Brand Jamaica is a worldwide cultural phenomenon. All Caribbean people are the life of the party, but there’s something about Jamaicans that is synonymous with cool.
That cool factor springs in part from the ubiquitous presence of reggae music around the world. Dreadlocks, rastafari and ganja smoking. These started off as symbols of revolution and then became cool. The fastest men and women in the world consistently sprouted their wings running on Jamaican soil. When the rest of the world thinks of the Caribbean, Jamaica is likely the first island that comes to mind. Jerk seasoning is available everywhere. I’d say, we have quite a few accolades to claim.
Now, I can brag fairly articulately on all these because I’ve had an entire week to write a column, but with a few thousand people in a room staring at me and just a few seconds to communicate all of that, maybe I would have frozen too. Kaci Fennell, the Jamaican beauty queen who also seemed to have a beautiful spirit, buckled under the question that many touted as a gift from God for someone representing a country like ours. Before the question and answer section of the recent Miss Universe pageant, she was presumed the winner of the competition by the crowd who booed loudly at the announcement of her 5th placement, and even by the other contestants who hoisted her on their shoulders after the ceremony was concluded.
She showed poise and spirit throughout the competition. She stood out for her short hair and ‘vibesy’ personality. But after the judges’ decision that someone else deserved the crown, it was remarkable the way the media paid even more attention to Kaci’s loss than to Ms. Colombia’s win. Kaci herself, has been very gracious about the whole thing.
We didn’t take the crown, but we still won the crowd. Our girl is who the media decided to dwell on, at least in the immediate aftermath. And in a not so humble brag, I’ll declare Kaci Fennel one of people who have made Jamaica proud in representing us to the world.
Calibe Thompson is a personality, author and the producer of The Caribbean Diaspora Weekly. For your free preview of her 2015 collection of writings, Things I Probably Shouldn’t Say, visit www.calibe.net.