The Bourban Man ~
I have seen this character just about each and every time I have visited Negril, dating back sometime to the 1980s. The Bourban Man is a well renowned character on the 7-mile strip, and everyone knows him best for pacing up and back down the white sandy beach calling out,
“Tonight, tonight, at the Bourban Beach Café, live reggae music by up and coming artists you surely will not want to miss! Come check it out tonight from 9pm until the sun comes up!”
You get the gist. He doesn’t always say the exact same phrase. There is variation involved, but you get the point I am trying to make. The Bourban Man is essentially the Bourban Beach Cafés “hype man” of sorts. His very distinct and deep voice can very easily be distinguished from hundreds of yards down the beach, even without the megaphone in hand.
The Bourban Man, megaphone in hand, and all
The Bourbon Man and his beautiful wing-woman
Venturing up the beach to promote the BBC
The megaphone acts as an emphasizer to get his message across to as many people as possible, and from my no-tourist experiences here, I can tell you that it works quite well. The Bourban Beach is normally packed with people from diverse backgrounds – Jamaicans, both Rastas and Vampayas; tourist folk; no tourist folk such as myself; among several other types of people. The island as a whole cherishes and boasts flavorful cultural diversity, one of the many reasons as to why I always find myself coming back to Negril, Jamaica.
Back in the day, the Bourban Beach used to be called "Da Bus." This was back in '87, and somewhere along the lines, the name was changed to "Bourban Beach." When I visited Negril back in the late 80s, I can distinctly remember the strong smelling pimento wood and spices used to cook the jerk chicken filling the air, which at the time, was located street-side.
Now, whenever you go to "Bourban Beach," the seating area is located beach-side.
Da Bus still standing street-side, overgrown with vegetation
I recall the jerk being much better back in the late 80s when the chicken was smoked 24/7 in old metal drums used for cooking and smoking the meat right on the street. I can very distinctly remember the street bustling as people lined up to get Da Bus's world famous jerk chicken. Now the best jerk in Negril, at least in my personal opinion, is at a place called "Three Dives," pronounced "Tree Dives" by the locals.
One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the option to order an ice-cold traditional red stripe with your jerk chicken and fries.
The now, Bourban Beach, is a place where live music is played, performers have the chance to showcase their talented skillsets, and spectators can enjoy all of which is taking place while sipping on an ice-cold red stripe. One of the many great performers I have seen at the BBC was a character that has been around the block a time or two. I don’t know how old exactly, but I can tell you he is probably older than what your guess would be (meaning he looks pretty dang good for his age).
The fire-eater in action on stage!
He dances and jives to the music on stage while playing with the fire burning torches. He contorts his body and moves around effortlessly just as he was born to do. The main event of his performance is when he takes the torches and engulfs the flames with his mouth and extinguishes the fire. Here is a picture of my son and the fire-eater himself back in August of 2007. Does anyone from down in Negril know if this man is still alive? I would seriously love to know if you do.
The Bourban “hype” Man is an important figure here in Negril, but even more specifically, for the Bourban Café. He plays an important role, bringing people to together to chill out, vibe, and enjoy the live reggae music and performances by entertainers here at the BBC. Kind of similar to what we have going on here with the #reggaesteem community. The founders of the #reggaesteem community, in this particular metaphorical sense and for stories sake, are like the “hype” men. They have brought people together who have a common interest in spreading the #onelove vibrations to share amongst the community as a whole, and this includes whatever sort of content that may be of value to the community altogether.
If you ever venture to Negril, look for the Bourban Man, and tell him personally that you have heard of him before from @super-irie. Currently, he is a very famous and familiar face here in Negril, but this can change by spreading the #onelove vibrations throughout the #reggaesteem community, which has closely adjoined members from across the globe.
Hey @donald.porter, I am sure very well that you personally know "The Bourban Man." What can you tell us about the Bourban Man that I have failed to present in my article since this feature is not one that I know on a personal level like my previous four posts in the Faces of Jamaica, a ten-part series?
If you missed the previous four Faces of Jamaica and wish to view the previous posts in this series, you may visit them at the referenced links below:
- Faces of Jamaica [Part 1 of 10] "The Brain Doctor
- Faces of Jamaica [Part 2 of 10] Dean "Bongo" Robertson
- Faces of Jamaica [Part 3 of 10] The Story of "Mitchigan'z and Blackz"
- Faces of Jamaica [Part 4 of 10] "Michael the Key Keeper"