Cotton Tree Inn

Miss Janise at Jamaica Inn Hotel
Everywhere I look beyond The Cotton Tree Inn; black flesh seemed tied to the purse strings of foreigners paying for sex with drinks, meals, gifts, and cash. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. My first trip back to Jamaica in over three decades was supposed to be a voyage of discovery – a joy.
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My Heimlich Manoeuvre Joke Falls Flat in Jamaica

HEIMLICH MANOEUVRE JOKE FALLS FLAT IN JAMAICA

I’m on holiday in Jamaica hanging out with friends and some people they know. Everybody is telling stories. People are laughing and fooling around, and then, they turn to me and say, “Hey, Paul, tell us a joke from England, nuh man? You must know whole heap-a-good jokes from over there.” I’m like, no, you know, I’m no good at jokes. They say, “Come, man. We’re all here telling jokes, drinking rum, and acting stupid. What you have for

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Chinese Invasion

Chinese invasion Ghana

The Chinese are adept at adapting. See them navigating the markets, streets and tro-tros of Accra in 90-degree heat like true Africans. They’re telling us without uttering a word that they’re here to set down roots at least for a while.

Whole families have come, it seems. Darting through the crowds in small but perfectly ordered ant-like patterns, paying little or no mind to anyone else but the people in their group, and the odd sellers, street vendors, and

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State of Emergency

Emergency Care

An old man walked into the 37th Military Hospital in Accra early one morning. He had known all his life that the 37th Military Hospital in Accra was a place for deserving Ghanaians, and so he had travelled there from far, obviously very sick and in need of emergency

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Black woman, white children

Children from Village of the Damned

The young American white couple a few doors away from me are leaving Ghana today. So I’m told. “Too poor,” they say. “One minute, water no lights. Next minute, lights no water.” They’ve had enough. After five years of working to improve education in this country, where their two children were born, they’re packing their bags and hauling their doll-like offsprings back to the good ole US of A; Colorado, I believe.

I’m relaying this story to you,

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Tommie Smith and John Carlos on Higher Ground

black power sporting salute

It remains one of the most iconic photographs in sporting history. Heads bowed, black-gloved fists raised aloft, on a sweltering hot night in Mexico City, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos propelled themselves into the history books.

The image still resonates with quiet dignity and a palpable rage that is almost shocking to behold, especially in these politically neutered times. We live in an age of bland sporting automata, steeped in the language of PR, super-aware of their

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Big Man / Small Boy in Ghana

On Being a Big Man in Ghana

So here I am in Ghana in the middle of the night with no one to meet me because the London Heathrow to Accra flight is twelve hours late.

“Irie, Rasta man!”, says the tallest of the taxi drivers trying to handle my luggage outside the gates of Katoka International Airport.

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Dutchman (1966) 55 mins

Dutchman

Dutchman (1966) is the 55 mins film adaptation of Armri Baraka’s shocking one-act stageplay, first presented at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City in March, 1964. It won the Obie Award for best off-Broadway play, putting Baraka, who was actively contributing to five other plays at the time, into the public limelight. Actors: Shirley Knight, Al Freeman Jr., Frank Lieberman, Robert Calvert, Howard Bennett. Director: Anthony

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Herman Leonard in The Age of Jazz

Jazz Photographer Herman Leonard

Friend and photographer to the immortals of jazz, Herman Leonard is the daddy of jazz photography. Paul Boakye caught up with a living legend still in pursuit of pleasure.

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, March 6th 1923, Herman Leonard was eight years old when he walked into a darkroom and saw naked pictures of his brother’s wife developing in a tray. It was 1931 with no Playboy magazine or anything like that around and the nudity shocked him. Then he

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