i met the great artivist, musician, powerhouse, only once in Belize City. She had just performed and there were some details not sorted out. She seemed a bit upset, but still managed to express her sentences with "daalin."
i listened patiently. It amazed me, that this artist, whom i grew up listening to, whom i told my little brother i wanted to question about "ah wa kno who seh Kriol no gah no kulcha," would discuss her frustrations to me, much less even talk to me.
But this woman was humble.
She didn't even know me. Who the hell was I in the Belizean cultural landscape? But she talked to me, with the respect and trust reserved for a colleague of the craft.
i was blown away.
But i was sad too. Why do we mistreat our artists in Belize?
Why did the great queen, i refer to her as such because she looked, dressed and acted regally. She was a queen.
Why would she ever need to be frustrated about anything?
As i sat last night, and saw Winsom perform the spiritual send off, and Ernestine sing the anthem and the Belize Dance Company and Precision and Style dance her music, i became overwhelmed with emotions.
LeeLa was so powerful! Maybe more, than we ever even figured.
i wish we would have honoured her everyday while she lived to see and appreciate it.
This is a plea from artist to my Belizean society. Please honour your artists, your athletes, every ambassador or culture.
Do this while they are here to see and appreciate it.
Let artists know how much you respect and value their work.
Without culture, to rephrase LeeLa's beautiful words, we have no heartbeat.
Without a heartbeat, there is no life.
Rest LeeLa! Thank you so much for everything you did.
i hope the Kriol Museum is taken up by NICH, or any interested party. i hope it will be well funded and maintained.
i hope there will be a national Kriol day and that we observe it annually.
Thanks for explaining also culture so simply: "everything da kulcha, how you talk, what you eat, how you live, everything" now we can rest assured and know, that artists are no foreign elements residing on the periphery of life, we actually reside within the beating heart of life. Massaging it, keeping it beating.
Thank you LeeLa Vernon.
Thank you so very much.
Rest in Power!