There’s a man who passed away whose name is Stuart Hall, a great intellectual from Jamaica who became one of the leaders from the left in Britain. What he said about the Caribbean was, “If you want to have a case study of what the world is going to look like in the United States in a hundred years, the best place to look is the Caribbean. It’s the one place on the planet where everybody is from somewhere else.” That’s it. Everybody there is an immigrant. The cultures are completely fused. That’s what Caribbean culture is.
That’s something I tell my mom. I’m not labeled American, I’m African American. She doesn’t get that at all because in Jamaica if you’re black or white or Chinese, you’re just Jamaican. So she looks at me crazy whenever I say that. Whereas my dad, who grew up here, totally gets it. The fusion that exists is part of what brings us together.
It seems like the Miami story in a way as well. That duality and that fusion that happens at the same time.
Exactly. I always say that Miami might as well be a part of the Caribbean. There are twenty districts in Kingston, Jamaica. They call Miami “Kingston 21” because there are so many Jamaicans here. I think it’s all about this fusion of cultures and what comes out of that. Some of these stories may have not been explored.
Food, music, and laughter are a staple in most Caribbean homes. There’s something really magical about Sunday in the Caribbean. This is the day when you hear the church music during the day and the oldies in the evening. Chances are there’s a matriarch cooking food and things are quieter outside than inside. It tends to be a magical day of the week that everybody gets to share.
One of my moms would tell me that my left side is Jamaican but your right side is Jamaican. Everything right about you is Jamaican. I would probably say jerk chicken is the best food on the planet. I have a friend whose mom is Trinidadian. They were taught that you are not American, you are Trinidadian. In my house it wasn’t like that. There are probably things that are totally Caribbean but to me it’s just my life.