The Word Is Love: Jamaica's Michael Manley

About The Director

I really don’t like to talk about myself at all; But I will start with some basics. I was born in 1980 in Queens, New York to Jamaican parents. When I was young I would always hear my parents, grandparents, and uncles, refer to Jamaica not as Jamaica but as Home. I guess that’s where I began my longing to connect with Home in a way that could be lasting and show my appreciation for my heritage. In 2007 after the General Elections I took out a full page ad in the Jamaica Gleaner (September 19, 2007) in the form of an open letter to the people of Jamaica. In that letter I included my email address so people could contact me if they wished. I was truly surprised with the response, people; my fellow Jamaicans contacted me thanking me for writing the letter and that I should do more letters like that (I would but it cost me a pretty penny to run the ad for one day). So, it was around that point I started to try and think about what else I could do on a more lasting scale.

Now my inspiration to write that letter came from my grandfather who passed away in 2004. After college when I was unemployed I would take him to the store and just sit with him during the days as he was alone since my grandmother died in 2001. During these visits we would always end up talking about politics, and he would tell me stores about his young days in Jamaica where he would attend meetings and that Norman Manley would be there. He even told me that as a little girl my mother sat in Norman’s lap (that story would become a legend to me). Now both my grandfather and I have some serious left leaning views and he would tell me about how the US fought Jamaica and Michael Manley in the 70’s. It was at this time I decided to do some research into who Michael Manley was, I had heard the name seen pictures, knew he was a Prime Minister but I knew very little of who he was. So, began my search, It took me a few years to gather all his books (most of which are out of print) and having read them all by 2006 I said to a few co-workers “I wonder if I could do a documentary on Michael Manley…”

 

Fast forward to 2010 I was now 30 and I felt that the time was right to start on this project before I became settled in family life (as of writing this I have not settled and I am single). This time I set out reading all about documentary film making, editing, I starved myself for 4 months to afford the camera (my grandmother gave me the final $300 I need to make the purchase), took out a loan to buy lights, and luckily I received my bonus from my day job so I could purchase editing software. I set off contacting the Manley family and a few others who I thought would be interested. I started with a list of 5 people; I ended up interviewing 15! I think everyone was extremely surprised that here this one guy just showed up and did everything (lights, interview etc…), although in Jamaica I got help from my cousin Jerry who drove me to the interview locations. It was an interesting journey from conception to completion and now I am proud to finally be at this point and able to release a film that will show the world that Jamaica is more than reggae, ganja, and beaches, that we have scholars, leaders and a vibe that can change the world. I hope that my film also teaches young Jamaicans not to yield to pressures because if Michael Manley could stand up to the United States, we can do anything in the face of any adversary. This film is dedicated to my Fellow Jamaicans those at home and abroad.

 

Richard Audley Vaughan
25 December 2011
ravaughan1980@gmail.com