PEOPLE TO WATCH

The Four Jamaicans Crushing Digital Media in 2019

Our nominees are part of the new crop of Jamaican creatives who are using digital media platforms to create authentically Jamaican content.

I remember the now popular Ted Talk given by one of my all time favourite African authors and all round bad ass, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The talk  titled The Danger of A Single Story, was ostensibly about the risk of allowing others who aren’t us, who don’t share our culture or traditions, who have not shared or can’t understand our experiences to tell our story.

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

What Chimamanda said was resonant as it would seem that like Nigeria the  ‘singular story’ about Jamaica is what is often told and, for the most part those stories  ‘insist on flattening our experiences overlooking the many other stories that forms us … to borrow a few of her phrases.

It’s not that there aren’t Jamaican authors out there sharing their experiences — it’s that the singular story, the established narrative about Jamaica and Jamaicans (often espoused by non Jamaicans) tend to be sexier.

Digital platforms have afforded the everyday Jamaican an accessible platform on which they can share their lived experiences. Now, becoming a story teller is easy and for themost part free. 

Enterprising Jamaicans like our digital media nominees have become cultural curators, using platforms such as YouTube, WordPress and Medium to hijack the narrative and at the same time producing some of the most authentic Jamaica content on the internet.

Devonie + Sean Henry

Food Bloggers & YouTubers

Jamaica is a cultural mecca, and a big part of what makes it so is our food. Jamaican cuisine in all its machinations is distinct, haughty, diverse and just as flavourful as the people it emanated from.

Which is why we arent too keeen to depart from the traditional techniques and flavors we have become world renowned for. Given our apprehensions to try new flavours or explore different taste profiles a blog like yaadmentz is not only timely but useful.

Yaadmentz is set for the most part in the kitchen of Devi + Sean Henry,  a young couple who film themselves sampling new or unusual food or food products then offering their viewers feedback and recommendations.

What I love most about yaadmentz is the honesty, the commentary, the chemistry and the thick as hell Jamaican accent (keeping it all the way real). The videos are short, vibezy and authentic — oh and it doesn’t hurt that Devi & Sean are just the cutest couple.

Check out their YouTube channel here and make sure to subscribe.

Ronnia Cherry

Writer & Magazine Editor

 I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually seen a magazine except for those dogeared ones you’d find in the waiting room of doctors’ offices that are almost as old as I am (a bit of an hyperbole but you know what I mean).

One of the reasons often given for the decline of print is that Jamaicans don’t read, I’m not so sure the reason is that neat and tidy. Now I may ketch some flak for this but for some, taking time to read is a luxury they simple don’t have because, I dunno, life?

Be that as it may there are still many stories to be told, told from a local experience, told by us about us for this audience and anyone else truly interested in the Jamaican perspective. Here’s where 7am magazine and other digital magazines come in, and why they play such a pivotal role in preserving the culture.

7am is a local e-magazine that covers the entire creative spectrum, they are especially keen on sharing the stories of unknown, little known and up and coming local talent. Their first hand, straight from the horses mouth approach means the stories aren’t always romantic but they are  honest and authentic.

Check out their website here for awesome content and discover some local talents you might have not even heard of. 

Duane Phillips

Culture & Travel YouTuber/Photographer

Jamaica is geographically likkle but what we lack in size we make up for in just about every other area. The immense beauty of the landscape, our hypnotic tunes, the amazing food, the people who are perhaps the most dichotomous anywhere, the vibez weh always nice and the incredible night life.

Jamaica is one sexy woman and nobody captures her sex appeal quite like Duane, the genius behind Down Di Road Jamaica.

There is something very raw but romantic about the down di road videos, Duane and friends have an energy about them which translates very well on camera. That and Duane himself has become quite adept at not only capturing but presenting quintessential Jamaica.

His videos are beautifully edited, captivating and makes you so want to be a part of the experience. If not for anything else but the cool merch (I want my shirt Duane), it’s really a mood.

Check out their YouTube channel here and while you’re there be sure to like and subscribe. 

Sharine Taylor

Writer & Editor

Bashy magazine is straight yaad from the black green and yellow logo to the very real stories they tell and that’s exactly the way founder and editor-in-chief Sharine Taylor crafted it.

Jamaican music is a worldwide movement of sorts and as with all movements you’re going to have infiltrators — reggae is no different. The recipe for a hit single now-a-days seems to be a dope beat with reggae samples and for extra spice a couple lines from an actual reggae artist. 

Unfortunately in the world of music internationally reggae music has become more of a feature than a main event which is sad really given the history and its immense influence.

Sharine having noticed the state of play (literally), wanted to to do something about, so she created Bashy Magazine.  The intention behind Bashy  has always been to refocus the narrative about dancehall and Jamaican culture in general putting the spotlight back onto the local talents who make the genre the powerhouse that it is.

Check out their website here for some really in depth first hand commentary on dancehall acts and other local talents.

Kadia Francis
About author

I am a blogger and podcaster, using my platforms to tell the story of Jamaicans in the tech and digital space.
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