An Important "Tesson" for Brand Jamaica

PREFACE (lol…seriously)
It’s amazing how the time to write blog posts comes around so sporadically these days. Absolutely nothing can be going on for a while and then POW! You get pricked by the pen of inspiration! Not inspiration like the Bible (duuuuh), but a sudden urge to write J. Why do I even mention this? Well, to tell you the truth, this blog post should have been written MONTHS AGO! From as far back as September to be precise, but I just could never find the time, nor the drive to put the words together until now. After what just happened? I have to write about this now**. The power of Tessanne compels me!
**I wrote most of this on Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 between 1:30 to about 3:30p.m. with some editing afterwards at about 1:30am Thursday.
I actually had a few jottings—well—exactly 3 lines (all completely unrelated to each other), of things I was going to highlight in this post. At the time—in September as I told you—the Voice was just kicking off, and Tessanne Chin was just beginning her journey of awesomeness and “Bread n Butta”-ness. She was the last point I had in mind to mention for this post, but with her recent victory on NBC’s “The Voice” mi haffi talk bout Chinita good body [voice] first!
Let me just say first of all, that I am EXCEEDINGLY GLAD that the competition is over now. It’s not because I didn’t want to hear Tess—who still owes me a performance of an Adele song, and a rendition of “O Holy Night” (really only because I think she would nail them)—because I did want to hear her; it’s not because I saved money on car insurance (I actually have Geico for real :D), or because I’m #TeamBadmindMichaelCuffe, I promise is not dat! So “why Alwayne?” you may ask.
Weeeell, the schedulers of my evening job, (which I am glad for because a guy’s got bills and a family—as in my father’s family, you know, due to how I am wifeless and childless still…) they decided to schedule me to work for four (4) consecutive Monday nights, and three (3) consecutive Tuesday nights right up until the final (which I still haven’t seen)! So you know what that meant? NO VOICE FOR ALWAYNE! NOT EVEN THE RESULTS SHOW! And because of the hours I work (8:00a.m.-4:30p.m., then 5pm-12:00am) I had no time to even watch the episodes online! Mi did cussid grieve! Gotta tell my sister thanks for waiting up for me to get home in the nights and showing me the performances, or else I wouldn’t have a clue what was going on. Now that it’s over, and my Jamaican girl has won, I can rest easy and work relatively happily again, knowing I’m no longer missing anything. I still blame adulthood and responsibilities though.

*****
Chapter Only…
(I’ll give you a minute to get that.)

As the curtains on Season 5 of NBC’s “The Voice” closed with our Jamaican diva and Superstar Tessanne Chin being crowned champion, a nation has been filled with extreme pride and jubilation at the success of our own countrywoman. Watching her carry herself humbly and gracefully with her patriotic air, we cannot help but be proud. Whether we were fans before The Voice or we have just made ourselves honorary members of #TeamTessanne, as a country we have the right to be happy for her huge accomplishment. Since most people have posted all the clever stuff relating to her victory over Twitter, Facebook, and even this awesome poem in the Jamaica Observer, I won’t dwell on it anymore, but I’ll just say CONGRATULATIONS TESSANNE! I LOVE YOU! Thanks for replying to my tweet that one time and all the best for the future Miss Superstar! Since you probably will never see this, I’ll just pretend you actually read my blog and you told me thank you ^_^

You’re very welcome Tess-Tess J
*****
Now to the issue at hand: Fixing Brand Jamaica.
Can it ever really be fixed though? Does the Jamaican government want it to be fixed? Does the country on a whole want it to be fixed? What is being done to fix it, outside of individual brilliance that we all piggy back on by the literal and proverbial Tessannes, Usains and Shelly-Anns out there?
There are quite a few countries making money from ‘Brand Jamaica’ to the country’s detriment, and nobody’s doing anything about it. OR, if anything is being done, I just haven’t heard about it yet— blame my work schedule. If you know what’s happening to combat the problem though, feel free to inform me where I’m misinformed. But seriously, I know there’s been a lot of talk, and you could even say I’m just talking too, but it’s my blog, and I’m not getting paid for it (YET!) so I can talk and say what I want; but for the folks who ARE getting paid to fix it, what in Portia’s name is going on? You know what? Don’t even answer that. Mind sharp it guh get tax too.

I know of agencies like JIPO (Jamaica Intellectual Property Office) JAMPRO that deal with branding the country’s goods, but how has their fight been going with regards to protecting the ownership of what is truly Jamaican and ensuring that all benefits of these products and concepts are being meted out to the rightful owners? Imagine my disgust when I saw these in a U.S. Supermarket in Flordia (3 items, front and back):

   

Are we (Jamaicans) getting paid for them? I highly doubt that.
I remember when I was working in news, Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke made a presentation in parliament on how other countries have been branding some other counterfeit from ‘woi woi’(wherever that is) as the well loved and extremely popular Blue Mountain Coffee. Who’s being punished or held accountable for this? Don’t worry; I’ll be right here when you find out.

You know seh your consumption went up after she said it!
What’s my point in all this? Well, brethren and friends, this little island Jamaica, a little island of 2.7 million people, has become such a global force in anythingits citizens put hard work into that it took only one, in the form of a Tessanne Chin to come to America, a land of about 315 million people, and win The Voice. Her involvement probably made this the most watched season everthus far, as not only Jamaicans in the country and the Diaspora watched, but other Caribbean nationals tuned in to see her. As a Jamaican living in America, it was refreshing to see how a competition which caters mainly to Americans (as evident by limited voting methods and restrictions to those outside America) could be taken over by our small country because of one person. And sure enough, true to the stereotype that Jamaicans will always find a way to circumvent the system, most of the ones outside America found a way to vote anyway. Don’t even let me mention how Tessanne’s innocent use of the term ‘Bread n butta’ became her popular internet tag line used by her supporters. Not to brag or anything—even though she is clearly the BestTess—but it just goes to show how talented our people are. This little dot on the map has the world 100 and 200 metre champions—male and female. A legend like Bob Marley is known and revered in musical circles everywhere! For crying out loud, a packet of Grace Cock Soup was just on The Tonight Show hosted by Jay Leno! That’s HUGE! A little fun fact: If you divide the U.S. population by Jamaica’s population, it would take 116+ Islands of Jamaica to populate the U.S.A. Imagine that!
Look at how one songbird united a nation to watch a programme most of its people would scoff at! Look at how she caused many a person to lose precious sleep, just so they could watch her shine. Look at how many became marketers and promoters for their countrywoman to their friends and family living abroad! Look at how much joy a nation possesses now that she has been decided the winner; as she is now (and always has been), “The Voice”! I hope Captain’s Bakery and all the other bread companies in Jamaica, as well as other corporate sponsors are lining up to create Bread n Butta with her face on it for real, before some other country does while we sit and watch and cuss at how dem tief wi plan. 
The Olympics/World Championships and now the just concluded Season 5 of NBC’s“The Voice” have been unifying for the country of Jamaica. Once we hear seh someone/something is Jamaican, all if we nuh know them, we support them, because really, we are the greatest country of waggonists, like it or not. But, at least we always team up to support our own.
People of Jamaica; the country is yours. The country is mine. It’s Tessanne’s, Usain’s, and Bob Marley’s. It’s ours! The name Jamaica is known everywhere, and it sells everywhere! The food sells, the tourism product sells, the music sells, our athletics sell; EVERYTHING good about Jamaica sells! Maybe they don’t all sell well in Jamaica, but best believe they sell in other parts of the world.

We remember the VW Superbowl Ad, and then the other controversial German Flag Burning Ad. Sure everyone didn’t like them, but because they had elements of Jamaica in them; like it or not, people watched! That’s exactly what the makers wanted. Mi tiyad fi see people a mek money offa wi. Wi need fi start mek money offa wi self! Let’s reclaim our brand and build our land!
P.s. Sir Usain Bolt, you’re Jamaican. Yuh a yawdie!!! Best sprinter the world has seen! Please, with the utmost respect, mi a beg yuh fi do like Tessanne. “Talk di tings!” locally and on International T.V. Lose the accent. Do, wi a beg yuh. Be distinctly Jamaican! If anybody can teach the world patois, it’s you!
Photo credit: Theguardian.com
 Peace.
By the way! Check out this AWESOME post by my NCU batch and blogmate Randy Goldson on what Tessanne’s win means to Jamaica and what a very popular Jamaican icon would say!
#TeamTessanne #TeamChinitaGoodaz #TeamAdam #TeamJAMAICA!
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3 thoughts on “An Important "Tesson" for Brand Jamaica

  1. You said this was late but i think it is right on target. Makes for good reading as i share the sentiments.
    Additionally, the Jamaican government need to hire team Tessanne to promote the country. I think we could sell rock stone to the world afta dat…

    Like

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