Movies

Still keeping it cool

BY SADE GARDNER
Observer Writer

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

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The year 1993 was an exciting time in Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz made their first strides to the 1998 World Cup in France; P J Patterson was elected prime minister, and Colonel Trevor MacMillan was appointed commissioner of police. The entertainment scene was hopping. Today, we look back at some of the hot artistes, venues, movies and songs that Jamaicans tuned into.

DISNEY'S 1993 comedy Cool Runnings experienced a resurgence this year when Jamaica's first all-female bobsled team placed 19th at the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

The movie starred John Candy, Rawle D Lewis, Leon Robinson, Doug E Doug and Malik Yoba. It tells the story of Jamaica's underdog bobsledders who dreamt of competing at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada. In an interview with HipHopDX in February, to mark the movie's 25th anniversary, Yoba recalled auditioning alongside a famous rapper.

“When I auditioned for Cool Runnings, Tupac auditioned for Cool Runnings, and we went to have dinner,” he said.

“We just talked about the business and why he didn't want to take his nose ring out to audition for the movie,” he added.

The Jamaican bobsledders did not win a medal, but won the hearts of many fans worldwide by breaking stereotypes. Directed by Jon Turteltaub, Cool Runnings grossed US$154.9 million internationally.

The original members of the Jamaican team were Chris Stokes, his brother Dudley Stokes, Devon Harris and Michael White (alternates were Freddie “Reggae” Powell and Caswell Allen).

Cool Runnings made news in January when Wayland High School in Massachusetts banned it from its annual winter week. Principal Allyson Mizoguchi said the PG-rated movie depicted racial stereotypes. Chris Stokes, current president of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, weighed in on the ban.

“The US is certainly more sensitive and tuned in to the subtle nature of persistent racism and there is progress to be made there. Nevertheless, not everything is a plot to demean and degrade. I am encouraged that students of that age are willing to look, check themselves and think for themselves,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

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