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

Categories: Caribbean, Jamaica, Citizen Media, Elections, Politics

Images of Joe Biden [2] and Kamala Harris [1] by Ted Eytan [3] on Flickr, both CC BY-SA 2.0 [4].

On a gloomy Saturday morning, as the island continued to feel the effects [5] from the outer bands of Tropical Storm Eta, and as COVID-19 cases [6] continued to climb, Jamaican netizens erupted in celebration [7] 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 [8], 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 [9]‘s famous feel-good song “What a Bam Bam” [10] (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 [19] and called her historic achievement [20] a “monumental accomplishment for women all over the world”:

A resident of St. Ann (the birthplace of Harris’ father [23]) 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 [31]:

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 [44]. 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″ [45] as around 300,000 Jamaicans live there.

Jamaicans were delighted with the final result, however, and took little digs [46] 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.