All Articles Tagged "jamaica"
No matter how diverse our world is, the images and standards of beauty we see in media is drastically skewed – especially at pageants.
However, this year, one contestant in the Miss World Pageant is breaking barriers and repping for the dreadlocks aficionados and naturalistas hailing from every corner and crevice of the world.
When the world saw the lineup included Sanneta Myrie, a 24-year-old doctor hailing from Jamaica, who proudly wears a crown of dreadlocks, the excitement began. For this pageant, this will be the first time someone has worn this hairstyle, with women of color usually opting for silk blowouts, voluminous weaves, or other manipulated styles.
A photo posted by Sanneta Myrie (@sanneta_myrie) on
Interestingly though, many ladies from Jamaica who have competed in such contests have all fiercely sported their dreadlocks to embrace their natural beauty and create a much needed conversation on why we only see one side of the spectrum when it comes to beauty. Zahra Redwood, who appeared in the Miss Universe competition in 2007, as Miss Jamaica wore the look, too. Redwood was also the first Miss Jamaica crowned of Rastafarian faith. So for her, wearing her dreadlocks was a way to break down barrier and stereotypes of her faith.
“People criticize what they don’t know or understand and develop preconceptions, and so given that, I have gone against what they’ve developed as a stereotyped,” Redwood explained. “My life has always been rooted in the arts and culture which has significantly impacted me own personal style. So even when I select glam, it has to have an ethnic twist to it,” she said to the Jamaica Observer.
Well, if anything, Redwood’s confidence has surely poured over onto Myrie and sparked something special for women of color to embrace our beauty. Last night (Dec. 19), Myrie walked away from the competition without the crown, but made the Top 5 out of more than 110 contestants.
Read Myrie’s full response to why she should be named Miss World below:
“My story is one of a little girl whose life was transformed with charity and love and my quest in life is to give that back to as many people as I can, and to inspire the world with my story, that no matter where you are from, your skin type your hair color, your situation — your dreams are valid. And I believe that beauty with a purpose embodies my quest and if I was blessed with the crown tonight, I would dedicate my essence to give back to the world in a purposeful and beautiful way with charity and love.”
If you don’t hear them, don’t worry: I’m sure you saw the “look at the ring” picture.
After dating for just under a year, actor Rockmond Dunbar and his girlfriend, actress Maya Gilbert, are engaged to be married. The 42 year old actor popped the question while the two were in Montego Bay, Jamaica on Decmeber 30th.
The happy couple were spotted Saturday on the red carpet for the 44th NAACP Image Awards Nominee’s Luncheon. They got a tad bit PG-13 when they gave each other a kiss which ended in a bit of a tongue exercise.
The ring is a 5 carat cushion cut fancy yellow diamond set in 18k gold accompanied with 21 cushion cut diamonds to complete the 5 carat band. All in all, its a 10 carat total weight engagement ring. Well, alright then!
Known for his role as Kenny on Soul Food,” Dunbar has been gushing all over his Facebook page since he announced that “she aid yes.” They’ve also entered a contest to win a celebrity designer wedding at the Empire State Building in New York City and a honeymoon to Anguilla.
Not much is known about Gilbert but she’s mostly known for her role in Zane’s The Sex Chronicles. She can also be seen on the upcoming GMC series, For Richer or Poorer, which also stars Dunbar.
This will be Rockmond’s second marriage. He was married to Ivy Holmes from 2003-2006. He has no children.
From The Grio
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A British schoolgirl visiting relatives in a rural village in northern Jamaica was fatally shot when a lone gunman opened fire on a group of family members as they gathered at a roadside shop, officials said Sunday.
Imani Green, 8, of Balham in south London, was standing inside a clapboard grocery store and bar with Jamaican relatives Friday evening when a gunman wearing a hoodie shot the child in the head and shoulder before also shooting and wounding three adult members of her family.
The high command of Jamaica’s police force said Sunday that Imani was “mercilessly slaughtered in front of family members in a hail of bullets as gangsters sought to exact revenge on their rivals” in the normally quiet Red Dirt district of Duncans in Trelawny parish.
The roadside business where the shooting occurred is apparently owned by a female relative of the slain girl. There have been no arrests.
Get more details on The Grio.
Coming to a new country and starting over is difficult for anyone. In her new memoir Finally Reid: The Extraordinary Testimonies of an Ordinary Woman, Marcia Reid recounts her journey from Jamaica to the US in the early 1980s. Since then, she’s traveled around the world, graduated from college, and launched a career that has her now working for IPG, one of the world’s hugest advertising, marketing, and public relations companies.
We sent Reid a few questions via email to get a little more insight into her life and times.
Madame Noire: You talk about your life in Jamaica as a relatively carefree one. You worked, shopped, made friends. Yet you decided to come to the US to work and study in New York. Why?
Marcia Reid: There were several reasons for coming to the US. Number one was the socio-economic reason. In Jamaica, the US was known as the “Land of Opportunity” where you have limitless career opportunities and can gain financial wealth at a faster pace. I got the opportunity to shop even more, and it was easier to pursue a college degree here. It was also an excellent opportunity to get away from my very strict upbringing.
MN: It was 1982. What was the experience like coming to the US from Jamaica at 22 years old at that time?
MR: It was amazing, exciting, and scary. Everything was huge and complex compared to what I was accustomed to on a small island. This was the first time I left home and had no directions or money. I spent most of the money I had within two weeks of my arrival. It was the end of August and I went on a shopping spree, not knowing that the reason that clothes were inexpensive was because the season was changing. I soon found out that most of the clothes that I bought could only be worn for another month or so, as it was getting colder. I had not even bought a winter coat, so I needed to find a job real fast.
As I pounded the pavement of New York City daily in search of a job, I soon realized that without the “New York experience” and the coveted green card, the only jobs available to me included house cleaning, baby sitting, or posing nude. In my book, I write about staying with a friend’s mother, sleeping on a pull-out bed in her living room and how I was eventually able to find a great opportunity at a luxury cruise line.
MN: By 1989, you were a mom, had traveled the world, were married and separated, owned an apartment, and had decided to focus on your college studies while working full-time. How did all of that help (or hinder) your focus on your studies?
MR: While all of this made it extremely challenging at the time, I became very focused on my studies. My son was born in 1989 and my life was spinning out of control. I was separated, buried under a mountain of debt and trying to balance motherhood, work and school. It was especially difficult, as I was going to school full-time and working full-time but I was determined to stay focused on my studies. I knew that a college degree would be advantageous to advancing my career so that I could be in a better financial position and provide a better future for my child.
MN: By the end of the book, you’ve got degrees from New York University and Columbia University and you’ve moved from Florida back to the New York area. You’re now the Director of Diversity Management at IPG. Please describe your job and the challenges of promoting diversity at a large company.
MR: My role as Director of Diversity and Inclusion is to help my company become one of the most diverse and inclusive companies operating in business. This is a commitment that IPG takes very seriously, and I work closely with our HR and business leaders across our network of agencies and corporate offices to develop and execute programs that focus on recruitment, retention and development. I help educate our employees about the changing demographics and its impact on our business, our workforce, and our marketplace. I work closely with our Business Resource Groups in the U.S. as well as the Women’s Leadership Networks in Australia, India, China and London. I also launched a mentoring program, lead a fellowship program of young professionals, manage our relationships with schools, and oversee our annual Diversity and Inclusion survey that goes out to all our US employees.
MN: How do your life experiences impact how you perform your job?
MR: My life experiences make me passionate about the work that I do. I can better relate to employees that are similar or different from me in the workplace because of my diverse background. I understand some of the challenges they face and can provide more suitable solutions and resources to create a more inclusive work environment, where everyone can feel engaged and perform at their best to achieve our goal.
I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this scrumptious piece of eye candy before, especially if you’re a follower of Tyler Perry’s films and stage plays. Gentles, a model and actor, has shown up in the films, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea’s Family Reunion in small roles. He’s also had larger roles in Perry’s stage plays, playing Nate in Madea Goes to Jail and Nick Lovett in What’s Done in the Dark. You can also check him out in Jennifer Hudson’s video for “Spotlight.” (That was the jam!) But no matter how serious he wanted us to take him in those scenarios, I have to say, I don’t think I was paying attention to anything other than that gorgeous skin, that banging body, and those beautiful locs! I haven’t seen him in a minute though *sad face* So let’s reminisce on the fine-ness that is Ryan Gentles from some of our favorite photographs, and here’s to hoping he’ll come back on the scene ASAP.
by Selam Aster
You may have seen a victim at some point. A person with an ash-colored coat of film over their face with skin so depleted of a healthy glow that it appears to be starving for nutrients. But a dermotologist wouldn’t help her cause, only self-esteem would. That’s because she’s conditioned herself to look this way, by lathering on skin bleaching cream in hopes that she will be reborn as a lighter-skinned Black woman.
The Associated Press recently looked into why and how more and more people in Jamaica’s slums are using skin bleaching cream to “lighten” their complexions. Skin lightening is nothing new, especially in third world countries in Africa and also in India, which boasts the biggest marketplace for these dangerous creams. According to the AP, “hardcore bleachers use illegal ointments smuggled into the Caribbean country that contain toxins like mercury, a metal that blocks production of melanin, which give skin its color, but can also be toxic.”
Although the Jamaican government has launched campaigns to communicate the dangers of skin lightening, officials don’t know how much of an impact they will have considering that a 2007 campaign called “Don’t Kill the Skin” did nothing to slow the craze.”
While darker people lighten, lighter people tan, also causing damage to their skin. These acts essentially represents the yin and yang of beauty ideals in the world but what does this say about the course of evolution? Does it manifest a race to create one race, which is neither black nor white, but in the middle? From a theoretical perspective, it seems that it does. We are wired to see differences, although many of us don’t want to admit that we pre-judge in this day and age. The biological answer to fostering less prejudice would be to have less obvious differences between us, especially in terms of appearance.
While we lament the self-esteem issues that drive us to change our color or alter our features, it is important to note what these acts imply in the the grand scheme of things. It doesn’t make it any more acceptable but it does help us to better understand the complex nature of identity.
(The Root) — The country of Jamaica is almost as well-known for violent homophobia as it is for dreadlocks, reggae and Bob Marley. In 2006, Time magazine named Jamaica the most homophobic place on earth. The country is certainly living up to that title. On Monday, Feb. 28, a man believed to be gay was foundraped and murdered, with his throat slashed, in downtown Kingston. Last December, a J-FLAG (Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays) activist was stabbed to death. His name was never released to the public, but he was only 26 years old. Most famously, in 2004, a father encouraged a schoolyard mob to attack his son, whom he believed was gay. The teen’s fellow students tore boards from benches and beat him until he was unconscious. He was in the 11th grade. Allegedly, his father watched with a smile.
One would think that the police would protect the people, regardless of sexual orientation. Not in Jamaica. Within the past month, gay bars in the tourist area of Montego Bay were raided by the police. A letter to the editor of the Jamaica Observer stated, “About 20 heavily armed officers jumped from the vehicles, kicked in doors, aggressively accosted patrons, indiscriminately beat and pistol-whipped them, and chased everyone from the venue. During the operation, homophobic slurs were hurled and this seemed to have encouraged patrons of nearby clubs to join in the melee by throwing bottles, stones and other missiles as individuals fled for their lives.” This sounds like a scene from Mississippi Burning.
The illogical rage at gays in Jamaica is popularized by contemporary reggae music. Buju Banton is considered a “pioneer” of sorts with his song “Boom Boom Bye.” Released in 1992, the dancehall track is an anthem for burning, shooting and killing anyone who does not fit into the rigid constructs of male-female gender roles. There is also Beenie Man, whose signature song, “Bad Man Chi Chi Man,” meaning “bad queer man,” is a crowd favorite. Beenie enthusiastically tells his audience to kill gays: “Some bwoy will go a jail fi kill man tun bad man chi chi man/Tell mi, sumfest it should a be a showdown/Yuh seem to run off a stage like a clown/kill dem DJ.”
(Jamaican Observer) — Immigration Equality, an organisation which works to secure asylum for individuals persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV-status, said it won dozens of cases for clients from the Caribbean in 2010. The organisation said that it won a record 101 cases last year. “An overwhelming number of the victories, 38, were for clients from the Caribbean, with 28 of those for individuals from Jamaica,”; it said. There were four successful cases from Grenada. “Other cases included 24 asylum seekers from Central and South America; 16 from Eastern Europe (including seven Russian clients); nine from the African continent and five from the Middle East.” The organisation, which maintains the largest network of pro bono attorneys, in addition to its in-house legal staff, is dedicated solely to seeking asylum for Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers.
(Jamaican Observer) — US Ambassador to Jamaica Pamella Bridgewater is recommending that tourism interests grasp the opportunity to expand the product during next year’s celebration of the Year of African Descendants. “Next year will be the year of the African Descendants and I think African American tourists can come here as well as others who are interested in tracing the history of Jamaica and the Trans-Atlantic Trade. I think that is an area that is ripe for interest among the African-American clientele to come to Jamaica,” Bridgewater underscored. Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has welcomed the idea. “That is a specific activity in pursuit of ethno-tourism which we will be exploring as part of the strategy to attract more Afro-Americans to Jamaica,” Bartlett told the Observer West during a telephone interview yesterday.
(FOX) — At least 76 people died to bring him here. Accused Jamaican drug lord Christopher Coke is now on US soil. He made the trip to the US on a private plane that landed at White Plains Airport, outside New York City. According to a federal indictment, as far back as 1994, Coke, trafficked in drugs and weapons in the United States. His gang called itself the Shower Posse because anyone who got in their way was met with a shower of bullets.