Several weeks ago Channel 4 and production company Acme brought viewers the documentary ‘My Crazy New Jamaican Life’, in honour of ‘Black History Month’.
‘My Crazy New Jamaican Life’ (which was originally going to called ‘Yardie Wives’) focused on two English women,Debbie and Holly who ‘are each immersed in or passionate about Jamaican culture, from X-rated bashment styles to food, patois or having a family with a Jamaican-born man’.
After the documentary aired the backlash came thick and fast and singer Shola Ama also received criticism for agreeing to narrate the documentary .(Click Here).
Those of us (myself included) who felt that Jamaican culture had been misrepresented contacted Channel 4 and today I received a reply from the broadcaster.
Whenever a TV show or documentary is commissioned that features black people there is always an agenda and it is never good. Jamaican men who have a succession of different partners and “baby mothers” do not represent an entire culture and not every Jamaican man lives this lifestyle. My Crazy New Jamaican Life basically promoted the idea that Jamaican culture is just Dancehall music, food and men who have large numbers of children with different women. This was a deliberate misrepresentation of an entire culture all done in the name of “entertainment”.
I also believe that a deliberate decision was made to air this nonsense during ‘Black History Month’. If you wanted to focus on Jamaica during this particular month then why did you not commission a documentary that shows a balanced view of Jamaica/Jamaican life and examines Jamaica’s past, present and future?
Why not educate those who lack real knowledge about Jamaica and teach them about historical figures like the Maroons, Nanny, Paul Bogle, Marcus Garvey, and also look at what has happened in Jamaica both politically and socially in the past, and how particular events have helped to shape the Island in to what it is today.
The way black people are portrayed on British television in general is a joke, and this is made worse when black people (e.g.producer/director Vanessa Van-Yeboah) assist networks like Channel 4 with their distortion of black culture for a cheque.
Dear Miss Spence,
Thank you for your email regarding the First Cut documentary, My Crazy New Jamaican Life.
We are sorry to read you feel the film presented an unfair portrayal of life in Jamaica. It was not the intent of the director to offend or besmirch either Jamaica or its people, but to provide a film portraying a personal overview of the experiences of the two female participants only. It never claimed to be a representation of all white British women’s relationships to Jamaican people or those of Jamaican heritage, only that as seen through the eyes and experiences of these two women who viewed the film prior to transmission and agreed that it was a true reflection of their lives.
However, we appreciate you taking time to write in with your comments, which have been noted for the information of those responsible for the programme.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate all feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise.
Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries
I am still cackling at this WEAK reply that fails to address points made in my email. Also it seems old Alex here has spent the last two weeks copying and pasting the same reply to everyone, and if my memory serves me correctly this is more or less the same response Acme tweeted a day after the documentary aired.
Hahahahaha – You ain’t slick Channel 4
Normally when situations like this occur the producer/director steps out of the shadows, apologises and then goes on to defend his/her work. But still no word from Vanessa Van-Yeboah.
Channel 4, Acme and Vanessa really did not see any of this coming.