June 14, 2019 will forever be etched in the memories of Canadians. On this day, the Toronto Raptors dethroned the Golden State Warriors in game 6 of the NBA finals, to win their first ever NBA title, taking the Larry O’Brien trophy across the border for the first time. The city came alive, the entire province rocked with excitement and the entire country beamed with pride!
And of course among those celebrating were the Jamaicans – we know how much “we love excitement”!
Quite a large number of Jamaican Canadians (Jamaican-born permanent residents or Canadian citizens of Jamaican descent) have settled in the Toronto Metropolitan area where the Jamaican culture has been embraced and accepted, so much so, the rest of the population has been drawn to bits of the patois language, the accent, food and music.
I was among the Jamaican Canadians making noise (creating excitement!) on that historic day and it was almost as no surprise when my phone dinged and the message was a meme! I knew they would come, but what I didn’t know was that the meme would be one of coach Nick Nurse, Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard dancing to Jamaican dancehall artist Konshens’ Do Sum’n!
And interestingly, it was also a Jamaican who come up with the Raptors Anthem – “Raptor Foot”. The two word chant, started as a motivating chant by Bob Turner to cheer on the team while watching them play Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs. On the day of game 1, Turner, who is a performer and goes by the stage name General Genius, was videoed at the corner of Front and York streets in Toronto, performing the song for people walking by who stopped to sing and dance along. The video would soon become viral and the song and dance became a thing! The song is rather catchy and will be stuck in your head for most of the day. Two words with a beat: Raptor Foot, Raptor Foot.
Canada is very diverse culturally and Jamaicans are not among the largest cultural groups despite so many of us being here. So who would have thought our culture would dominate this much? Surely not I!
Photo Source: George’s Tastee Foods Corp