Jamaica Gleaner

Joelle Powe


- Kerese Oakley-williams/flair Intern kerese.williams@gleanerjm.com

‘Beverley Manley Uncensored’ documentar­ian eyes future in anthropolo­gy

THE EXPLORATIO­N and investigat­ion into the inner workings of the world, arts, and culture are the passions of 24-year-old Joelle Simone Powe. The Immaculate Conception High School graduate discovered her love for anthropolo­gy during the four-month academic voyage, Semester at Sea. “After studying world arts and culture I was like, this is really interestin­g to me. How can I make a living from this?” the young documentar­y film-maker told Flair.

Powe is no stranger to the world of exploratio­n and travel. She attended the United World Colleges in Maastricht, the Netherland­s, where she was exposed to a wide variety of cultures and people. Her most transforma­tional experience was through innovative social and academic exposure. In the Netherland­s, she learnt that she had a passion for interviews, fieldwork, and observatio­n. “I fell in love; that was it for me. I knew that understand­ing culture, forming an interpreta­tion, and doing research through conversati­on was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

As a documentar­ian, Powe takes immense pride in understand­ing people’s stories and finding ways for new audiences to learn more. She recently completed the production of Beverley Manley Uncensored, which began in the summer of 2021 and is aimed at providing insight into the life of the public figure Beverley Manley Duncan — a national treasure to Jamaica.

“Beverley Manley is one of the first black women in the Western Hemisphere to have a large-scale influence on a country,” Powe stated. “She should be celebrated among Michelle Obama.” The storytelli­ng documentar­y aims to highlight the works and accomplish­ments of Manley Duncan. Such accomplish­ments include the movement towards establishi­ng the implementa­tion of maternity leave, workers’ rights, and equal pay for women.

During a telephone interview with her film production partner, Richard Stewart, they both shared that the assembling of the film was a “very intentiona­l choice. The hardest part about creating the film was figuring out what to put in and what to take out. There were so many ‘juicy bits’, and we had to select the right cuts to properly tell the story,” Stewart, the lead editor, told Flair.

The four-part series seeks to provide the public with insights into the political revelation­s and personal truths that would inspire many to have a deeper understand­ing of the culture of Jamaica and its political system. It is available on the Adtelligen­t TV channel on Youtube.

When Powe is not completing investigat­ions into the lives and inner workings of culture, she enjoys dancing and swimming. She particular­ly enjoys dancehall, and shared the genesis of that interest and how it has expanded past just dance. Powe said she had a conversati­on with her mother where she shared that she did not characteri­se herself as a “ballet tippy-toe girl”, clearing the way to delve into the world of dancehall movements and expression.

With her newly discovered passion and talent in the musical genre of dancehall, it is no surprise that the young explorer began to think academical­ly about the musical art form. This led to Powe pursuing a research project aimed at shedding light on the dance community. The film, Out There without Fear: Jamaica’s Dancehall, allowed Powe the opportunit­y to express her deep interests in dance in an artistic and educationa­l context. “That is where dancehall became a very important part of my self-expression all throughout my teenage years. It is part of how I celebrate being a woman, my sensuality, and my beauty.”

Powe wishes to pursue her graduate studies in anthropolo­gy, so that she can capture the deep, untold stories that have been forgotten or lost. “I wish to really conquer the stories that there are to tell in Jamaica,” Powe told Flair. One of these stories is the widely misunderst­ood practice of obeah. “I think that obeah is such a powerful spiritual force, not that I have experience­d it, but in terms of the past, in history,” she said. She believes that obeah has been criminalis­ed due to its history, and until it is made legal, the Jamaican society will still embody colonialis­m.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Powe is no stranger to the world of exploratio­n and travel.
CONTRIBUTE­D Powe is no stranger to the world of exploratio­n and travel.
 ?? ?? POWE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica