When I moved back to Trinidad and Tobago in 2011, it felt as if the country of my birth had gently whispered the command over the Caribbean Sea after months of longing and introspection.
The truth was, I had fallen out of love with Toronto after a decade-long tryst – its brutal and notoriously unforgiving winters repeatedly battering both my skin and my spirit – and I was ready to repatriate with the intention of making a positive difference in the Caribbean creative industries.
A pulsating capital city whose heartbeat is steadied by the beauty, vibrancy and diversity of Trinidad Carnival, I returned to Port of Spain for good one Sunday afternoon, which happened to be the day of Panorama Semi-Finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah. It was time to make a difference and to work with others to elevate the Caribbean way.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, I have developed a career in Public Relations and become a Managing Director of a publicity firm that has not only helped companies, corporations and celebrities throughout the region identify, create and shape their brand identity in the traditional sense, but I have also tapped into the better version of myself as a publicist by reimagining the art of Caribbean storytelling in a digital age.
But where does the story of the “bigger picture” begin for the Caribbean region?
In 2019, “The Year Of The Return” has taken on a life of its own. The Government of Ghana is using the tourist-friendly theme as an unmistakably sound call-to-action to invite people from throughout the African Diaspora back to where our collective history is rooted.
It is an opportunity to reconnect with, immerse in and take a deep-dive into over 400 years of history and – for many of us who cannot boast of a strong genealogical connection to the continent – mystery.
I have heeded the call. On invitation from the organizers, I’m heading to Ghana for Afrochella – the festival that is on the lips of every cultural enthusiast, celebrity, music lover and adventure seeker the world over.
“The Year Of The Return has taken on a life of its own. It is an opportunity to reconnect with, immerse in and take a deep-dive into over 400 years of history”
As the first Caribbean-based professional invited to speak at the globally-renowned event, I will be joining a panel of powerful young media mavens – including celebrated musician Shavone, Dani Kwateng-Clark of Teen Vogue, and producer/director Scilla Owusu, who have all trailblazed in their own right with innovation, power and flair in various geographical and industry spaces.
With the theme “Black Girl Magic Breaks Borders”, we will be discussing the African diaspora through the work of women in media, our challenges, and our commitment to leading the immense charge of revitalization throughout the diaspora.
This panel will then be followed by a discussion on “Ghanian Music Beyond Borders” and will include invaluable contributions from some of Ghana’s leading music professionals – including musician Joey B, super-producer Juls, CEO of Prince Street Collective Tunde Ogundipe, radio host Ms Naa, marketing mind David Ponte and Antoine Mensah of Afrotown Music.
With A-list celebrities Cardi B, T.I. and Tiny, and even VH1’s reality TV Queen Mona Scott-Young all flocking to the Gold Coast from next week, one thing is for certain: all eyes are on Afrochella 2019 in Ghana – the festival that has proven time and again that Africa and the diaspora have the power to make an unforgettable difference in the global cultural landscape.
Join BUZZ on the digital journey to Ghana as we bring you the exciting highlights from “The Year Of The Return” with Afrochella 2019!