Lisa Hanna, Fr. HoLung and the Very Vexed Chronixx ‘Debate’


I am warning you in advance, this post is about Lisa Hanna, Chronixx and Fr. Ho-Lung and it is a ‘little’ longish. But, mostly, it is about Lisa Hanna and Chronixx. So, proceed at your own risk…!

I have said before and am going to say it again, public figures, including government officials, entertainers and athletes – many of whom have very visible profiles, must be mindful of how they engage with public spaces. Their comments, though intended to say one thing, can be articulated into consciousness in entirely different ways and with unintended consequences. This is especially given the media saturated environment in which we live now.

With that said, let me back-track to a certain ‘year-in-review’ offered by a certain Roman Catholic priest about a certain Minister of Government, who formerly occupied the enviable role of ‘the most beautiful girl in the world’. Sure, some of us will disagree on that title, but still…!

Needless to say, all were convinced that the priest in question was out of line and some even claimed, very harsh, in his critique of the charming, young Minister. His comments were deemed all the more objectionable, given that he is supposed to be in the business of understanding the weakness of the human condition, even as he and others like himself, seek to direct us to a higher plane of existence through an invocation of the Divine.

People were not so understanding, however; after all, as an old man who has taken a vow of chastity, poverty and obedience what could he possibly know about the sharp-witted and, unanimously agreed, beautiful Ms Hanna, herself in the bloom of youth? He was definitely off-base.

However, let us step back for a moment and consider that sometimes we say things and in ways they were never intended to be said in terms of how they came out. The critique of the Minister of Youth and Culture by Fr. HoLung was, by all accounts, one such example. It was heavy-handed.

It is worth remembering that when Fr. HoLung wrote, at the time, it was with the painful memories as well as the full account of the history of the Alpha Boys’ Home and the subsequent closure; and all the factors surrounding that, as his context. He may not have clearly articulated his criticism in a way to convey the veracity of his upset but the sincerity of the pain which motivated his remarks were shared by many. And not just by Roman Catholics.

Many others also felt that the way in which the closure of the Alpha Boys’ Home had occurred and the manner in which the rich and powerful history of the institution was treated, further to the Minister’s comments, were tantamount to an egregious betrayal of public trust. Fr. HoLung did not disguise his feelings very well on that day. The varnish came off.

Fast-forward to just under a week ago and the comments made by up-and-coming Reggae artiste Chronixx in the aftermath of the POTUS’ visit to Jamaica suggesting that President Obama is equivalent to a ‘waste man’ – a term used in the Jamaican popular culture lexicon to reference superfluity and an extremely reduced sense of significance. Should we assume that the post was intended as critique for the President, in particular, and United States foreign policy, more generally, it is safe to say Chronixx has a very large bone of contention with the two.

Shortly, after the hastily removed post, itself screened shot for the purposes of making ‘news’ in Jamaica – and, one assumes beyond these borders, the erstwhile  Youth and Culture Minister took to social and other media to register her reaction to the young artiste’s comments. Her remarks were, rightly, taken as a very strenuous reprimand.

Caught up in the euphoria of the official visit of the 44th US President, Ms Hanna may have crossed the line in her rebuttal of the young Reggae artiste’s social media rant.

We need to remember that at twenty-two years old and with lesser amounts of experience and comparable exposure, Chronixx may well have spoken out of turn. it certainly behooves all of us to be a little more careful in our criticism in this scenario.

Note, as an artiste and a young man living not just in Jamaica but also the world, Chronixx has every right to register his disagreement with the circumstances in which he finds himself implicated and the political agenda(s) he believes himself to be vested with, given his role as performing artist.

Still, there is also need for balance and respect in how we conduct ourselves in certain (public) spaces. disrespectful behaviour cannot be overlooked in the name of ‘youthful exuberance’. In the same way, ‘elders’ must justify their billing and be more mindful of and reflective in how they offer needed feedback. Shooting from the hips is rarely ever the answer.

Both Minister Hanna and Fr. HoLung and now Chronixx are, at various points, all intersected in that discussion. How we proceed from this point forward is a matter on which we will have to earnestly decide as a society.

Personally, I vote for forgiveness, understanding and respect. However, that has to come through a meaningful reflection on exactly what constitutes the issue. Otherwise, it will all ring very hollow.

…What say you?

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