The news of Ian Boyne’s death on Monday sent shockwaves across Jamaica. Boyne died following a short illness. Boyne had such a big impact on many Jamaicans through his vast body of media work.
Boyne was one of the most influential journalists in Jamaica’s history. His weekly TV show ‘Profile’ spanned 30 years and featured half hour interviews with successful Jamaicans from all walks of life and also international guests: all with an inspirational rags-to-riches story to share.
Guest have included Prince Buster, Usain Bolt, Renato Adams, Shaggy, Taye Diggs, Dawn Butler, Dr Henry Lowe, Leonie Forbes, Madge Sinclair, Marcia Griffiths and the late Lowell Hawthorne (Golden Krust).
Boyne’s other TV show ‘Religious Hardtalk’ featured passionate debates with guests from any religion (and I mean any) or spiritual beliefs. ‘Religious Hardtalk’ was a unique talk show. It was thought frank, thought provoking, controversial, good humoured and entertaining.
Guest have included former hardcore gangsters, dancehall entertainers, who transformed their lives due to a religious awakening.
Sometimes you had to wonder “Where does Ian Boyne find these guests?”
I will never forget the interviews Boyne did with former dancehall entertainer and now renowned preacher Goddy Goddy and some of his church members. It was just wild.
Boybe’s interview with Jamaican playwright Hugh King was also memorable to me. King – a former near neighbour – came out from decades of a self imposed hermit lifestyle to do the interview.
Having a hit TV show is never easy. So for Boyne to have 2 successful TV discussion shows on during the same period was a testament to his ability to keep both shows fresh and entertaining. Especially as both ‘ ‘Profile’ and ‘Religious Hardtalk’ were polar opposites.
All this terrific success while Boyne was still working as a senior executive at the government run Jamaica Information Service and a columnist for the Sunday Gleaner. Not to mention his ministerial duties in the church.
Boyne’s column in the Sunday Gleaner was always detailed, well researched and forthright.
But I loved ‘Profile’. Anytime I was away from Jamaica for lengthy periods, my family would video tape episodes for me to watch whenever I returned.
I have never met Mr Boyne but between 2004 and 2006 we did exchange emails regarding ‘Profile’. I admired him for taking the time to respond in the respectable manner that he always did.
In the UK, educational and social commentators lamented the perceived lack of positive black role models for young people of Afro Caribbean descent to look up to. Some didn’t like it when I challenged their lazy stereotypical perception. One of my suggestions was that they should request copies of ‘Profile’ to show and discuss in the classroom. As some of Boyne’s guests on ‘Profile’ where indeed successful Jamaicans living in the UK.
Watching this week’s pre-recorded episode of ‘Religious Hardtalk’ was humbling. It was the season finale and Boyne’s guest was gospel artiste Glacia Robinson.
Glacia described to Boyne her near death experiences due to years of ill health and explained how the strength of her Christian faith helped pulled her through some very tough times. They discussed the meaning of death in some detail. The interview was deep, warm and engaging. The chemistry between Glacia and Boyne was real.
At the end the show Boyne turned to Glacia and simply said how for years he had been looking forward to this particular interview. It was Ian Boyne at his very best.
[Glacial has since said that her interview with Boyne was initially scheduled for the day he died. But Boyne called her and requested bringing the interview forward as he felt need to conduct it immediately. 3 days after the interview was recorded Boyne was rushed to hospital]
Here’s a short clip from this week’s ‘Religious Hardtalk’.
Jamaica is the worse for Ian Boyne no longer being a key part if its nation building. But his role in Jamaica’s development will live on through his collection of work and the people he showcased and inspired.
Let’s hope ‘Profile’ and ‘Religious Hardtalk’ will continue.
Rest in Peace.