Thursday, December 20, 2007

Connie Matthews - International Coordinator of the Black Panther Party

In 1968, an articulate young Jamaican woman named Connie Matthews, who was employed to UNESCO in Copenhagen, Denmark, helped to sponsor Bobby Seals visit to Scandinavia. Afterwards, she became active in the Danish Committee for Solidarity with the Black Panther Party. Energetic and dedicated to the Black liberation movement, Connie Matthews became the International Coordinator of the Black Panther Party in 1969. She spent several months visiting the Black Panther Headquarters in the United States, coordinating activities between the European solidarity committees and the Black Panther Party, writing for the Panther newspaper, and speaking at conferences. She briefly joined the Black Panther delegation to the Pan African Cultural Festival, and the following November Matthews returned to Algiers to collaborate with Cleaver on the international activities of the Black Panther Party in Europe.

Taken, in part from, The Black Panther Party Reconsidered, by Charles Earl Jones.

Information on Connie Matthews is very scarce. If anyone has any additional information on her, please email us with it at

Feedback from someone who met Connie Matthews

This email was sent to us on May 30, 2008

At the internet I looked for Connie Matthews, and since you are asking for further information about her I can tell as follows - it is not very much, I am sorry to say!

I am a danish woman, 75 years old, who 1970 divorced my husband to marry a highly idealistic medical doctor who became the love of my life & vice versa. He suddenly died at the age of 56 after 6 years of happy marriage.

We were living in a large house north of Copenhagen, and on March 1970 Kathleen Cleaver came from Algiers with her infant baby to recover from intense stress & fatigue. At this time I had never heard about The Black Panther Party and Eldridge Cleaver. She stayed in the house until March 10th 1970, and on her departure she signed my husband´s danish translation of Soul on Ice with these words: For the good doctor & revolutionary, Dr. Erik Jørgensen, who has done us a wonderful favour. Many thanks Kathleen Cleaver.

I saw Kathleen only once (before I moved in) but I have never talked with her, I was bashfull and insecure. She seemed quite remote, and I did not know what to say to her.

Not long after her departure arrived Connie Matthews. She was very beautifull and kind, I never forgot her. She and my husband spent hours talking together, discussing political things I did not have any assumptions at all to understand.

Connie had a boyfriend (vaguely I remember that his name was Jan) he was a very nice, danish man, taking good care of her, loving her at nights, if I may say so)
But generally the start of my living in Vedbæk, Denmark, was quite stressful. The telephone rang all the time (from Algiers I guess) mostly by night, and Connie herself telephoned a lot long distance, probably to Black Panther Party members.
In the mornings when my husband had gone to the Copenhagen hospital (he was a chief doctor) Connie came into the dining room to have breakfast and coffee with me, she was such a tender and warmhearted woman! By the way - I did not know she was a Jamaican, in fact I did at that time not know anything at all, except being a housewife!

Now for many years I have been an author, right now I am writing memoirs of my life with "the revolutionary doctor" 1969-1976. I have made a lot of research, and doing so I read about Eldridge Cleaver, and to-day I know all the things I did not show any interest in when I was in my thirties. I think he was a really fantastic person!!
During research I was awfully sad internetwise to learn about the death of Connie Matthews in Jamaica as a victim of cointelpro.

Sorry I did not contribute with very much concerning Connie. Take care of yourself, whoever you are reading this mail.

Kindly regards
Inge Krog Holt

Bonita Jamaica
Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Opal Palmer Adisa - Literary Critic, Prose Writer, and Storyteller

Jamaican born, Opal Palmer Adisa is a literary critic, poet, prose writer, and storyteller. Her published works are: Caribbean Passion, poetry (Peepaltree Press, 2004); Leaf-of-Life, poetry (Jukebox Press, 2002); The Tongue is a Drum, CD of poetry and jazz with devorah major (Irresistible Recordings, 2003); It Begins With Tears, (Heinemann, 1997); Tamarind and Mango Women, winner of the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award (1992); traveling women (1989); Bake-Face and Other Guava Stories (1986); and Pina, the Many-Eyed Fruit (1985); and the recording Fierce/Love with devorah major (1992).

Read more about Opal Palmer Adisa here: Creative Work Fund

Bonita Jamaica
Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

First Jamaica Restaurant Opens in China

By Jason Walker
Atlanta GA

The official opening to the Cho-Cho Jamaican restaurant in Hangzhou China was held during the summer of 2007. According to owner Glendon Thompson this is the first Jamaican restaurant to be opened in the country of 1 Billion people. Amazingly Thompson who is from Jamaica, lives in Atlanta and then opened the restaurant in Asia, this is truly a global business.

Such a global trotting business activity came about from a "desire to introduce the culture of Jamaica to Chinese friends in a personal way. They knew we were track stars but not much else. The Chinese love to eat and socialize. While they eat they hear Jamaican and Caribbean music", Thompson. Thompson also goes on to say that he chose to go into China because of a "real love for Chinese people".

To help make a good first impression, Thompson opened the restaurant with one of the top caterers in Georgia, Carmen Allen of the award winning Carmen Catering. Ms Allen was delighted for the opportunity and according to her the restaurant was big news in China and it was received positively in the city of 6 million people. When asked about keeping the authenticity of the food, Thompson said that "we do our best to keep it authentic, however the taste of the Chinese is different than ours. As the Chinese adjust to our taste when they bring their restaurants here I had to adjust to their taste. So it will be a little different taste. The important thing is that now they know our music and a taste of our food. Most of the ingredients are local, again a business decision. We will improve as time goes on."

In terms of how the residents responded to the food Thompson explained that "we had a month of taste testing and found out that the hottest of our food did not go over well in this part of China, we had to adjust to stay in business." Culturally though Thompson demonstrated that "we (Jamaicans and Chinese) have many things in common, especially the old time Jamaica where people looked after each other. Friendships are extremely important and I am fortunate enough to have many close Chinese friends."

On the status of the business he said that, "so far we are doing better than the other restaurants around in our area, but it will take some time to build up the clientele." He illustrates his ambitions as he expresses "I have learned a lot and hope to open more in other cities. You really have to have a deep love for the Chinese to succeed here. They see through phonies very quickly."

The opening was attended by The Ambassador from Jamaica, Wayne McCook, officials from the city of Hang Zhou, owner Glendon Thompson, Chef Carmen Allen and partners Zhang Bingyang and Qiao Jing. The Red Army's military band provided the fanfare music. Reggae was played by violins.

Glen Thompson lives in Atlanta and is married to Claire McLeveighn, director of external affairs and international relations for the City of Atlanta and two sons. Carmen Allen, in addition to running her own catering firm, has events every Sunday at a Jamaican venue called Kozy Cove. Carmen is also a member of the Kingston Technical Alumni Association and a hard working community activist.

Story taken in part from Caribbean Life Central

Bonita Jamaica
Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jamaica Dominates 2007 World Tourism Awards

And the Oscar goes to JamaicaJamaicaJamaica. Big up all the players in Jamaica’s tourism industry. Congratulations to you all and keep up the excellent work. Bim!

At the prestigious 2007 World Travel Awards (‘the tourism Oscars’), Jamaica ruled.

Jamaica, on the heels of recording exceptional stopover visitor numbers for 2007, dominated this year's awards, which were held on December 12, 2007 at the Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort and Spa in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

Jamaica was judged the leading Caribbean destination and leading cruise destination. In addition, Air Jamaica was judged the region's leading airline, and also garnered the best business class and best airline Web site awards.

Not surprisingly, the Jamaica Tourist Board took home the leading tourist and conventions bureau title. In addition, the Sandals Resorts all-inclusive resort chain alone won a mammoth 16 trophies, including, The Bahamas' leading resort, and leading spa resort awards (won by Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort). It also won the world's best all-inclusive award, and the Caribbean's leading hotel brand award (for the 14th year in a row). Jamaican companies Chukka Caribbean Adventures and Trafalgar Travel were named the Caribbean's leading nature adventure excursion and leading travel agency respectively. Winners of the awards were decided by 167,000 travel professionals in over 2,000 countries.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said Jamaica is expecting a record 1.8 million visitors for the 2007/2008 winter season.

See you in Jamaica.

Story taken in part from The Nassau Guardian

Bonita Jamaica
Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Friday, December 07, 2007

US Library of Congress Selects 'Burnin'

Published on Friday December 7, 2007 in the Jamaica Gleaner
Story by Mel Cooke, Freelance Writer

'Burnin' smokes in US Library of Congress

Burnin', the 1973 Island Records album which was the swansong for the core Wailers unit of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, has been chosen for perpetual preservation in the United States Library of Congress.

A release from Tuff Gong International Ltd. said "Each year the United States Library of Congress selects a small number of audio recordings to preserve for all time in the National Recording Registry, based on their historical, artistic or cultural importance … "

In an interview with Ben Manilla, recorded at Tuff Gong Recording Studio for the National Public Radio programme 'All Things Considered' that will itself be preserved by the Library of Congress, Mrs. Rita Marley said that "The album Burnin' was the work of prophets."

Shared lead vocals

Burnin' begins with Get Up, Stand Up, Marley and Tosh sharing lead vocals, and ends with the arrangement by all three of the traditional Rastaman Chant. In between are lead vocal cuts from Bunny Wailer - Halleluijah Time, and Tosh - One Foundation, with Marley singing lead on all the other songs, which include I Shot The Sheriff, Burnin' and Lootin' and Small Axe.

Burnin' went to a high of number 151 on the Billboard Pop Albums charts and 41 on the Black Albums listing.

The National Recording Registry was created by the National Recording Preservation Act in 2000 "to maintain and preserve sound recordings and collections of sound recordings that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Recordings nominated

A recording has to be over 10 years old to be considered for inclusion and the public can nominate recordings for consideration.

Among the songs already in the registry are Fats Domino's Blueberry Hill, Nat 'King' Cole's Straighten Up and Fly Right, One o'clock Jump by Count Bassie and his orchestra, What's Going On by Marvin Gaye, and The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Speeches include Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream'.

Bonita Jamaica
Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.