I. “Concrete Jungle”- Bob Marley
Robert Nesta Marley, (1945 – 1981) was a Jamaican singer and songwriter. Considered one of the pioneers of reggae, his musical career was marked by blending elements of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, as well as forging a smooth and distinctive vocal and songwriting style. Marley’s contributions to music increased the visibility of Jamaican music worldwide and made him a global figure in popular culture.
Concrete jungle: a modern city or urban area filled with large buildings and regarded especially as a harshly competitive, unwelcoming, or dangerous place
“Concrete Jungle” played a special role in the history of reggae music: this was the first song on the first album (Catch A Fire, 1973) that really broke reggae to international audiences outside Jamaica.
Presentation: Heaven-lee Allen
II. “Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands”- Alexia Arthurs
The short version is that I, Alexia Arthurs, grew up in Jamaica and New York. I’m a graduate of Hunter College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I write stories about Jamaicans. I’m interested in the Jamaican diaspora and in Caribbean feminism. I published my first book, a collection of short stories, called “How to Love a Jamaican” in the U.S. and the U.K. in 2018.
The longer story is that I was born in Mandeville, Jamaica. We moved to New York when I was twelve—my mother, like many immigrant mothers, believed that she could better provide for her three children in the States, where three of her sisters lived. As a child, moving to the United States was a fulfilled dream because I had observed that everyone believed that the U.S. was superior to any other place in the world. The realities were different, painful—I was navigating the distance from the country of my childhood, and the fact that my family wanted so badly to build a future in a country that was unwelcome to foreigners. As I grew, in some ways I recognized myself as an American and in other ways I was Jamaican. Over time, I started to explore this tension of belonging and distance through my writing. I started writing “How to Love a Jamaican” when I was twenty-four and finished when I was twenty-eight, but in a way it feels that I was writing those stories for even longer than that because I’ve been asking certain questions since I was a kid.
Interview with Alexia Arthurs by Abigail Bereola
No one man should have all that power
The clock’s ticking’, I just count the hours
Stop tripping’, I’m tripping’ off the power
(21st-century schizoid man)
The system broken, the school’s closed, the prisons open
We ain’t got nothing’ to lose, ma’ fucka’, we rolling
Huh? Ma’fucka’, we rollin’
With some light-skinned girls and some Kelly Rowlands
In this white man’s world, we the ones chosen
So goodnight, cruel world, I see you in the mornin’
Huh? I’ll see you in the mornin’
This is way too much, I need a moment
Presentations: Shaniece Craigs and Emily Batista
Conversation in trios (Part I 3-16)
Reflecting on racial and ethnic identities in the US, Arthurs says that “there’s a difference between being seen and being understood.” What do you understand by this phrase? To what extent do you identify with it? In relation to the story, how could we interpret this notion to the relationship between the narrator, Kimberly, and Cecilia? (4, 8) And to Kimberly’s photographs? (6, 7, 8)
Questions (Part II 16-31)
Presentation: Ashley Bomar
What was Kimberly and Cecilia’s disagreement regarding dating patterns? (16-18)
What things Kimberly appreciated from Cecilia? What things stand out from their exploration of the city? (18-19)
Compare Kimberly and Cecilia’s economic background. How racial relations in the city differ depending on that background? (19-21)
Reflecting on the party and Cecilia’s bringing a black man to it, Kimberly argues that Jamaicans are the performers of the Caribbean. Why she thinks this? (23-26)
How the show Girls allows Kimberly to make a social critique on gentrification? (26-28)