Keturah Hamilton, “The Harder They Come” Introduced the World to Jamaican Culture

by Howard Campbell

Richard Nixon was campaigning for a second term as president of the United States and the Los Angeles Lakers were NBA champions, when “The Harder They Come” premiered in Kingston, Jamaica June, 1972.

Keturah Hamilton was not born yet but remembers her parents talking about the groundbreaking movie as a child in Jamaica.

She saw it for the first time as a 12 year-old after her family migrated to Chicago.

Keturah Hamilton, "The Harder They Come" Introduced the World to Jamaican Culture
Keturah Hamilton

“The first time I heard about “The Harder They Come” was as a little girl. My mom and stepdad would talk about how good the movie is and how Jimmy Cliff is so super talented. I watched it and fell in love with the movie but at the time I didn’t understand that “The Harder They Come” was the film that introduced the world to Jamaican culture and paved the way for many more” said Hamilton, an actress who was born in Kingston.

Recently, she watched the movie again and is still impressed by its raw depiction of Jamaican urban life.

“Good films can never die! As an actress I have to watch a library of films, for the storytelling, inspiration, to learn, and to ‘steal’ from other actors past and present. It’s an honor to stand on the shoulders of the greats and know that all dreams are possible if you burn that midnight oil. What a beautiful way to celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage Month by celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest Jamaican films,” said Hamilton.

“The Harder They Come” 50th Anniversary

An exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of director Perry Henzell’s film opened in Kingston on June 4. It comprises 40 original pieces of art from Jamaican artists inspired by the movie which starred Cliff as Ivan, a naive country boy who moves to Kingston with an ambition to become a singer.

The exhibition is being held at Henzell’s former home where he co-wrote the screenplay with Trevor Rhone.

Henzell died in 2006. His children, Jason and Justine, are coordinating the exhibition which is open to the public until August 28.

After a career in modelling, Hamilton moved into acting. She has appeared in a number of theater, television and movie roles including Gaslit and The Nanny.

Her latest role is in the play, Lou Gehrig Did Not Die of Cancer.


South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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