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"I'NA SUIT YOU": what do a group of London yutes know about Jamaican Patois?

The cultural impact of Jamaica is seen in the way we speak, in what we consume, in how we move. Its cultural capital is immense but for many 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants it’s a bank that's been difficult to tap into.  


There are many reasons for this cultural deficit.  


Black history isn’t being taught widely enough and Black diasporic history is barely being scratched. Of the 59 GCSE history modules available from the 3 biggest exam boards only 5 mention the history of black people in Britain. We are not even learning our own history at the most basic level. 


There is a lack of understanding in our community on the beauty and validity of Jamaican Patois. Patois is a language. It is not English. It has its own rules and rhythm and unique body of vocabulary. Jamaican Patois being stigmatised and known as slang or grammatically incorrect English has had such an impact on how 2nd, 3rd generation immigrants engage with patois and their culture. 


Code switching will make you feel like you know two languages.  


There needs to be a greater understanding on how patois has assimilated into the vernacular of the diaspora.


I am done reading silly Daily Mail articles titled “Why are so many middle-class children speaking in Jamaican patois? A father of an 11-year-old girl laments a baffling trend.” Even though patois integrated into MLE in the 60s and 70s through music there is disdain in UK culture associating the language with crime and anti-social behaviour. 


Exhibiting the superiority complex of white British culture.




This project explores Jamaican Patois and celebrates art and culture in our loudest forms and the 7556km long cultural knowledge gap the London diaspora knows too well.


This project is funded by the History Shaper Fund.

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