamaica national dance theatre, Nettleford continued to not only manage and train the company, but he continued to dance as a member even into his most recent years.

A 1972 book he wrote is probably the definitive work on race and identity in the Jamaican society. It has relevance even today to the extent that it was up-dated and re-printed over the last few years.

For those who attended the University of the West Indies, especially at the Mona, Jamaica campus, one of Nettleford’s greatest loves had to have been the university. When he collapsed in the U.S capital last week, he was there for a fundraiser for UWI.

One just hopes that young people will come to some kind of understanding of the contributions this poor country boy from the parish of Trelawny made to his home country and the entire Caribbean, and the world for that matter.

Winston Barnes
Host – “Open Mic” WAVS 1170AM

Voice your opinion on “Open Mic” with Winston Barnes daily on WAVS 1170AM or listen on-line www.wavs1170am.com

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