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Jan 31, 2023

B.A.C. 20 Peace Exhibit Opens at Image Factory

An art exhibit showcasing the works of Raymond “Naphty” Jones is set to open on Wednesday at the Image Factory in Belize City.  But tonight, we look at the cultural connection between Belize and Africa, as seen through the eyes of Jones and his family.  Here’s our weekly Kolcha Tuesday feature.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Raymond Jones and his son share a proud heritage that is steeped in Afrocentrism.  Along with other members of the family, they are the Belize African Connection, a grassroots movement emphasizing African culture and the contributions of Africans to the development of Western civilization.


Raymond ‘Naphty’ Jones

Raymond ‘Naphty’ Jones, Belize African Connection

“Look at us, we are a people that used to dress like kings and queens and there’s a stereotype going on now that has, that has seemed to like deflated our value, like it’s just about deterioration, when we know we are part of this human dynamic and we bring so much to humanity for so long, as Africa being the cradle of civilization.”


Naphty, as Jones is otherwise known, is an artist and musician whose works, mainly with crocus and other fabrics, go on display on February first, in honor of Black History Month.


Raymond ‘Naphty’ Jones

“This exhibit is a journey of many years because crocus, unlike canvas, it has holes, so it’s layers and layers and layers, and sometimes I noh even paint for a year or so, two years, but some of these paintings are twenty years old, some are twenty-three years old.  But the reality of everything is that these are people that have been fighting for our rights.”


Those faces include Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, and Malcolm X.  There is also Haile Selassie, former Emperor of Ethiopia, and the key figure of Rastafari, a religious movement in Jamaica that emerged shortly after he became emperor in the 1930s.


Amal Jones

Amal Jones, Belize African Connection

“It took me a bit of years to realize it, but it’s a lot of privilege.  It’s a lot of privilege to grow up around art.  It’s a lot of privilege to grow up around the entrepreneurship, going for your own self, you know, and the most privilege for me is the music and that’s where I really [indulge] in.  I’ve been teaching it, been producing it, been making music for commercials and just about anything that you can do in the music arena, more or less.”


As part of the Belize African Connection, he is also a founder of the Drums Not Guns movement, a constructive social initiative that galvanized youths from across Belize City.  Amal Jones is second generation.


Amal Jones

“For me, all I can think of is how do we go about creating more stuff that the youths would have more outlets, so the third generation can now say, “Alright, my daddy took it to a next level and that was started by grandpa,” and we just kept on moving along down the line and nobody was really lost, you know.  Over the period of time, that’s why we are doing a lot of black icons, we have really lost our people, you know, we have really lost our people.  And here, especially in Belize, a lot of the average people don’t know that the black race was like in the Nineties or Eighties, or Seventies, was like eighty percent, was at seventy percent.  Right now, our race in our own country is like twenty or thirty percent.  So now, if I think about that as the second generation, it makes me have to ask myself, what will happen to the third generation?  Wih ah deh da ten percent then?”


According to Naphty, what is being presented is a display that encompasses various forms of artistic expression.


Raymond ‘Naphty’ Jones

“The idea, too, of this exhibit is not only just the crocus, because we do music, arts and craft.  So it’s arts, it’s craft, it’s everything. Back to the reality of this exhibit, it’s culture.  If we noh know weh wih come from and what we are all about, it’s hard to tell where we’re going.”


Isani Cayetano for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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