Island Origins Magazine - Fall 2021

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FEATURES Fall | 2021











CREDITS PUBLISHER Calibe Thompson BRAND STRATEGY David I. Muir BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Tamara Phlippeaux EDITORS Monique McIntosh Erica Young ASSOCIATE EDITOR Hannah Gulics ART DIRECTOR Vladan Dojcinovic


Calibe’s Prelude: Resilient

HEALTH & BEAUTY 10 That Healing Kush STYLE & DESIGN 8 The List: Artfully Caribbean 12 Style Remix 18 Plain to Posh 38 SEORA: Caribbean Couture INSPIRATION 6 Olympic Highlights 26 Pretty Powerful: Miss Jamaica Universe Miqueal-Symone Williams 44 OUTspoken 48 Gang Alternative: Healthy Relationships TRAVEL 22 Destination: Culture CULTURE 34 The Godmother of Reggae 50 Civil Rights in Cyberspace 56 Help for Haiti INVEST 54 Proven Steps to Building Wealth TASTE THE ISLANDS 58 Manjay Restaurant Review 60 British Caribbean Cuisine 62 Restaurant Listing ENTERTAINMENT 64 Event Calendar

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Calibe Thompson Rebecca Hugh Attiyya Atkins Hannah Gulics Stephen Bennett Monique McIntosh Lyndon Nicholas G. Wright Muir David P.A. Mullings Jordan Unger David I. Muir CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Darrick Foster, DAC X Productions George D. Horton Moniefia Johnson Steve Bennett/ Javier Molina Dario Shields, Daregha Studios JP Williams Shaquiel Brooks James Mitchell David I. Muir ON THE COVER: The Shine Issue In this issue of Island Origins Magazine, we visit with some inspiring Caribbean figures making monumental impact on the world stage. In our cover story, Miss Universe Jamaica 2021 Miqueal-Symone Williams shares the raw, personal story of who she is beyond the crown. (Read more on page 26). Cover photo by Darrick Foster, DAC X Productions. Copyright © 2021 by Island Syndicate. All rights reserved. Island Origins Magazine is published by Island Syndicate. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a review. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at Island Syndicate, 1310 SW 2nd Ct #207, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Printed in the United States of America.

Island Origins Magazine ℅ Island Syndicate 1310 SW 2nd Ct #207 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 417-812-5663 |






hough Trinidad is experiencing carnival tabanca, missing the celebrations that were cancelled in 2021 and may be again in 2022, South Florida’s carnival committee has decided di paaty cyaan stop so Miami Carnival is moving full speed ahead (with sensible protocols in place, of course). The Caribbean spirit embodied by Carnival celebrations goes beyond color and culture. The tradition was actually born out of enslaved Africans celebrating life while mocking the plantation owners who oppressed them. It is the most vibrant expression of reveling in our very existence, even through tragedy and despair. This summer has seen no shortage of tragedy and despair. Haiti and St. Vincent have been the hardest hit by natural disasters among our islands, and Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey have taken a beating in the United States. I was hoping to never need to refer to COVID again in our pages, yet it seems there’s a new variant or a new wave ever-present in the headlines. Despite challenge after challenge, we find ways to smile and thrive and shine through it all like our ancestors did as they danced through the cane fields. In our cover story, Miss Universe Jamaica Miquael-Symone Williams shares with our editor, Monique, her rise above heartbreaking personal tragedy to gain recognition as one of the most stunning women in the world. That’s resilience! Our resilience allows us to celebrate freedom rather than mourn slavery, as the Martinicans do in the travel feature written by Steve. It’s the reason that Haitians still find the strength to smile from the broken remains of their earthquake- and storm-ravaged homes, which Jordan shares in our plea for help for Haiti. Caribbean resilience is the reason that Roy Austin, a son of St. Vincent, is fighting for social justice from inside the largest social media organization in the world, a story shared by our Lyndon Nicholas. It is why Staceyann Chin, a survivor of sexual assault, from humble beginnings, has become a voice for the voiceless and champion for change, as shared by our award-winning writer G. And our resilience is why a small, unassuming woman from Jamaica was able to build the most formidable reggae music empire in the world. Even our style speaks to our resilience, as Hannah discovered exploring the root-ical, high fashion world of Seora. And David Mullings, one of the more financially savvy among us, happily invests in home, teaching us how to build our money war chest doing the same. This fall, I wish for you the strength and resilience that the people and places we’ve featured in this issue have shown. Walk good! #islandorigins


The resilience of Caribbean people simply takes my breath away.


The women’s weightlifting bronze medalist, the Dominican Republic’s Crismery Santana, celebrates at the Tokyo Olympics.

Island Origins Salutes Our

Caribbean Olympic Champions

Anabel Medina Ventura, Marileidy Paulino, Lidio Andres Feliz and Alexander Orando represent the Dominican Republic with silver for the 4x400-meter mixed relay.

Zacarias Bonnat Michel of the Dominican Republic wins silver after his impressive 81kg lift.

Steven Gardiner and Shaunae MillerUibo both win gold for The Bahamas in their respective men’s and women’s 400-meter races.

Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson and Briana Williams dominate, winning gold for Jamaica in the women’s 4x100meter relay.

27-year-old Megan Tapper adds a bronze medal to Jamaica’s wins for the women’s 100-meter hurdles.

Hansle Parchment takes gold for the men’s 110-meter hurdles. Ronald Levy celebrates his bronze win.

Candice McLeod, Roneisha McGregor, Janieve Russell and Shericka Jackson win bronze for Jamaica in the 4x400-meter relay.

Kirani James wins bronze in the men’s 400-meter race, taking Grenada’s only medal for the 2020 Games.



Petit Kouraj MINI FRINGE BAG Handmade in Haiti, this playful purse is designed by stylist Nasrin Jean-Baptiste. Extra care is taken with the construction, as each strand of fringe is individually sewn into the organic cotton net, so it moves when you do. The accessory also features a satin interior pouch, ecru leather handles and an adjustable shoulder strap for versatility. $375

BAUGhaus Design Studio BANANA LEAF PLATTER Ceramicist Dana Baugh creates lighting, furniture and serveware with a tropical, modern aesthetic. Handmade in Jamaica, her porcelain platter perfectly illustrates this style. Available in white, breadfruit green and yellow, this piece adds an artful spin to serving your favorite hors d’oeuvres. $100

Doucet Collectables INFINITE LOVE MUG Haitian-American ceramic artist Morel Doucet is the creator of an artisanal line of serveware that includes these charming ceramic mugs. The youthful colors and the modern, graphic simplicity of the heartshaped handle design offer a poignant ode to love. $35


Byron & Gómez PATRIA CABINET From Byron & Gómez’s Caribbean heritage collection, the Patria Cabinet is an ode to the region’s traditional materials and methods, but with a contemporary spin. The designers, Charles Byron and Puerto Rican native María Gómez, produced this piece using European beech, cane and brass. Price: available upon request


Inspired by his Afro-Caribbean roots, London-based designer Mac Collins created this piece with an Afrofuturist aesthetic. The chair is available in an earthy orange stain or classic whitened oil and is a symbolic representation of a throne designed to command any space it occupies. Price: available upon request

Drift Home RAFFIA COASTERS Made to order by local artisans in Jamaica, these hand-crafted coasters feature a raw raffiafringed trim – the perfect accessory for organic coastal decor. $58

Jenny Polanco ARETES DE AMBAR HEXAGONAL Designed by Jenny Polanco and hand-carved by talented local artisans in the Dominican Republic, these hexagon-shaped, amber earrings are a reflection of Polanco’s signature style, offering a timeless, worldly appeal. $395

Rochelle Porter Design KOBO PILLOW COVER Available in organic cotton or premium velvet, this pillow cover is fashioned with sharp, abstract lines influenced by designer Rochelle Porter’s Caribbean roots and a love of Scandinavian and West African aesthetics. $59

Art To Table LEAF BLOB COASTER SET Made by self-taught artist, photographer and filmmaker Teneka Mohammed, these playful wood coasters reflect her artistic interpretation of Caribbean flora and fauna, using vibrant colors and leaf patterns to add a refreshing tropical vibe to any desk or coffee table. $150

Jaimeluis Organic ROCKING CHAIR Influenced by classic Caribbean woven chair designs, this rocker offers a contemporary update using traditional weaving techniques with modern materials like steel and PVC rope. Suited for either indoor or outdoor use, this piece is available in different colors to suit any room’s palette. $540 Jaimeluisorganic. com



That Healing Kush Perceptions of marijuana, a cultural icon of the Jamaican Rastafari faith, are changing. As therapeutic applications become more widely accepted, the medical potential of what was once considered a mere drug grows. WRITER ATTIYYA ATKINS PHOTOGRAPHY SUPPLIED


n the public imagination, marijuana conjures a mess of contradictions. To aficionados, it is a source of relaxation and recreational pleasure, while for those of the Rastafari faith, it’s a fundamental part of religious practice. For a long time, under the law in the United States and throughout the Caribbean, marijuana had been classified as a dangerous drug. But in recent years, researchers and doctors have begun to unravel its medical potential, exploring therapeutic applications for a range of conditions from epileptic seizures


to chronic pain. In response, the market has seen a boom in marijuana treatments with a new “green rush” of companies proclaiming their products alleviate a myriad of ailments. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the marijuana plant for any medical use and only a few drugs derived from it have received their approval. Inconsistent messaging and an unregulated atmosphere have been confusing for many who could derive meaningful benefit from marijuana’s promise. Let’s provide some clarity.


Dr. Anthony Hall — a Jamaican, board-certified neurosurgeon now based in South Florida — sees great medical possibilities in marijuana. CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) are the two main compounds extracted from the plant for medical use. But it also contains more than 100 other unique compounds called cannabinoids, each of which “may have medical benefits,” explains Dr. Hall. Deriving so many potential treatments from a plant that can be easily grown and harvested is extremely cost effective and could be profoundly beneficial.


Officially, the FDA has approved two synthetically derived THC medications, known commercially as Marinol and Cesamet, to treat severe nausea and loss of appetite. Both are helpful in managing these symptoms in cancer patients during chemotherapy. They also have approved Epidiolex, which contains purified CBD, for the treatment of two types of severe epilepsy in children: Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. Dr. Hall suggests it is likely, however, that the drug can help many more ailments. Findings, for example, show promise in reducing stiffness and muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis patients, managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and treating glaucoma. Perhaps the most exciting research is in marijuana’s effect on chronic pain, which could offer a useful alternative to highly addictive opioids. Marijuana has also been used to treat conditions like fibromyalgia, endometriosis, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease. Much more research is needed to fully understand how cannabinoids work and to develop standardized pharmaceutical products, but, to some extent, U.S. scientists’ hands are tied. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug – in the same category as heroin. As such, researchers require special licensing to study it. Similar laws have also limited research in the Caribbean. And though scientists have found their ways to some encouraging success, the legal restrictions and prohibitive cost of getting FDA approval hinder distribution to broader markets.


Marijuana use does have some associated risks. Smoking it may lead to lung cancer caused by harmful chemicals in the leaves, wraps and rolling papers used. “With smoking there is heat, fire and carbon, which aren’t good for your body,” explains Dr. Hall. But the drug can be administered in capsules, edibles, liquids, teas or oil. A 2015 study published in JAMA Psy-

chiatry found that about 30% of marijuana smokers, typically under 18 years old, may develop some form of addiction called marijuana-use disorder. Dr. Hall notes that the consequences of marijuana addiction are far less severe than others, as “the person doesn’t develop withdrawal symptoms, like with cocaine or alcohol.” But there are other, more specific risks to consider. “Some

people are allergic to certain strains, which can cause a rash, mouth swelling, wheezing, hyperactive bowels, diarrhea and constipation,” he says. Marijuana comes in two forms: sativadominant, which is invigorating and uplifting, or indica-dominant, which is relaxing and calming. “For those who are bipolar or schizophrenic, they may react badly to sativa strains,” Dr. Hall explains.


If you are suffering from chronic pain or illness, medical marijuana may be for you. However, Dr. Hall says, it is important that you discuss your options with a physician. If you do find a cannabinoid-derived treatment that could be right for you, you should also source it from a reputable dispensary. He explains, “It’s important that the dispensary shows their certificate of authenticity, conducts product testing and has knowledgeable staff.”



STYLE REMIX After finally getting the keys to her first house, Moniefia Johnson was left with a question: “How do I make this space a home?”




hrough trial and error, she uncovered the secret to good design — a delicate blend of style, functionality and selfexpression to make your space beautiful, approachable and, above all, personal. Through the experience, Johnson discovered a passion for interior design, soon launching her firm, Lignum and Oaks Interior Design, to help others create spaces that feel like home. Based in New Jersey, she now consults professionally for inperson clients in the tri-state area and virtual clients online. Johnson still sees her home as a creative playground, using her rooms and walls as canvases for experimenting with her craft. Her home’s style is never permanent. She changes couches, chairs, rugs and accent pieces on a monthly basis. “When I get to a point where I love it, I try not to become comfortable, and push myself to the next step,” she explains. “How can we make this design better? How can we elevate? How can we change it into a different style? That gives me the ability to be more versatile.” The Jamaica-born designer aims to add a pop of “wow” — think grand chandeliers or a 7-foot mirror — to every space. “When something is unexpected, the unknown becomes interesting,” she says. In our conversation, we explore the inspiration behind her current iteration of home.

Serene Green

Heart Of The Home

◂ The color green often shows up when Johnson is working with natural palettes. Muted Sage by Behr on the walls brings a sense of calm to the dining room, where she also installed some pictureframe wall moulding to introduce more dimension to the space. The dining set is a playful mix of pieces, with a CB2 Mariana whitewashed teak dining table surrounded by Safavieh Bandelier oak armchairs.

▴ Though kitchens are the heart of the home, they are often lacking in square footage. Johnson’s advice is that you can still create the kitchen of your dreams with the right seating, accessories and lighting. “You want to create a space where it’s functional for you to cook, but it’s also where your family can congregate,” she says. She suggests warm-toned lights for a cozy vibe. In her own home, Johnson chose to go with white cabinets and dark countertops, adding in textured elements like brass pendant lights from Target’s Studio McGee collaboration.



Center Of Attention ▴ Johnson has an affinity for creating living rooms that reflect her clients’ personalities. In her own home, she showcases her love of color and eclectic design with delicate Etched Arcadia Mural wallpaper from Anthropologie and twin terracotta Floria velvet chairs from Urban Outfitters. A zigzagged walnut-and-brass Dustin cabinet from World Market is the centerpiece of the room, while an off-centered, 7-foot Primrose mirror from Anthropologie reflects light into the beautiful space.

Cozy Corner ▸ In contrast to the living room, the TV room is meant to feel a little more lived-in – a space where friends and family can casually gather. “That’s where we hide all the junk and where there’s popcorn in the sofa,” she laughs. But less formality doesn’t mean less style. She created a bold statement with deep blue walls, a pink Leonelle sofa from Anthropologie and a beaded chandelier. Approachability is high on Johnson’s list of qualities for the rooms she designs. “I think it’s essential to have beautiful spaces, but I’m happiest when I’m told, ‘We love it, we use it every day.’”



B D C Is

Outdoor Oasis ▴ Many people tend to think only of interiors when designing their homes, rarely carrying aesthetic ideals into outdoor spaces. “I think the outdoor space should always be an extension of your home and not just a separate space where we hang out, so I created almost a mirror layout, like I did the inside, with a large sofa and two armchairs,” said Johnson. Her outdoor patio, outfitted with furniture from Wayfair, is perfect for both lying in the sun and barbecuing the night away.

No Empty Spaces ▸ For Johnson, a hallway is never simply a basic passage from one room to the next —even walkways should have their own personality. In hers, Johnson installed a wall of portraits. “It’s especially important in the hallway to create vignettes everywhere. It’s this point of interest that gives a glimpse into what’s potentially next,” she says. In another corner, she created an asymmetrically paneled wall in a matte black finish, paired with an Optical Inlay desk from Anthropologie.


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Plain to Posh Interior Designer Bridget King injects fun and frivolity into Florida condo living. WRITER HANNAH GULICS PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF ROSIE MENDOZA PHOTOGRAPHY


Living Room


◂ In the living room, King composed a sleeker interpretation of the coastal interior style, building on a neutral color palette. Breaking up the base of creamy whites, she pulled in shades of ocean blue as the secondary note with artful Captiva Island throw pillows, water-themed paintings and an abstract rug. The designer notes that this fresh take is more reflective of the way people embrace resort-inspired living today. “This style has become more modern, as opposed to the more British Caribbean look,” she explains. “If you go to all the new hotels, the influence is very clean lines with pops of color.”

▴ In the fully outfitted kitchen, King had to preserve the original millwork and countertops. She executed a dramatic transformation with small changes, like installing a new tile backsplash and painting the existing cabinets white to help brighten the space. She also replaced the hardware on the cabinet doors. The results are proof positive that a major style shift is possible for those limited by time and budget. “You’d be surprised how just doing a few things can upgrade your kitchen,” says King.


nterior decorator Bridget King has been honing her design skills for years, first as a hobby, helping her husband flip homes by styling the interiors for open houses. But when buyers started purchasing them fully furnished, the Jamaican-American knew she had something special. Her side hustle turned into a passion, and then into her own company, Captiva Design.

After 17 years in the industry, she’s mastered designs that reflect how people want to live in their homes. Even for properties that need to be staged to appeal to the broadest spectrum of clients, she’s unafraid to make bolder strokes that capture the imagination. “You’ll see a lot of white in my portfolio for staging, but then I always add a pop of color,” explains King. The South Florida resident pulls color cues from the vibrant coastal

environment. “I love nature,” says the designer. “I love colors that are soothing like the ocean, so you’ll see a lot of blues, teals and calming colors in my work.” In this modern, white-box apartment, King was asked to stage a model unit representing the Aviah Flagler Village complex in Fort Lauderdale. The result is a luxurious space that combines clean, contemporary design with an eclectic coastal flair.



Dining Room ▴ In the dining room, a Z Gallerie mirror mimicking shattered glass hangs on the back wall opposite the table. “I just wanted to make the space feel a little different,” King says. Not only does this funky piece help bring character and individuality to the room, but the mismatched glass also gives the illusion of a bigger space, an important selling point for apartments.

Bedroom ◂ There is a serene atmosphere in the master bedroom. “I like light, calm and soothing bedrooms,” says King. To create this effect, the designer added a light-colored set from Rana Furniture. Accessories like the coral embroidered pillows and textured wall art offer a nod to the home’s coastal motif.



Destination: Culture




ach year, the Caribbean plays host to a seemingly endless array of dynamic celebrations highlighting the uniquely vibrant character of our islands. History, literature, storytelling,


agriculture, filmmaking, rum, music, dance, sailing, cuisine and more are all part of the fun, ensuring that there’s a Caribbean festival to suit most every interest. Here are four prime examples.


Festivals and special events marking the freeing of enslaved Africans in the West Indies are undoubtedly among the most highly anticipated annual celebrations throughout our islands. All Caribbean countries set aside a specific day for emancipation festivities. In Martinique, though, that celebration lasts the entire month of May. Visitors arriving in Martinique can expect to find small-scale festivals, solemn commemorations and events being held in villages all throughout the Island of Flowers at any time of the month. The biggest show, though, is reserved for May 22 — Martinique’s Emancipation Day. On this day, in La Savane (Martinique’s answer to Central Park) located in the heart of Fort-de-France, a moving, artistic stage show is held under the stars. Thousands crowd into the park for a series of interpretive dance performances tracing the arc of the island’s history. The genocide of the indigenous Amerindian people at the hands of Europeans, the Triangle Trade and the forced movement of African people to the region, the abject horrors of slavery, the euphoria over emancipation, the extended horror of indentured servitude, and the challenges still facing Afro-Caribbean Martinicans today – all of it is artfully portrayed in a powerful display by local performers and volunteers intent on making sure that the past is never forgotten.


Emancipation Month in Martinique



Aruba Art Fair Experience a hotbed of West Indian art at the annual Aruba Art Fair. A three-day showcase of art in all its forms, the Aruba Art Fair is held in late September within the usually sleepy surroundings of San Nicholas, at the far southeastern tip of the island. The festival goes well beyond traditional sculptures and canvas paintings, attracting local and international artists to perform live art demonstrations and display their work. The dynamic range of craft on display covers everything from the culinary arts, graffiti and street art, television programming, magazine art and more. There’s even a school art contest inviting budding young creatives to share the spotlight with established artists from around the world. A variety of art expositions are held each day. Local Aruban food and drinks, music, dance, poetry and other forms of live entertainment are also part of the fun. Best of all, the Aruba Art Fair beautifies the streets of San Nicholas with huge, vibrant murals and other forms of street art that live on long past the annual festival dates. Anyone visiting Aruba will have the chance to experience extraordinary elements of the fair no matter when they stop in.


As parang and reggaeton seamlessly blend the influences of Latin- and AfroCaribbean music, the Belize International Film Festival does much the same for the region’s contributions to the big screen. Held each November (usually in Belize City), the festival brings together top filmmakers, animators, documentarians, movie buffs and other cinema industry creatives as well as executives from the Caribbean, Latin America and elsewhere around the world. Unlike most film festivals that are high on the glam, the Belize International Film Festival showcases films focused heavily on the contemporary social issues and challenges facing our region. To be sure, this is a film festival with soul.



Belize International Film Festival


World Creole Music Festival, Dominica


Music festivals always make for a great time, and many of the region’s best-known events are marketed as “jazz fests” — the better (so organizers believe) to appeal to tourists. Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival, though, is different. It is unabashedly all about homegrown West Indian music. Held annually in late October, the World Creole Music Festival is the largest cultural celebration of the year in The Nature Island. The event attracts the biggest acts in just about every genre of Caribbean music, including soca, reggae, zouk, kompa, salsa and more. The bigger deal for those keen on taking a deep dive into West Indian music, however, are the smaller acts specializing in traditional folk and newly emerging musical forms, like bouyon, for instance. In Creole, the word “bouyon” refers to a gumbo soup — a spicy mixture, savory and satisfying. The musical style was developed in Dominica in the 1990s combining elements of zouk, soca and various other West Indian genres to create a wonderful new sound worthy of the name. A tasty musical treat best enjoyed at the World Creole Music Fest.




There is an effortless, unflappable poise about Miss Universe Jamaica Miqueal-Symone Williams. 26


f you watched the 2021 Miss Universe pageant, held earlier this year at the the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, the 24-year-old international model clearly stood out — all graceful limbs and gleaming smile as she strutted across the stage to take her top-10 position. During the broadcast, in a glossy introduction video, she outlined her interest in mental health awareness. The video’s narrative was a familiar one, representing the pageant’s ideals of inner beauty and social activism. But the brief segment revealed the deeply personal reason behind Williams’ passion for mental health advocacy — her personal struggle with the sudden, tragic loss of her mother in 2017. Williams’ voiceover shared treasured memories as the B-roll showed snapshots of their life together. One photo showed her mother, perhaps not much older than Williams is now, revealing a striking resemblance between them. When the video ended, switching back to Williams standing under the bright stage lights, her signature polish slipped for a moment. Her expression conveyed a mixture of grief and pride. “When I look at myself, I see my mother, and I see all my other ancestors who have fought for me to be where I am now. Every time I achieve a goal, I think I achieve a goal for all of us,” she says.

◂ Photography: Darrick Foster, DAC X Productions Fashion: Dermoth Williams Resort @UzuriInternational Stylists: Mark McDermoth & Karl Williams Makeup: O’Neil Baugh, GlamByOneilmua6618 Hair: Marcia Lengard featuring Design Essential products Location: AC Hotel by Marriott Kingston, Jamaica

Photography: Dario Shields, Daregha Studios Fashion: Dermoth Williams Resort Wear @UzuriInternational Stylists: Karl Williams and Mark McDermoth Hair and Makeup: Oneil Baugh, GlamByOneilmua6618 Location: Ocean Coral Spring Resort



There’s no reason why you should have to [act] strong when you feel like you need to lean on someone.

Photography: Dario Shields, Daregha Studios Fashion: Dermoth Williams Resort Wear @UzuriInternational Stylists: Karl Williams and Mark McDermoth Hair and Makeup: Oneil Baugh, GlamByOneilmua6618 Location: Ocean Coral Spring Resort

Symone Williams with her mother.

Mental Health Advocate Beyond the glitz and glam of pageants, it is this sentiment that keeps beauty queens so popular and culturally relevant across the diaspora. For women from all walks of life, Miss Jamaica — her beauty, her success, her ambitions and yes, even her grief — can represent our own aspirational hopes and ideals. At her young age, Williams is well-versed in living with heartbreak and finding renewed purpose after tragedy. This year’s title embodied a full circle moment in her healing journey. She had entered the same pageant in 2017 but withdrew following the loss of her mother. Embracing therapy and prioritizing her mental health proved to be key to her success. The following year, Williams won the Pulse Model Search and began traveling

▸ Williams walks the runway for Valentino’s Spring 2019 Haute Couture show.



▴ A young Miqueal-

the world as a professional model. While starring in campaigns for L’Oréal and walking the runway for Valentino, working in fashion “exposed me to the experiences of so many other people,” she says. “Just hearing their stories and seeing how they relate to [mental health] — it was a very, very helpful time in my life in terms of my grieving process, and that’s what solidified my interest in mental health as a platform.” Recognizing the importance of support systems, Williams launched The Bloom Initiative to support Jamaican children. The project focuses on providing internet service to students so they can attend online classes. Williams hoped the program would also help participants maintain relationships as schools shut down due to COVID-19. “If they couldn’t go to school and even virtually link up with their friends, it would negatively impact their mental health,” she notes.

Williams also volunteers as a mentor at the Wortley Home For Girls. Established in 1918, the home provides a space for vulnerable young ladies, including those who have been orphaned. When talking about her mentees, her face instantly brightens. She has connected with them on a deeply personal level through their shared loss. “They’ve had more traumatic things happen in their lives than other children their age,” Williams explains. “With my own experience losing my mother in the way that I did, I can give them that [very knowing] type of support.” The greatest lesson she shares with them is the importance of emotional openness. “It’s only when you allow yourself to be broken that you can properly put yourself back together again.” Her mother, she laughs, “always gave me my space to go through my emotions.” Looking back, she recalls, “I went through quite a bit of teen angst myself.”



Support Systems


There’s a spirit of resiliency, courage and hope that lies with the Jamaican woman. And I hope to embody that.


In honor of her mother, Williams hopes to launch a foundation providing psychological therapy and safe spaces for children. Following the pandemic, greater support for mental health overall is desperately needed in Jamaica. Medical experts warn of a pending public crisis. The Ministry of Health and Wellness reported a major uptick in calls made into the mental health and suicide prevention hotline, approximately doubling at the start of the pandemic between March and April 2020. The challenges of managing these mental health issues are only compounded by the general stigma surrounding them. Williams hopes her public advocacy can ease this cultural shame and encourage people to seek help. “There’s no reason why you should have to [act] strong when you feel like you need to lean on someone.” The reigning queen herself leans on her family, including her father Michael, stepmother Maxine and a network of dedicated aunties. “I can’t leave any of them out!” she laughs. Their support has been instrumental in her success balancing the pageant with modeling, all while completing her bachelor’s degree in marketing this year at the University of the West Indies. Though the country may look to Williams for an image of the nation’s feminine ideal, Williams turns to her own community of women for guidance on the kind of woman she wants to be. “There’s a spirit of resiliency, courage and hope that lies with the Jamaican woman,” she says. “And I hope to embody that.”



Standing at around 4 feet 11 inches, 84-year-old Patricia Chin at first presents as an unassuming figure. In reality, she is one of the giants of Caribbean music — a co-founder of the largest independent reggae record label in the world.



er company, VP Records — named for Vincent (her late husband) and Patricia Chin — has been a launching pad for international Caribbean music icons like Sean Paul, Beres Hammond and Maxi Priest. Today, Miss Pat, as she is popularly known, rubs shoulders with mega-stars like Snoop Dogg, a reggae music fan who briefly adopted the Rastafarianinspired name Snoop Lion, among others. At the sunset of an extraordinarily accomplished career in music, she spends her time supporting the charitable Vincent and Patricia Foundation and promoting her recently published memoir. But the colorful story she shares in its pages began more than 60 years ago in Kingston, Jamaica.

Reggae Roots As a young man, Vincent “Randy” Chin had amassed a collection of discarded 45s and LPs from his work with a jukebox company. In 1958, he and his wife, Patricia, opened up a tiny record shop called Randy’s. The location became a hotspot for the latest releases from local artists and naturally, it seemed, a recording room opened upstairs soon after, in 1965. Studio 17 provided a precious production venue for a generation of stars that would come to define Jamaican popular music. Chin casually recounts stories of artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Niney the Observer hanging around the studio and shop. “When they were doing a record, if they wanted a musician, they would call downstairs and [whoever was available] would get a job, so a lot of people used to hang around there,” she says. “It really was a hub for all musicians and music-related business.” The songs created at Studio 17 in the early years became the soundtrack for Jamaica at a pivotal moment. “It was an exciting time because, in 1962, we got our independence,” she recalls. “It was a time for renewal — making new music — and Jamaica was really on the cusp of change.” The island’s music reflected a cultural revolution as the new eras of ska, rocksteady and reggae genres emerged, cementing Jamaica’s identity on the world stage. Many of the artists emerging from Studio 17 gained international recognition, especially in places with growing Caribbean immigrant populations like the United Kingdom and the United States.

A New Chapter Eventually, Chin would join the diaspora community, moving to New York with her family. “I left Jamaica in 1977 because we were going through political unrest,” she explains. “It became very dangerous to live there. A lot of riots were going on. I

Miss Pat with hip hop artist Snoop Dogg.

I spent 20 years behind the counter, so I knew all the sounds, producers, riddims, versions.



A young Miss Pat with customers at Randy’s.

Patricia and Vincent “Randy” Chin.

My work wasn’t special. I honor those people who sell fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk. I was just selling a different commodity.

remember in the early 70s there were so many riots that when we opened shop, we had to close three, four times a day. It’s not possible to do business like that.” Starting all over in America was hard, but eventually, they began to rebuild, opening VP Records in Queens. “We had to learn the culture, coming from a small island. My husband chose Jamaica, Queens because it reminded him of our home country.” The duo had to adapt to new challenges and demands. Chin refers to her role in this process as the “middle man,” as she often was the direct link between finding little-known records and distributing them to a larger audience. “We went to Brooklyn three, four times a week. There were a few Jamaican record stores out there, and we took a lot of Jamaican music.” This led to a shift in the distribution process of the store: “What we did differently is that we stocked everybody’s music, not only my label but everybody’s label. We became a one-stop.” During her hours spent digging through crates for the next big hit, she encountered new musical territory: a Caribbean genre called “soca” that was growing in popularity among other islands. “I had to learn about soca from scratch,” Chin reflects. Instead of running from the challenge, she chose to embrace the potential and applied her business knowledge to create something new. “We put all the soca hits on one LP. We went around to different islands when they had carnival, selected the best of the best, and called it ‘Soca Gold.’” The series became a huge success for VP Records, spawning consecutive volumes over the years, and they’ve applied the model to the other genres they represent. Chin’s versatility and forward-thinking helped propel the company to success in the United States and beyond. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Chin grew VP Records from a reggae outlet to the leading source for dancehall records and eventually into the world’s premier independent music label for reggae, dancehall and soca. Chin has kept her finger on the pulse of current trends. Embracing change, including musical evolution, has helped her to stay relevant and move with the times.

A Woman’s World

Miss Pat and Vincent Chin at Studio 17.


Following her husband’s passing in 2003, Chin found herself a woman at the helm of a growing empire. In the years leading up to this pivotal moment, she recalls being underestimated because of her gender. “I spent 20 years behind the counter, so I knew all the sounds, producers, riddims, versions. Actually, I used to spin the disk on the counter too, so I was very educated in all the music.” Despite her clear expertise, “they said I was doing a man’s job because I was doing music. But I didn’t see myself like that. Women sometimes are the breadwinners

of the family, even back home. My work wasn’t special. I honor those people who sell fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk. I was just selling a different commodity.” She applauds women in music — like Spice, a VP Records artist who is currently one of the most prominent dancehall figures in the world — who remain at the top of the game. “We do have many female singers that are doing pretty good for themselves, so I’m happy about that.”

VP Records founders Patricia and Vincent “Randy” Chin.

The Band Plays On

It makes me very proud that a small island like Jamaica has been able to send out so much beautiful music.” When asked why she believes Jamaican music continues to have such a strong impact in the world, Chin says, “it is the message in the music. We all go through struggles in life.” Jamaican music has helped her endure personal struggles, as well as connect with so many on an international scale. “Music will never die,” she muses. “It’s just a beautiful way of bringing people together.”

Music is just a beautiful way of bringing people together.


1601 NE 164th St, North Miami Beach, FL 33162 | (305) 948-2970 |



In recent years, she has taken a step back from running the company as her children take on lead roles. In addition to running the Vincent and Patricia Foundation, Chin spends time promoting her book, “Miss Pat: My Reggae Music Journey.” Part of the proceeds from her book go back to the foundation to “preserve and protect the culture [of] reggae, dancehall, soca, really all music in the Caribbean,” she explains. But she still finds the greatest joy in hearing the music she helped bring to the world in the most unlikely of places. “I went to Alaska a couple of years ago,” she recalls, “and as we were getting off the ship, there was a little three-piece band singing One Love. And I thought, ‘Oh wow. Even in Alaska!’

m enco

i h Ex





Model: Kadiya McDonald Photographer: JP Williams Stylist: Shampagne Wardrobe: SEORA CLOTHING taffeta and mesh three-piece marijuana-inspired set.



oung, high fashion mogul Shampagne is taking over Jamaica with her brand, SEORA, featuring custom designs ranging from upcycled vintage garb to edgy street fashion looks. She says, “I always knew that whatever I did or made, I wanted Jamaican culture, Caribbean culture to be at the heart of it.” @seoraco

High Fashion Inspired by the lack of female representation in skate culture and the taboo nature of marijuana use by women, Shampagne wanted to represent Rastafarianism and pay homage to under-represented groups. The point was to prove that women can be it all, do it all and have it all.




Nice Up The Dance When asked to create something vintage for Reggae singer Kabaka Pyramid’s “Nice Up The Dance” music video, Shampagne chose to go bold. She drew inspiration from Shabba Ranks, a popular Jamaican artist known for denim suits, creating a vintage-looking denim jacket and pants set, choosing a creamy white instead of the traditional blue.

Model: Kabaka Pyramid Photographer: Shaquiel Brooks Stylist: Shampagne Wardrobe: SEORA CLOTHING vintage white denim with printed silk shirt.



Model: Lauren Tomlinson Photographer: James Mitchell Stylist: Shampagne Wardrobe: SEORA CLOTHING white, twopiece peasant set with traditional Jamaican bandana head wrap.


Lala’s Nutmeg After opening a vegan restaurant in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, model and owner of Lala’s Nutmeg, Lauren Tomlinson, really wanted to emphasize the importance of farm-to-table products in her new venture. Shampagne designed a modernized banana skirt set and head tie representing traditional Jamaican apparel, but with a modern twist.



OUTspoken Unapologetic author and activist Staceyann Chin creates a voice for the oppressed with her powerful words. WRITER G. WRIGHT MUIR PHOTOGRAPHY VARIOUS



f you’ve read Staceyann Chin’s 2009 coming-of-age memoir, “The Other Side of Paradise,” you know that even as a little girl in rural Jamaica, she was outspoken. As her older brother described her in the book, she was always the child who wanted to talk “‘bout things what nobody else want talk ‘bout.” Some things never change. In her years as a critically-acclaimed poet, playwright, performer and activist, Chin has been an unyielding advocate for the marginalized while challenging the powers that be. No status quo is safe. She moved from dismantling social hypocrisies with her thunderous performances on the iconic HBO TV show “Def Poetry Jam” to capturing her convention-breaking journey to motherhood in her 2015 one-woman play “MotherStruck!” For me, perhaps her greatest impact lies in her work giving unprecedented visibility to the LGBTQ+ Caribbean diaspora. She was the first Caribbean queer public figure I knew that so openly spoke to our experiences. For more than 10 years, I quietly came out to close friends and family, then finally came out publicly in 2013. I decided then to write a memoir sharing my own story. Discovering Chin’s book empowered me to begin. Her frankness connects with me profoundly as a Jamaican who grew up in a culture that has shunned queer Caribbeans. There was and often continues to be blatant hostility spewing from speakers at Saturday night dances, and fire and brimstone at Sunday morning church service.

the author. “I was interesting and new enough for the powers that be to take notice of me.” The American Dream-come-true narrative could have easily overshadowed the subtle complexities of her story. But while the Big Apple provided her refuge in one way, she quickly realized that New York was no paradise. In the city, “it was good to be a lesbian, but I found that it was increasingly difficult to be Black,” she explains. In response to the reality of living in America, her work has confronted racism, economic inequity and other injustices holistically. The result is always raw and vulnerable. In her book of poetry “Crossfire: A Litany for Survival,” published in 2019, we experience the depth and breadth of her passions, exploring love, sexuality, politics, feminism, family, domestic violence, international human rights and other topics at the intersection of her experience as a lesbian, immigrant, single mother and Black woman.

From One Generation to the Next Her advocacy and art have only intensified since becoming a mother. Her 9-year-old daughter, Zuri, is already enthusiastically engaged in her mother’s activism. You can watch her blossoming as a


For Chin, speaking out has never been a question of bravery, but one of sheer survival – a way of reclaiming herself in the aftermath of an earthshattering moment in her life. While she was a student at the University of the West Indies, Mona, she was sexually assaulted by a group of men who attacked her for daring to confidently and openly exist as the gay woman she is. Simply living on the island was a risk. In the relative safety of New York — a strange city in a strange country — performing her unedited, unfiltered poetry and sharing her truth on stage felt freeing. “It was so important to me to have room to speak, to feel as if my story could be told and heard,” she shares with me in an interview, recalling her development as an artist in those early days. “I started to tell the story to whoever would listen, the small cafes in Brooklyn and confessional groups with other Black lesbians.” These first forays soon led her to bigger national stages — from the “Def Poetry Jam” TV and Broadway shows to her landmark interview on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2007. “I was at the right place at the right time, with the right identity marker,” says


Room to Speak

It was so important to me to have room to speak, to feel as if my story could be told and heard.



thoughtful speaker on Chin’s inspiring YouTube series “Living Room Protest.” Alongside banter about street safety and back-to-school worries, mother and daughter have created their own safe corner of the web to passionately discuss social issues, including body positivity, gun control and rights for migrant families. Though becoming a mother has only made the urgency of her causes more acute, Chin knows real change is a long game. “It might be slower than we would like,” she says, “but those of us who do the work know that the work is for your life and for your children’s lives, and for your children’s children’s lives.” For her next book project, she’s interested in exploring her relationship with her mother, who was estranged during her childhood – a journey captured in a documentary in development called “Away With Words,” to be directed by JamaicanCanadian filmmaker Laurie Townshend. For now, her journey has taken her back to Jamaica. In the heart of the pandemic, Chin left New York with Zuri to visit the island for just a few weeks. Months later, she’s still there and has no idea when she’s leaving.


Connections at the Heart

Those of us who do the work know that the work is for your life and for your children’s lives. 46

The Jamaica she left all those years ago has changed in many ways, thanks to the hard work of local activists and organizations like the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG). On the world stage, Jamaican contemporary literature is also prominently represented by other LGBTQ+ authors like Nicole Dennis-Benn and Marlon James. As far as overall attitudes, “they have definitely shifted in the middle class,” says Chin. “But we have to recognize that such privilege begets safety.” As a child of humble beginnings, she says, “I’m very aware that poor people are unsafe.” So she focuses her advocacy far beyond LGBTQ+ issues. She fights for all who need the fight. “So it’s not just poor, gay people [who] are unsafe. Poor, straight people are unsafe. Poor girls are unsafe. Poor, Black men too are unsafe from the police here.” The unsafe are the people who drive the creativity at the core of her art. One of her greatest badges of honor, she says, “is that my books are the most stolen in Barnes & Noble stores in New York City.” She supposes the people who steal them are very much like the young woman she was when she first came to America — struggling to get by, trying to find a safe place in a system “that doesn’t speak for them or take them into consideration.” She hopes that she has provided a safe harbor in her book and that those who need to see their experiences reflected back in the stories they read, wherever they are, will always find a home among her words.




Foundational relationships, like the ones formed with family, are central to character and personality development in young people.


he first and most influential relationship we have is with family, so social service organization Gang Alternative, Inc. (GA) begins there, making Family Strengthening one of their guiding Pillars of Service. The goal of this pillar is to equip families in underserved communities with support programs focused specifically on children and parents. In-home counseling and the Circle of Strength Parenting (COSP) program, for example, offer essential tools for fostering a healthy home environment. After learning how to communicate better with COSP, Ester,

a mother of one, says, “I am grateful [because the program helped] bring my relationship with my child closer.” When family bonds are tested by traumatic events or negative circumstances, strengthening and repairing these relationships is important to a young person’s mental health and well-being. Families impacted by abuse, neglect and violence are served by support groups, case management and more to facilitate the healing process through the organization’s UPLIFT program. Health & Wellness is another of GA’s five Pillars of Service, providing preven-

tion and intervention programs for both mental and physical wellbeing. To manage mental health issues like anxiety or depression experienced by trauma survivors, the Circle of Strength program offers in-home therapy. Natasha, a 17-year-old participant in this program, has only been with GA for about four months, but she has already learned that prioritizing mental health and family strengthening is an important step toward achieving overall wellness. Other program areas that deal with physical health include Screening, Testing, Education and Prevention Urban Partnership (STEP-UP) and Supporting Urban Populations with Prevention Opportunities to Reduce Transmission (SUPPORT), both designed to educate individuals 13 to 24 years old on safe sexual health practices.

To learn more about Gang Alternative, Inc. and how you can support their efforts, visit






Civil Rights in Cyberspace WRITER LYNDON NICHOLAS


The power of social media is undeniable. We saw it used as a political tool during the 2008 election, where Obama successfully catalyzed an audience of voters using Facebook as a campaigning tool.


ore recently, we also saw the power of social media in political organizing when white nationalists used various social platforms to organize an occupation of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. In 2019, Facebook users watched in shock as someone livestreamed the shooting of multiple people in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. These instances prove that social media, as a tool, has a great capacity for both positive and negative influence. To combat the negative, individuals, organizations and even corporations are starting to take a proactive approach to censoring hate speech and violent organizing in social media spaces. I had the chance to speak with Roy L. Austin, VP of Civil Rights and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, who hopes to do just that. Austin has a long history of civil rights work that spans decades. His experience in the field includes time spent as a trial attorney with the criminal section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, as a senior assistant U.S. attorney in the civil rights unit of the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office, as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and as the deputy assistant to the president for the


We are dealing with machine learning and algorithms, and that’s a space that civil rights law has never really looked at.


Office of Urban Affairs. One of his most noteworthy accomplishments was co-authoring a report on Big Data and Civil Rights, where he worked with President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and helped develop the Police Data Initiative, which has been influential in pushing for data transparency in law enforcement policy nationwide. He was also a member of the president’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force and most recently worked as a partner at the law firm of Harris, Wiltshire, & Grannis LLP, specializing in criminal defense and civil rights law.

Equal Footing When I ask how someone with such an auspicious career got into the field of civil rights, Austin chuckles. “The shallow truth is that my parents, as wonderful as they are, allowed me to watch way too much TV as a kid.” He admits, “L.A. Law was the [show] I really fell in love with. The idea of being a stand up attorney was something that I dreamt about as a child.” Austin was also watching something else from the comforts of his home in State College, Pennsylvania: the nightly news. “I grew up as a Black kid in an almost

exclusively white community, and [I came to] a realization primarily from the media that my life was very different from other Black kids growing up in the world.” He recounts watching “image after image of young Black kids being shot, killed, arrested,” and the impression that had on a child whose biggest problems were finishing his homework and attending college football and soccer games. Austin, whose Vincentian father was a criminologist, sociologist and U.S. ambassador to Trinidad, endeavors to follow a path similar to his dad’s. He notes, “A goal and passion of mine is to make sure all kids grow up with all the opportunities that I was afforded.” Austin says that his upbringing was deeply rooted in the Caribbean culture of his parents. He relates that his parents “did everything they could to make sure that we understood Caribbean culture and life. It was just a regular part of who we were, from celebrations to food to family to friends.” He reflects, “My entire life was built on my parents’ heritage,” and he attributes his success to them. “I am grateful for my immigrant roots. [They] gave my parents motivation to make sure that their children were put in the best possible positions because they remember what it was like to grow up in a place where they didn’t have material goods and didn’t have access to top resources.” He connects this to his personal need to strive for better conditions for all people, regardless of identity.

Same ****, Different Day When it comes to his work, Austin continues to grapple with the concept of civil rights in a digital space. Many companies have looked to promote diversity in cybersecurity positions, but according to Austin, this is an area that is still evolving. “We are dealing with machine learning and algorithms, and that’s a space that civil rights law has never really looked at. How do you make sure you are respecting cultural traditions, religious liberty, freedom and respecting all voices?” It brings up ethical questions that have been part of the broader conversation surrounding the media and free speech for years. “Look, it’s social media, so a piece of that is the same kinds of questions that are raised about all media, all conversations. What’s appropriate, what’s inappropriate, when does language cross the line from poor speech to hate speech or bullying?” He relents, acknowledging that regardless of technology, there are broader questions we have to answer for ourselves as a society. For Austin, diversity in this arena is a start, but it is not enough to combat the intersecting



I have no idea where we are going next. What is important is that, hopefully, my team and I build an infrastructure for whatever comes next so that people are not discriminated against.

systemic issues that marginalized people face. Without a focus on equity and justice in the real world, issues of the American political system proliferate on these social media platforms. According to Austin, one of the events that made this glaringly obvious was the pandemic. “The pandemic has shone a light on the challenges that the world faces. Those who have [privilege] get access to resources, access to the vaccine, access to quality news.” It has shown us that, “poor Black and Brown communities are still struggling. Again, it’s a reflection of where we are as a world, as a country.” We as a country have a long way to go in our efforts to fix these issues, and social media mirrors that. Still, we must work toward providing safer spaces that people can inhabit without having to endure virtual, emotional or physical forms of violence and marginalization.


The Great Unknown So what’s next? “That’s the thing about this field,” Austin admits, “I have no idea where we are going next. The field of technology is moving so quickly. Smart glasses, the power of self-driving cars — they talk about things that were, for us, science fiction, that I see happening in our lifetime. What is important is that, hopefully, my team and I build an infrastructure for whatever comes next so that people are not discriminated against.” For Austin, it is about taking a structural approach and building out systems that take into account diversity, equity and justice, serving generations to come. Social media will continue to play an integral role in the lives of future generations. As we close our interview, Austin reflects on his own experiences as a father of two children. I ask how we can teach young people to navigate spaces like social media, where they are at risk of encountering negativity. “I think you instill in your children — especially young Black children — resilience and the ability to take on all that comes to you. That’s what I instill in them and hopefully, whatever the world looks like in 10 or 30 years, they can adapt those lessons wherever they go.”




n the Caribbean community, we face an uphill battle when trying to create lasting wealth and enough earnings to give our children sound financial foundations for their futures. We are faced with obstacles like discrimination, smaller support systems and cultural hurdles like a belief that heaven does not favor the rich. Despite these challenges, you can still empower yourself by changing your relationship with money and building productive habits that support your goal.


Get The Right Mindset

Find A Role Model

It is easy to believe that you are too old, too young or too poor to begin building wealth. Get rid of that thinking today, and then get going, no matter how small you start. It is important to have the right mindset. If you believe that money is evil or that all debt is bad, then you might never create substantial wealth. Your beliefs about money must match your financial goals. Giving your children a better life, having a stress-free retirement and donating heartily to the causes most important to you all require money. So, you must invest over the long term to accumulate more of it. Let’s debunk a prominent myth: hard work alone will NOT create wealth. Building for the future requires a level of comfort with financial risk, as you must make money work for you (rather than you working for money). Parking your money in a bank account is relatively safe, but it earns you very little. Investing in corporate shares through the stock market is more risky, but it can earn far more. And you should understand the difference between good and bad debt. Good debt, such as a mortgage on an investment property, can generate ongoing revenue and improve your returns. Bad debt increases your costs without acquiring you any income-producing assets.

Once you have the right mindset, you need a financial goal, a plan to achieve it, discipline and a teacher. As a young soccer player in Jamaica, my coach taught me the importance of learning the game by studying the best athletes. Wealth creation is no different. There are proven methods, and it is always better to have a teacher, even if it’s not someone you personally know. Early on, I made a list of five highly successful wealth creators and studied them. You too can research the practices of role models who align with your personal financial goals. Many wealth creators have written books outlining their successful strategies. One book that I recommend is “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.”

Get Started


Speak to a licensed financial advisor and open an investment account with a company like Charles Schwab, JP Morgan Chase, Vanguard or any other reputable broker. Consistently set aside money each month to buy shares in companies you understand. This allows you to practice dollar-cost averaging (averaging out the price you pay for the shares over time) rather than trying to time the market (buying when prices are low and selling when they are high), which rarely works. A simpler, more accessible option is to buy an S&P 500 Index Fund, such as the Vanguard VOO, and not stress about owning individual companies. Over 20 years, the index has always beaten a savings account. The hardest part about investing is controlling your emotions; you must be able to ignore the market dips and focus on the longterm. Anyone can build wealth. There is no “get rich quick” formula, but patience, increased financial knowledge and discipline will ultimately be your best tools on your journey to monetary success.

David P. A. Mullings is Chairman and CEO of Blue Mahoe Capital Partners Inc., an impact investment firm focused on wealth creation and transformational investments. Read David’s extended advice, including the Five Laws of Wealth Creation from his mentor Michael Lee-Chin, at

Help for Haiti Nonprofit Organizations Step Up to Provide Relief for Haiti WRITER JORDAN UNGER



n August 14, 2021, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 2,000, injuring more than 12,000 and destroying thousands of homes across the Tiburon Peninsula, about 90 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Days later, Tropical Storm Grace pounded the region with heavy rainfall, hindering already challenging rescue and recovery efforts. These disasters could not have come at a worse time for the country, still reeling from the crisis following President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination just a month earlier. Haiti had not yet recovered from the 2010 earthquake, which resulted in over 200,000 deaths and left another 1.5 million people displaced. Years later, millions of Haitians are still in need of humanitarian aid — an unfortunate truth that has made the recent 2021 earthquake and hurricane nothing short of devastating for the country.


Although the situation remains a priority in the Haitian community, the outpouring of support from the United States may pale in comparison to the 2010 efforts because of the number of other headlinegrabbing events happening around the world and their impact. These include the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Hurricane Ida’s destruction from Louisiana to the northeast and COVID surges throughout the United States. But while America manages multiple crises, the issues in Haiti remain as pressing as ever. Just hours after the earthquake hit Haiti, President Biden, a number of nonprofits and individual organizations promised much-needed urgent help. CEO and co-founder of Primary Medical Care Center, Prinston Jean-Glaude, has made a personal contribution to the relief efforts. “As a son and daughter of au Cayes, Port Salut, Haiti,” he wrote in an email encouraging public support, my

wife“ and I, along with Primary Medical Care Center and its affiliates, have committed to donating $50,000 to help Haiti rebuild in the wake of the earthquake that destroyed so many families on August 14, 2021.” Jean-Glaude ended the email by saying, “Together, let’s make a HUGE humanitarian impact. Every dollar, every donation, it can help change someone’s life.” Headquartered in Jamaica, GraceKennedy is one of the largest food manufacturers in the Caribbean. Speaking for the organization, Community Relations Specialist Donna Callender says, “We donated pallets of [food] products through the Caribbean American coalition under the Caribbean Strong Relief Fund and Global Empowerment Mission. GraceKennedy Foods was happy to assist with this very worthy cause as our neighboring country is in desperate need of help.” Born out of relief efforts for the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, World Central Kitchen has been committed to providing relief and assistance across the globe. Founded by celebrity chef and restaurateur José Andrés, the nonprofit partners with local restaurants and chefs to





bring fresh meals to disaster zones while also supporting the local economy. According to the organization’s Florida ground team lead, Monica Majors, a team from World Central Kitchen was deployed within the first 24 hours of the earthquake to provide assistance. “When the earthquake struck the southern part of Haiti, we knew that there was going to be a need for food because, simply, when people are hungry, they can’t wait. Food is urgent,” Majors said. “But along with that we also [distribute] solar lamps, that are provided by partners, or access to bottled water or beverages. [Our service] does spread to whatever needs need to be filled.” Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the United States, began working in Haiti in 1986 and still serves there. In a September 1 news release from their website, the organization noted, “In

Grace Foods and World Central Kitchen preparing donations and food distribution for Haiti.

the 18 days since Haiti’s southern peninsula was rocked by an earthquake, Food For The Poor has dispatched more than 60 truckloads of critical relief supplies to families in desperate need of food, water and shelter.” The agency, in the same news release, added that it has moved displaced families into 48 newly built homes and sent multiple truckloads of medicines and

medical supplies to hospitals in the country. “Our commitment to Haiti is strong and we’ll be there for as long as it takes. We’re not leaving them behind,” said Jisabelle Garcia-Pedroso, Food For The Poor’s senior operations manager. “We’ll continue to do whatever work is needed to bring relief, to bring hope and, hopefully, to bring transformation.”

Note from the publisher: Island Origins Magazine is a strong supporter of these organizations and we encourage our readers to support them. Please visit and to donate. Learn more about Primary Medical Care Center at

WE ARE ONE Food For The Poor is helping the people of Haiti recover and rebuild from the devastating earthquake on August 14. Thank you for coming together to help our neighbors. They need us, now more than ever.

Photo Courtesy Aerial Recovery Group

If you can help, please go to: 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073 800-487-1 1 58 • 954-427-2222




met the owner of Manjay, Christian Dominique, at his Miami location inside The Citadel. Manjay occupies a stylish space in this modern food hall with multiple restaurants on the first floor of the building. Dominique’s family is in the hospitality business in Haiti. Still, he had personal goals to own and guide the operations of a restaurant beyond the casual variety. With encouragement from his wife, he pursued the desire to represent Caribbean flavors through fine-casual dining and tweaked traditional recipes to create the menu at the heart of Manjay’s 2019 launch.


The restaurant presents itself as a purveyor of modern Caribbean cuisine, “celebrating diversity by bringing a fresh, modern approach” to it. Their chef, Jonathan, builds on Dominique’s Haitian heritage, putting a spin on Caribbean favorites. Jonathan also informed me that they are opening a new restaurant later this year in Wynwood, where they intend to expand their offerings with a few new (but secret), extra special items. My repast — as designed and recommended by Chef Jonathan — was both attractive to the eyes and extremely enjoyable to consume.

Caribbean Conch Fritters

Coco Loco Shrimp My meal started with pan-seared coconut curry shrimp served with very tender and flavorful rice and crispy banan payzay — pressed plantains with loads of flavor, leaving the taste buds with a spicy and salty after-taste. The coco loco seasoning on the shrimp carries with it a hint of authentic Indian flavor.

Kreyol Bib Creole-style, slow-braised pork was set atop toasted multigrain bread with an avocado spread and aioli sauce and served with pikliz — a spicy Haitian coleslaw. The dish offered an overall wonderful combination of textures and tastes with crunchy toast, well-seasoned pork, creamy avocado and garlicky dressing. While the servings are not typically as large as many other Caribbean restaurants, which often present the ability to share a plate or have leftovers for the next day, the meals represent healthy portions for one sitting. I’m not in Miami often enough to become a regular, but I’ll happily recommend Manjay for anyone looking for good Caribbeaninspired casual dining.

Coco Loco Shrimp

Kreyol Bib



British Caribbean Cuisine


hen the British occupied many of the Caribbean islands beginning in the 1700s, they brought with them traditions and customs that would influence the region long after their forces withdrew. Emancipation was ordered by the Brits on August 1, 1834, now officially known throughout the region as Emancipation Day. Over the centuries, cuisine across the Anglo-Caribbean territories became a mix of English, African, Latin and Amerindian tastes. Try these recipes for authentic British-Caribbean flavor.



A tasty “old Jamaican” breakfast dish that is a creamy, salty and savory vestige of the island’s colonial past. WHAT YOU’LL NEED • 2 pounds salted mackerel • Lime juice • 2 cups coconut milk • 1 large onion, sliced • 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped after seeds removed • 2 tomatoes, chopped • 3 sprigs thyme • salt and black pepper to taste • parsley for garnish

WHAT TO DO 1. Wash the mackerel with water and lime juice, then boil in hot water for 10 minutes to remove excess salt. 2. Drain and then break the mackerel into small pieces. 3. Add coconut milk to a pan and boil on medium simmer until it reduces, becoming oily. 4. Stir in onion, garlic, thyme, Scotch bonnet pepper and tomatoes. Add the mackerel and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. 5. Serve with other Jamaican sides like dumplings or ground provisions.


Traditional British puddings were steamed in small vessels covered with greased paper and foil. This Bahamian bananaflavored pudding is close to bread but retains its chewy texture with no baking powder added. • 7 ripe bananas • 1 cup sugar • ¼ teaspoon salt • ½ cup milk • 1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring

• 2 eggs, beaten • ¾ stick butter, melted • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

WHAT TO DO: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas. 3. Mix in the sugar, salt, milk, vanilla, eggs, butter and nutmeg, then the flour until completely combined. 4. Pour into a buttered 9 x 12 inch rectangular pan. 5. Bake on the middle rack for about 40 minutes until browned on top and a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean. 6. Allow to cool at least slightly, then cut into squares and serve hot or cold.


Breadfruit was first brought to the Caribbean islands by the British in the late 1700s. These savory Vincentian breadfruit puffs create the perfect snack or party appetizer. WHAT YOU’LL NEED • 1 whole breadfruit • ¼ cup milk • 1 large egg • ½ cup chopped onion • ¼ cup chopped parsley •¼ cup chopped green onions

• 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped and seeds removed • ½ teaspoon salt • pinch of black pepper • 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs • ⅛ teaspoon salt • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper • Oil, for frying

WHAT TO DO 1. Cut an “X” into the breadfruit to pierce the skin, then boil, fully submerged, until it is easy to insert and remove a knife. Remove and drain. 2. Once cool to the touch, remove the skin and core. Add the breadfruit to a large bowl and mash while the flesh is still warm. 3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk, then add to the breadfruit. 4. Add the onion, Scotch bonnet pepper, green onions, parsley, salt and pepper to the mix and combine. 5. Pour 1 ½ cups of breadcrumbs into a small bowl and mix together with remaining salt and pepper. 6. Form the puffs by taking a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and, with oiled hands, rolling it into a ball, repeating until the entire mixture has been used. 7. Toss the puffs in the breadcrumb mixture to coat evenly. 8. In a pot or deep fryer over medium heat, add enough oil to cover the puffs. Once hot, add the puffs and fry until golden brown and crispy. 9. Remove with tongs or a metal spoon. Drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Then enjoy!




LISTING IN SOUTH FLORIDA 925 NUEVO’S CUBANO’S | $ Cuban Serving succulent roast pork and delicious sandwiches. 925 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale

ALBERTE’S RESTAURANT I $$ Haitian Unique and authentic Caribbean dishes with live music on Fridays and Saturdays. 1201 N.E. 38th St., Oakland Park

ALEXSANDRA’S CARIBBEAN CAFE | $ Caribbean, Jamaican Soak up some sun while enjoying their famous jerk chicken sandwich and patties. 235 E. Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

ALI’S ROTI SHOP | $$ Caribbean, Indian, Vegetarian Trinidadian mom and pop shop serving favorites like doubles & aloo pie. 303 S. State Road 7, Plantation

LA BELLE JACMELIENNE CAFE | $$ Haitian Caribbean decor and friendly staff serving up a wide array of Haitian cuisine. 3328 S. University Drive, Miramar


BAMBOO SHACK | $$ Bahamian Quick-service restaurant serving snacks and traditional Bahamian items. 18450 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami Gardens

BAHAMIAN REEF SEAFOOD RESTAURANT | $$ Seafood Low-key and casual with colorful interior. 7836 N.W. 44th St., Sunrise b

BOHIO LATIN FLAVORS | $$ Dominican, Latin, Caribbean Family-style restaurant offering music, mofongo, shrimp and dancing. 2181 State Road 7, Margate b

BUTTERFLAKES BAKERY & GRILL | $ Jamaican Local spot for patties and hot food.

CHEF CREOLE | $$ Haitian Simply delicious signature Haitian seafood. 200 N.W. 54th St., Miami c

CLIVE’S CAFE | $$ Jamaican Popular spot for jerk chicken and curry goat.

5890 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami

COLADA CUBAN CAFE | $ Cuban Family-owned bakery serving savory and sweet Cuban treats and other Cuban cuisine. 525 N. Federal Highway,

CALYPSO RESTAURANT & RAW. BAR | $$ Caribbean Try their Caribbean-style seafood, Jamaican jerk and curry dishes. 460 S. Cypress Road, Pompano Beach c

1198 S.W. 27th Ave., Fort Lauderdale d

DONNA’S CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT | $$ Jamaican Authentic Jamaican food all day, plus cocktails and Sunday brunch. 10 locations around South Florida. 5434 N. University Drive, Lauderhill d

Fort Lauderdale

DUKUNOO JAMAICAN KITCHEN | $$$ Jamaican Wynwood’s full-service, upscale, Caribbean dining experience.

CONCH HEAVEN | $$ Bahamian Lots of conch-based comfort foods with locations in Miami and Plantation in Florida as well as Atlanta and Riverdale in Georgia.

316 N.W. 24th St., Miami d ukunoojamaicankitchen. com

11275 N.W. 27th Ave., Miami

5100 W. Commercial Blvd. #3, Tamarac b utter-flakes-bakery-grill.

DON ARTURO RESTAURANT | $$ Cuban Traditional Cuban food in a setting when kids are welcome.

CONCH KRAWL BAHAMIAN/ CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT | $ Bahamian, Seafood Enjoy traditional Bahamian and other Caribbean dishes. 2600 S. University, Miramar

DUNNS RIVER ISLAND CAFE | $$ Jamaican Authentic Jamaican cuisine in a beautiful ambiance, serving the Hallandale area. 908 W. Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hallandale Beach

THE DUTCH POT JAMAICAN RESTAURANT | $$ Jamaican Authentic Jamaican cuisine. 3120 W. Broward Blvd.,

Fort Lauderdale d

FINLEY’S BAHAMIAN RESTAURANT | $$ Bahamian Try a breakfast dish served with Bahamian johnny cakes or grits or a daily lunch special 731 Hammondville Road,

Pompano Beach fi

HAVANA 1957 | $$$ Cuban Enjoy hearty cuisine and live music in a setting filled with relics of Cuba. 405 Española Way,

Miami Beach h

ISLAND FUSION GRILL | $$ Jamaican, Cuban, Vegan Jamaican, Cuban, Asian and Creole flavors with seafood and vegetarian options. 4811 S. State Road 7, Davie i

LC ROTI SHOP | $ Indian, Vegetarian Cash-only eatery, serving homemade roti with pepper sauce.

19505 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami

AVERAGE COST PER PERSON BEFORE DRINKS, TAX AND TIP. $ Under $10 / person $$ Under $20 / person $$$ Under $40 / person $$$$ Over $40 / person

LITTLE HAVANA | $$ Cuban Authentic Cuban Cuisine 12727 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami l

LOCALICIOUS OLD FASHIONED ICE CREAM | $$ Ice Cream Old-fashioned, handmade ice cream including Caribbean flavors. 4220 N.W. 12th St., Lauderhill l ocaliciouscaribbeanicecream. com

JAMAICA KITCHEN | $$ Jamaican Known for their extra spicy beef patties. 8736 S.W. 72nd St., Miami

JOY’S ROTI DELIGHT | $ Trinidadian, Indian Counter-service cafe with Indian-inspired Caribbean cuisine. 1205 N.W. 40th Ave., Lauderhill

JUANA LA CUBANA CAFE | $ Cuban Offering a simple, Cuban soul food menu. 3308 Griffin Road, Fort Lauderdale

JUANA’S LATIN SPORTS BAR & GRILL | $$ Latin Casual Dominican, Puerto Rican and American sports bar and grill. 11602 City Hall, Miramar

LAS OLAS CAFE | $ Cuban Freshly squeezed juices and Cuban sandwiches. 644 6th St., Miami Beach

LAS VEGAS CUBAN CUISINE | $$ Cuban, Latin American A dine-in hot spot with 12 South Florida locations offering Cuban meals and cocktails. 2807 E. Oakland Park Blvd.,

Fort Lauderdale l

EL MAGO DE LAS FRITAS | $ Cuban Cozy spot for Cuban burgers. 5828 S.W. 8th St., Miami

MANGU CAFE RESTAURANT | $$ Dominican This Dominican dive offers dishes like pernil and goat stew.

2007 W. 62nd St., Hialeah

MANJAY RESTAURANT | $$ Haitian Modern take on traditional Caribbean dishes with creole-style cuisine. 8300 NE 2nd Ave., Miami

MARIO’S CATALINA RESTAURANT | $$$ Cuban Dine in a relaxing ambiance with a menu featuring Cuban and Spanish cuisine. 1611 N. Federal Highway,

Fort Lauderdale

EL OTRO TIESTO CAFE | $$ Dominican Dominican-Japanese fusion with a twist. 3023 Biscayne Blvd., Miami e

PADRINO’S CUBAN CUISINE | $$ Cuban Serving the best mariquitas, mojito and flan for the past 40 years. 1135 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale p

PANFIYAH | $$ Jamaican Try their popular jerk chicken and shrimp pasta. 7183 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Lauderhill p

POLLO EL COJIDO | $$ Dominican Delicious mofongo, quesadilla and sancocho. 5843 N. University Drive, Tamarac

POLLO TIPICO | $ Dominican Traditional Dominican dishes in a laid-back atmosphere. 5011 FL-7, Davie

PUERTO SAGUA RESTAURANT | $$ Cuban Known for their soup and oxtail stews. 700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

REED’S CATERING & CONCESSIONS | $$ Seafood, Caribbean Late night seafood truck, with a specialty of conch salad. 12203 N.W. 27th Ave.,

SHEIKS BAKERY & ROTI CAFE | $ Caribbean, Indian Caribbean and Indian offerings include halal meats, spices and bakery products. 184 University Drive,


Pembroke Pines s

REGGAE PON THE GRILLE | $ Jamaican, Caribbean Buffet-style dining offering tasty Jamaican dishes.

STEELPAN KITCHEN & BAR | $$$ Caribbean-inspired Beachside gourmet dining at the Sonest Fort Lauderdale Hotel.

8032 W. McNab Road, North Lauderdale r

999 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach

ROCK STEADY JAMAICAN BISTRO | $$$ Jamaican, Caribbean Nicer than your average Jamaican eatery with menu items like jerk chicken, curries and crab fritters. 2399 N. Federal Highway

Blvd., Fort Lauderdale s

SWIRL WINE BISTRO | $$ Caribbean, Wine Bar With fresh, high-quality ingredients, their culinary team offers a variety of cuisines and wines. 1435 Lyons Road,

Coconut Creek s

Unit C, Boca Raton rocksteadyjamaicanbistro. com

SAZON CUBAN CUISINE | $$ Cuban Tasty Caribbean cuisine and live weekend entertainment. 7305 Collins Ave., Miami Beach s

SHALAMA’S HALAL ROTI SHOP | $ Caribbean, Indian Casual ethnic take-out spot with authentic roti, curries and pepper sauce. 1432 State Road 7, Margate

VERSAILLES | $$ Cuban, Latin American Serving tasty Cuban cuisine and culture since 1971, this spot is a hub of the Cuban community. 3555 S.W. 8th St., Miami v

YARUMBA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE | $$ Dominican Try their traditional stews or Churrasco with live music. 4740 N.W. 167th St.,

Miami Gardens y



Event Calendar



Caribbean Colors Opening Reception

Miami Carnival

Friday 09/24

Sat. 10/02 - Sun. 10/10

Where: Island SPACE Caribbean Museum, 8000 W. Broward Blvd. #1422, Plantation Admission: $10 Info: A collection featuring the work of more than 20 exceptional Hispanic artists from the Caribbean and Latin America, curated by Embajadores del Arte Contemporary Art Collective.

Where: Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds, 10901 S.W. 24 St., Miami Admission: $15 - $150 Info: A celebration of Caribbean culture through song, dance, costume and cuisine. The week-long annual event boasts four signature activities — Junior Carnival, Panorama, J’ouvert and Mas Parade.

Saturday 09/25

Sunday 10/10

The People’s Jouvert Where: FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches, 5444 Haverhill Road, West Palm Beach Admission: $35 - $50 Info: An early morning event kicking off Caribbean Carnival celebrations with paint, live music, dancing and food and drink.

Friday 10/15

“The King of Caribbean Comedy” Majah Hype Where: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood Admission: $60 - $400 Info: Hype improvises his routines delivering unscripted punchlines with his master impressions, accents and eccentric characters in this live stand-up comedy experience.


Best of the Best Music Fest

Sat. 10/16 - Sun. 10/17

Art Miami

Where: Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami Admission: $65 - $499 Info: bestofthebestconcert. com This 10-hour music festival featuring the best Caribbean music performances is celebrating its 15th year with headliners Spice, Koffee, Alison Hinds and more.

Where: Miramar Regional Park, 16801 Miramar Pkwy, Miramar Admission: $40 - $70 Info: This annual weekend festival entertains the city of Miramar with the best soca, reggae, salsa and dancehall music outside the islands.

Caribbean Culture Fest

Tues. 11/30 - Sun. 12/05 Where: One Herald Plaza (NE 14th Street & Biscayne Bay), Miami Admission: TBD Info: The top-ranked international art fair in the United States, Art Miami showcases artwork and installations from more than 170 international galleries.

*Due to frequent COVID-19 related changes, please check with promoters before heading to these events.