They Thought They Hurt Her By Saying “Teck dat dutty bumpyhead gyal off di TV”
The year was 1996. I was hosting a TV programme and viewers thought were hurting me (silly them), by saying things like “Teck dat dutty bumpyhead gyal off di TV / tek dat rasta looking gyal off di TV/ If my maid came to work looking like you I would send her home / you are a damn disgrace to women / you are like dirt.”
You see, I was raised by two wonderful parents who affirmed me daily and told me how wonderful I am. Some people were angry on my behalf, but me, with all the aplomb and ‘in your face-ness’ possible, I wore my hairstyle with pride.
In 2018 when I was to receive the Order of Distinction and told a young woman that I would wear the Nubian knots (Chiney Bumps) to the ceremony, she remarked, “Den Miss, you no afraid people laugh an say yuh a follow young gyal hair style?”
This poem was my response in 1996. It was the title of my first cassette (for those old enough to remember cassette).


They Thought They Hurt By Saying Teck dat dutty bumpyhead gyal off di TV
Tell mi say mi no good enough fi you TV screen
How mi offend you eyesight
Tell mi say mi is a black, ugly, bumpyhead gyal
And mi tell you, mi feeling right
Cuss mi say mi is a bootoo, an mi no have no class
Trace mi an galang rude
Tell mi say a educated woman should a know better
An mi tell you, mi feeling good
You say mi hairstyle disgusting chaka chaka an tan bad
An favour like something out a street
An say mi should a shame fi lef mi house tan so
An mi smile, for mi feeling sweet
You see, di truth is, mi not ashamed of mi owna self
Mi not afraid of me
When mi look into the mirror, mi like the somebody
Weh mi see a look pon me
Mi like her thick nappy har an her broad face
Mi like her in and out of clothes
But most of all mi love weh she tan up for an defend
An, a no pose she a pose
But serious, when you a go fall in love with you
An let go of all you fear
When you going to take the time tell God thanks fi yuh life
Instead of fret bout ‘hair’
For if it kinky or straight, it if black or white
Transparent or opaque
God make all a wi fi a special reason
And God don’t make mistake
So if you want to criticize the Father work
Then you life going to be ‘salt’
For the Creator love all a wi an look out fi wi
Even when wi have nuff fault
So galang, call mi black an bumpyhead if you want
But make sure say you say it loud
Because the Creator love mi, an mi feel good
(Joan Andrea Hutchinson © 1996)

About the Author

Joan Andrea Hutchinson Bumpyhead Gal 1
Joan Andrea Hutchinson is a Public Speaking Coach, Communications Specialist, Remedial Language Teacher, English Language Guru, Writer, Storyteller, Actress, Motivational Speaker and Teacher. She is also a producer and presenter for radio and TV. She has been writing poems and stories in the Jamaican Patois dialect for more than 20 years. Follow Joan online.

Photo by Richard Lannaman