Serious Things A Go Happen
It was a celebration lauding of the dancehall culture last Thursday evening at the Redbones Blues CafÃ© as patrons and invitees arrived in full street dance attire for the launch of Maxine Walters’ Serious Things A Go Happen– a paperback collection of three decades of dancehall event posters. All proceeds from the evening were donated to the Consie Walters Cancer Care Hospice, which made it fitting for the evening’s proceedings to be opened by Chairman of the Consie Walters Cancer Hospice Dr Aggrey Irons. “It is my responsibility, ladies and gentlemen, to chair the Consie Walters Cancer Hospice. This event tonight is a serendipitous link to the past, in that the hospice is named after Maxine’s father Consie, who was a champion in raising the awareness of cancer. And I want to thank Maxine and her team for the opportunity, as it affords us not only the opportunity to have fun, but to connect with our ancestors while supporting a very noble cause,” he said.
Next to handle mic duties was University of the West Indies lecturer Dr Carolyn Cooper, who spoke about the importance that the book holds in the Jamaican culture. “ Most of the times these posters are designed by people whom we disregard. We don’t realise that they are actually artists. By collecting over 4,000 of the posters in this book, Maxine has showed us that these signs are more than just ephemera. And as writer Marlon James said in his introduction of the book, ‘as graffiti is the art form of hip hop, these posters are the art forms of dancehall.’ What Maxine has done is to show us that we must learn to value these posters, and by extension, value our dancehall culture, and for that, I thank you.”
Celebrated caterer Suzanne Couch, who herself is battling cancer, also expressed gratitude for Walters’ continued assistance during her treatment and encouraged her to keep on living the dream which she conceptualised.
Of course the evening could not have ended without remarks from the author, who spoke about the eye-opening experience of displaying the posters at Art Basel, Miami and being profoundly pleased with the amount of attention which they attracted. “These signs are a road map to the history of Jamaican music, as we go through the future, people begin to wonder what is happening, but as tourists, when they see them, they know exactly what happened, and to those that will come in 18 years, these posters will serve as memorabilia to inform them of the activities which took place.”
She also commented on the significance of the proceeds going towards the cancer hospice. “The hospice is an institution that my father worked really hard to build in the final years of his life, and my two sisters and I have continued to support as best as we can. Therefore, when we realised what a hard time they were having to keep their doors open, I decided to combine my two passions: the care for what my father had started and my love for the posters. And so this is what this evening is about, the artists who construct these signs, the artistes who perform at these events, and most importantly, the people who can’t afford that final care at the final stage of cancer care.” She then invited patrons to enjoy an evening of dancehall and reggae performances by artistes such as Chronixx and Tony Rebel.