‘What a Bam Bam!’ Jamaicans celebrate Biden/Harris victory

Images of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris by Ted Eytan on Flickr, both CC BY-SA 2.0.

On a gloomy Saturday morning, as the island continued to feel the effects from the outer bands of Tropical Storm Eta, and as COVID-19 cases continued to climb, Jamaican netizens erupted in celebration as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were announced as president-elect and vice president-elect of the United States.

As was the case across the region, there was a flurry of humorous memes shared on social media channels, including via WhatsApp groups, but Jamaican social media — which enjoys a musical take on things — put their own stamp on the victory by sharing a video of a Philadelphia street party playing the music of the late “Toots” Hibbert‘s famous feel-good song “What a Bam Bam” (a title that means “What excitement”):

Others thought a favourite Jamaican folk song seemed appropriate:

Performer Nadine Sutherland updated one of her old dancehall hits in honour of Kamala Harris and posted the remix to Twitter:

Social media congratulations

Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ congratulatory tweet emphasised Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’ Jamaican heritage and called her historic achievement a “monumental accomplishment for women all over the world”:

A resident of St. Ann (the birthplace of Harris’ father) followed up:

Another popular Jamaican-born American — the TikTok comedian famous for her “Trump mimes”, Sarah Cooper — tweeted:

However, one local media personality felt that Jamaicans should not be so quick to claim Harris:

Nevertheless, there was acknowledgement of Harris’ Indian heritage too, and several social media users got quite emotional:

Many social media users, who loved Harris’ reaction to the news of the Democrats’ victory, retweeted her:

The US election eclipsed a smaller, local political poll, in which delegates to the People's National Party — currently in opposition — chose a new leader. People were generally much more inclined to discuss their disappointment in how Florida voted than their views on local party politics. South Florida is sometimes called “Kingston 21″ as around 300,000 Jamaicans live there.

Jamaicans were delighted with the final result, however, and took little digs at the outgoing president:

Jamaica to send JUTC [Jamaica Urban Transit Company] buses to assist with speedy removal of all that stuff from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Thanks to Kamala Harris’ connections.

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