September 13, 2014 by Fensic
After ah read what ah write ah know I ah fall short. Ah could ah do better by namin names. Instead, larse week ah make it seem like is everybody doin dey share an more tuh keep de Caribbean culture alive an well in East Orange an de places arong it.
When ah say dat is only one person ah pointin at oui. Not because dat person is ah malingerer or nuttin but because dey does do so much udders does take dem fuh granted.
Who ah dey wid?
Gail nah. Gail Bell-Bonnette. Dat pepper name after she.
When I tork about T&T culture an East Orange like ah do larse week, I was takin she fuh granted. Gail is one ah dem rare people dat it have out dey who funny one minute, rude de next, dedicated tuh dey causes an ah delight tuh be arong all de time. She passionate about what she believe an does not only walk de walk, buh tork de tork.
Me eh know Gail whole story buh all dat eh necessary. Ah know when we meet she make mih feel like we was family. Is only afterwards ah realize what kind ah family—de Trini family an by extension de West Indian family. Eef yuh meet she, doh waste time wonderin what scene she orn eh. Just enjoy being part ah de family. Is okay eef yuh not ah Trini, trust mih. Of course yuh could be ah baxide an act like yuh not in eidder family. Let she see dat early so she doh waste time wid yuh. She could be spendin dat time promotin one ah she passions.
Not knowin she full story eh mean ah have reason tuh doubt what ah hear. Dat she was ah contestant on Auntie Kay an Uncle Bob as ah lil gyul back in de day an she win. Ah did always want tuh know what winners did get so ah go have tuh ask she. She used tuh live right in tong, dat is where de nickname Tong Woman come from. Ah also eh have no reason tuh doubt dat she end up in Brooklyn in de late 60s where she went tuh school before movin tuh East Orange. She livin dey fuh donkey years buh when she tork, yuh would lose yuh money eef yuh bet she now leave Triniland.
Me eh tink it have ah ting goin orn in dat city havin tuh do wid Trini/Caribbean culture an she eh not know about it. She always organizin, delegatin, an when necessary, shamin who only want tuh stand on de sidelines an watch den enjoy de fruits ah everybody else hard wuk.
She could shame yuh like only ah Trini know how tuh shame people. Yuh know yuh well shamed when yuh too laughin wid everybody else as de shamin goin dong. Gail dat good.
Just like de Dramatics did sing, what yuh see wid Gail is what yuh get.
Ah remember ah nice house party Gail did give. It was tuh celebrate dat she husband was still arong despite de medical battles he was fightin.
She give ah lil speech so people could see an share in she happiness. When she shed a few tears of joy an hug she husband some ah we had tuh swallow hard tuh stay in control.
De next minute ah iron section break out an had everybody rememberin Carnival of old. Tork about iron gettin beat good. Den someting cyatch mih eye. It was Gail in de middle ah de sweet iron beatin iron better dan all dem men oui.
Sadly, she husband passed since.
Den it had de Gail Bell-Bonnette at dis year’s independence anniversary celebration. All ah we who tink we in ting was eatin we peas an rice wid stew chicken an macaroni when Gail get up tuh remind we ah de need tuh get involved. Why? She had signs ah she own mortality. Yuh would tink people like she who doin good would get ah break from bodderin wid tings like dat buh it do wuk dat way. Still, she in ah league by sheself. Dat time she was askin udders tuh play dey part even eef it is tuh make copies of flyers.
Anybody doin what Gail does do have tuh be smart so, she smart. As part ah de annual celebration ah Trini independence she does recognize people who makin ah difference in de community. In doin so she prove dat yuh doh have tuh be in de limelight skinnin yuh teet lookin fuh praise. You could be de person in de backgrong makin dem copies year in year out. Just be reliable. Recognition is all it take tuh motivate some people.
In 1986 someting call NJCC—New Jersey Carnival Committee get formed. Credit Gail wid dat. It was de impetus fuh de Caribbean Parade de city used tuh have. Dat was ah big ting an Gail in de middle now ah bringin dem days back.
Larse year she invite mih tuh do ah lil interview.
I eh mention she have ah radio program? Dat is how ting wid she stop, yuh does take everyting fuh granted. Anyway ah geh lorse an reach de place late so ah outside on de pavement bawlin fuh dem tuh let mih een. How I was supposed tuh know people listenin tuh de show was hearin mih carryin orn? When ah friend tell me dey was laughin at mih ah just had tuh smile cause up tuh now me eh know why ah wasn’t cussin while hollerin.
She doh only give out awards, she does get recognized too. Like in 2012 when de Essex County Board choose she as one ah de honorees at dey annual Women’s History Month celebration.
Gail activities in de radio world eh gorn unrecognized as CaribbeanNation give she ah award fuh she efforts in de campaign against cancer. De fight against cancer is one ah she passions an she deeply involved in de annual walk against de disease especially how now it personal.
It would be nice eef all ah sayin here givin a complete portrait ah Gail Bell-Bonnette. But ah know ah fallin way short, not even de surface getting scratch.
Before ah did get comfortable wid dat ah was tempted tuh ask fuh more information from people who closer tuh she—de DJ in she radio program an de color commentator come tuh mind. In de end ah settle fuh some factual information.
So while it have udder people involve in keepin de Caribbean culture wheel movin, ah wheel does have only one hub an plenty spokes. All dem udders is spokes. Gail Bonnette is de hub.
CaribbeanNation put it best when it tork about de Gails ah dis world. It say, “these people are significantly important within our Caribbean regions and they should be highly recognized in a more bold and daring fashion for the entire world to see.”
Just writin dat make mih feel better dat ah do better dan larse time.
Sorry, comments are closed.