Connecting The Caribbean
Caribbean twitter is lit. Our region has been known to have a lot of inter-island and country beef but it’s people like Sebert Smith, more affectionately known as DJ Live, who is trying to change that dynamic for our generation, at least digitally. The 27-year-old, Orlando-based DJ has a background in Accounting and Music Production, and has been working on his craft for about ten years
After he and his twin brother became frustrated about the sets they heard at the Brooklyn backyard parties they frequented, they both picked up DJing. Having their sound being informed by the DJs before them, specifically Black Trident Sound from Barbados, who mentored them, they realized that music could be used to bring people together. “This is when I realized that it is possible for Caribbean people to look out for more than just the people from their own respective island or country,” says DJ Live. “I've always believed in togetherness and unity and always dreamed of being able to bring people of all nationalities together sharing the same space and transferring culture, ideas, knowledge and lifestyles.”
We spoke to the DJ over email who shared with us how he’s using his music and Twitter to unite the Caribbean digitally.
BASHY: Who dubbed you and when were you dubbed The Prime Minister of the Caribbean?
DJ Live: To be honest I have no idea who started the name or where it came from. People just started to refer to me as the Prime Minister of Caribbean Twitter at some point in 2017. My DJ name was originally DJ Live aka Mr Primetime so I'm assuming it was a play off of that but after a few months I became known as PM. At first I didn't really like the name however, I saw what the name meant to people and how honourable it was to be dubbed such a title so I accepted and embraced it since then. Now I am DJ Live aka The Prime Minister.
What kind of responsibility do you think that entails?
I would say that this entails a huge responsibility. Whether I like it or not, there are a whole lot of people that look up to me, especially in the Twitter-verse. I have to watch what I tweet these days and I have to realize that even my personal life is under a microscope. With that being said, I do like to use this responsibility to promote nothing but jokes that we can all relate to, positivity and good vibes. I like to think of my Twitter pages—@IAMDJLIVE and @PROUDCARIBBEAN—as the central hub for #CaribbeanTwitter to all come together.
How did The Proud Caribbean come about?
The Proud Caribbean was actually a project that my good friend Elijah was working on far before I became involved with it. He first approached me early 2017 to become a part of it and take it to the next level. Seeing as to how both of our pages did a lot of the same things it was an easy decision and since then The Proud Caribbean brand has taken off on all levels. We are looking to much bigger and much better things for that brand moving forwards.
How has music shaped how you've tried to unite the Caribbean and its diaspora?
In the diaspora, music is probably the biggest part of our culture. Music is such a natural way of expression that we can all relate to whether you're Jamaican, like myself, or whether you're Trinidadian, Bajan, or anything else. Once the drums start to beat, no matter what rhythm, the beat in your body is forced to move. Music is the universal language that we all share. Yes, the music varies from dancehall in Jamaica to the rake and scrape of the Bahamas, or the sweet sweet soca music of Trinidad and Tobago, but when you strip away the lyrics and strip away the melodies, it all starts with the beat of the drum, a rhythm that we can all move to in unison.
Why do you use your platform to do what you do?
I love where I come from and when I say that I don't only mean Jamaica. I mean the Caribbean. There are so many different cultures throughout the West Indies. There are so many different languages and dialects. There are so many different cultures and ways of life. The reason that I use my platform in order to do what I do is so that everyone can be involved with this exchange of information, so Dominicans can learn about St. Lucians, so that Bajans can learn about the tiny island of Roatan that is located all the way on the west side of the Caribbean off the coast of Honduras. So that people can see more ways of life than what they are used to. A lot of Caribbean people rarely leave their island so my platform gives people a chance to make friends with people from across the Caribbean Sea, learn from them and educate them about their island. The Caribbean has been divided for so long. It's time now for us to be more connected than ever and I really want to be a part of that.
Out of all the threads you've done, which one of your favourite and why?
Easy question. My favorite thread of all time has to be the #LeggoYourTalent thread. I know, most people would assume that it was the wining threads and, don't get me wrong. I love those too. However, the #LegooYourTalent thread has a special place in my heart. It gave a lot of Caribbean people who otherwise had no outlet to showcase their talents the proper stage to show the world what they could do. Not only that, it inspired those who were watching, who may have had the same aspirations, to start working harder than ever on the things that they love doing. It's just beautiful for me to watch.
In what ways do you connect to your heritage?
I was born into my heritage. I live it, breathe it and sleep it every single day. Through the history, the food, the languages, and even the politics. My heritage is ingrained into my blood and spirit. What I have been doing, however, is taking the time to learn and connect to the heritage of others such as the Garifuna people. I find it rewarding when I learn about the many other cultures the Caribbean and the diaspora has to offer. I love learning about them and comparing them to aspects of my own culture. I would love to live long enough to be able to know everything about every Caribbean country there is. I have a long way to go.
You had spoke last year about doing a travelling party. What would it be called and what would it look like to you?
I'M GLAD THAT YOU ASKED!!! I have been working extremely hard and I am proud to announce that I will be starting a traveling event by the name of Caribbean Jouvert: Soca In Colours. It's first staging will be in the summer of 2019 in Jamaica.
This interview has been edited and condensed.