Celebration is embedded in Jamaica’s culture as parties are flagships docking in the port of day-to day-Jamaica. However, parties are just a glimpse into the chaotic Instagram story that showcases what it means to be Jamaican. We celebrate small, trivial achievements such as getting a delicious cheese patty wrapped in the succulent grasps of a warm coco bread with a loud, “This nice eee?” Many of us also celebrate getting a bus or taxi that will transport us from the disheartening grasps of our workplace or school to the sanctuary of our homes with a loud and relieved sigh, often punctuated with, “Thank God, mi can reach home safe.” These celebrations are the footpaths that carry us to the huge roadways that transform our celebrations from tiny to massive. These celebrations are reserved for graduations, dancehall or cultural events, funerals and weddings. Even funerals and wakes turn into immense events as Jamaicans celebrate the life of the deceased.
It has been established that this is our culture and yet creatives are not invited to the party. Creatives are every day undermined as we are requested to create stardust from ether, although our sacrifices are never celebrated. Jamaicans, in general, tend to undermine young creatives until they reach atmospheric heights that bridge on the extraterrestrial. For young creatives to be acknowledged, they must achieve incredible success with the least amount of help. Only then do Jamaicans acknowledge their tremendous elevation without support. This is where Jamaican creatives are put on a pedestal. Simply put, if you nuh buss, nuh ratings for you.
Creativity is within all Jamaicans, it's within our genes; it's even in our t-shirts. Creativity is much a part of the Jamaican experience as bad roads are a part of our driving landscape. We see creativity everywhere in our small island nation, and our ability to create is what sets us apart. Jamaica is home to such creatives as the higglers downtown who sell their wares in the most enchanting ways. We even saw this as children when our parents spanked us in the most rhythmic manner using our wails and screams to punctuate the sounds of the belt; creating beats of unforgettable pain. Jamaicans are creative, nuh true? Since the answer to this question is so obvious, why don't we celebrate them?
The maths for this add up easy, the equation for this is structured similar to sweet potato pudding; a hard crust and a tender and rich middle. The hard crust that we must power through is caked together with old traditions such as supporting mainstream career paths (usually law or medicine), the unappreciation of changes in our culture, the lack of nurturing of creative skills in our educational system and our ability as Jamaicans to rebuke change. When it comes to change, we resist with the utmost intensity. For those of us who have the tenacity to push through, the rich and tender middle is our abundance of individuals who stretch their creative limits. We need to ‘fling’ away the premise that traditional careers are the way forward, fling it in such a way that Ding Dong and Kool Ravers would give standing ovations.
We do not live in a traditional world anymore. We live in a world where innovation and diversity are the pinnacles of our uber-modern society. Who would have thought that persons would want to be personal taxi drivers to strangers? No more, “One and ready,” now it’s, “Your Uber has arrived.” Traditional careers will always be present and I am grateful for their prevalence, but we must support and celebrate our young creatives who are paving the road and then going out on that road, driving the vehicles forward.
In order for change to be a part of our culture, it has to be celebrated. Their works must be shown as murals accessible to all of Jamaica. We must put their works on our websites, whether government or private, cementing the message of Jamaica that will look into your soul and engulf it in flames of black, green and gold. This is how we must celebrate change in our country and for our country’s creatives.
Celebration should not be restricted to events, weddings, nine nights and various fetes.
Let us celebrate nurturing creative talents in schools.
Let us celebrate our disabled creatives.
Let us celebrate our young creatives.
Let us celebrate the dormant or active creative talent that is flowing through our veins like molten lava.
Let us celebrate moving forward as a culture.
Let us celebrate Jamaica.
Mhm a it.
My name is Hakeem Marcus Bryan; those three choices available are on many occasions not chosen when referring to me. The names that are used as substitutes are ‘Uncle’ and ‘Kheemy’. Uncle is derived from the timeless wisdom I offer plus the maturity that is embedded in my face. Kheemy, on the other hand, is a shortened version of Hakeem, with the letter H in the name reminding people that my name is ‘Hakeem’ not ‘Akeem’. I am twenty-two years of age, might not look it but I assure you, I am.
So that's basically it, a it yes, a really it, mhm a it.