I’m going to make it a little more personal than usual this week. There are welcomed changes coming, teaching me that at this stage the farther we go, the more room we’ll have to grow.
I have the extraordinary privilege of leading the team that will have delivered the first Caribbean cooking series and the first Jamaican-produced series to be broadcast nationally on the PBS networks. That becomes official on April 4, 2015, when PBS stations across the United States are scheduled to begin rotation of “Taste the Islands with Chef Irie.”
As a woman, as a Jamaican, as an entrepreneur, that makes me extremely proud. It took us two years, tons of favors and lots of good will and prayers to get it done. It’s become a great lesson in appreciating the journey as much as the destination.
When asked by the head of the Jamaica Tourist Board how we made it happen, the most honest answer I could give was that when the opportunity presented itself, we were ready. We were ready with a product we were proud to show. We were ready to shake hands with the right people when introduced. We understood that the opportunity was not one to be taken lightly. We were willing to do whatever it took to deliver what was needed when it was needed regardless of convenience; Sundays and holidays were fair game. And our resolve to bring attention to Caribbean culture remained, and remains, unwavering.
With this project, we’ve moved from production to promotion to “what’s next?” And for folks like us, what’s next will always be bigger and shinier than what was. The folks who wanted to wait and see, now want to support our efforts because we’ve proven that we care about our community looking good. We care about building unique recognition for the Caribbean-American community, not as a “subset-of” or checkmark beside “other,” but as a rich, vibrant, attention-worthy community with ever more to share.
So what’s next? The wheels are turnin’ and I’m just as curious as you may be to figure it out!
Calibe Thompson is a personality, author and the Executive Producer of “Taste the Islands,” premiering nationwide on PBS in April 2015. For your free preview of her 2015 collection of writings, Things I Probably Shouldn’t Say, visit www.calibe.net.