The Jamaican Zombies

Yes that is correct, we have zombies in Jamaica and no they do not prey upon the “uninfected”.  They are easily identified by their obviously bleached out faces and being fully covered from head to toe in the extremely hot sun to prevent re-pigmentation from occurring. These walking dead are not proud with their naturally dark brown and even light brown skins. Funny enough what started out as a “female thing” caught on to the men (they were once called Joe Bleach). This plague, or epidemic, or outbreak, or whatever you want to call it, is not a modern-day occurrence. Ever since slavery many of our ancestors, and even some of our people, were taught that being black was a bad thing.

“Anyt’ing black no good.” – Ma Aggy (excerpt from Old Story Time by Trevor D. Rhone)

It’s not just in Jamaica we have bleaching or issues with our skin tone, Beyoncé and Aishwarya Rai are examples of celebrities whose skin tones were made lighter in magazines (Involuntary or Forced Bleaching), but some celebrities obviously did some “toning” of their own in real life without being “photoshopped”.

So what makes the Jamaican Zombie unique? Well, like zombies portrayed in movies, their bleached skin tones are uneven (so not up to par with those who can afford the full body version), thus giving them an unnatural, somewhat not-alive look. In common cases, only their faces are bleached and the rest of their bodies are significantly darker (according to Mr. Lex they are Monkeys, referring to how chimpanzees look, not intended to be racially offensive), while others may do their entire bodies but any skin covering the joints somehow is still darker.

Why all this bleaching? Believe it or not, in a lot of cases they do it to get ahead in life. Shocked? If big companies (not naming anyone) are demanding that training institutions (my lips are sealed) provide them with people of a lighter shade to be at the front desk, then I guess you have to lighten up (pun intended) to get your career started (oh by the way this was an article in our local newspaper).

Just out of fun, please feel free to take part in the poll below. Thanks. See you soon.

Scarlet Letter ‘M’: Rules of the Game

Here in Jamaica all social characters have nicknames or street names, or become such nicknames, for example, “Babylon” means Police (the general view of the police is not positive at all); “Nanny” refers to the Jamaican $500 note because an illustration of our only National Heroine, Nanny of the Maroons, is on it. Therefore the roles we play in our lives are no different. When a man and a woman are married to each other, they are called Husband and Wife, which we now refer to as “Hussy” and “Wifey”. We know the institution of marriage (or any long term relationship) has been plagued by outsiders for centuries. These outsiders are called “homewreckers”, be it man or woman, however it’s the woman that is more reknown for this role. So, if you cheat on your loved one then you are giving “bun”. During these last two decades, give or take a few years, a homewrecker in Jamaica is called “matey” (or “bunner (wo)man”: a term recently popularised by famous local talk show host).

Despite being frowned upon for many years, most women still choose to be a matey because she receives almost all wifey priveleges, but most importantly because she is not the one being hurt and deceived. In addition, there is a paradigm shift in the concept of matey in our local dancehall music. In the 90’s the matey was put down and condemned but now is revered, praised and seen as a necessity (whether to improve a marriage or for his or her own personal gain). There are some celebrities who are “mateys” and came out the winners (Angelina Jolie, Alicia Keys), while others fell flat on their faces (Fantasia). The success of the matey depends on a lot of rules or guidelines that will almost guarantee a long term relationship with a spouse. I will list some below but not in any order of importance:

  1. Be invisible to the wifey/hussy, their family and friends.
  2. Do not expect to become the wife or husband.
  3. Take what you can get and leave.
  4. Do not confront the wife/ hussy in any way.
  5. Do not fall in love (in otherwords don’t be a Marilyn Monroe).
  6. Keep calls, appointments, texts, emails within a respectable time schedule to avoid suspicion.
  7. Never say anything bad about the wifey/hussy.
  8. If you have been identified as the matey, then it’s time to move on, it will only get uglier.
  9. If you are seriously looking for a permanent stream of income by all means have a love child (case in point: Schwarzenegger).

Knowing the risks of being a matey, would you still want to be one? Why or why not? Also, please feel free to discuss the rules by adding your own rules or discussing any of the points mentioned.