Carry On Friends: The Caribbean American Experience

Jael Joseph: Championing Dominica's Music, Culture & Legacy

May 28, 2024 Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown Season 2024 Episode 232
Jael Joseph: Championing Dominica's Music, Culture & Legacy
Carry On Friends: The Caribbean American Experience
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Carry On Friends: The Caribbean American Experience
Jael Joseph: Championing Dominica's Music, Culture & Legacy
May 28, 2024 Season 2024 Episode 232
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown

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From the nature island to the international stage, join us as we sit down with the multifaceted Jael Joseph from Dominica, whose journey is as rich as the music she champions. Our episode kicks off with tales from Jael's upbringing, her eclectic career trajectory, and her fierce advocacy for Dominican Culture, Music, Producers and Artists.

We also discuss her film on the Kalinago people, the indigenous inhabitants of Dominica. Jael brings to the fore the challenges they face, from the misrepresentation by colonizers to the pressing need to preserve their language and traditions. The Kalinago's sustainable agricultural practices and deep-rooted spirituality are central to understanding the richness of the Caribbean's diverse heritage.

Connect with Jael: Website

Caribbean Legal Solutions is the easiest way to find an attorney in the Caribbean. Visit their website at caribbeanlegalsolutions.com 

Disclaimer: This podcast ad contains general information about Caribbean Legal Solutions and is not intended as legal advice.  Always consult with a qualified attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.

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From the nature island to the international stage, join us as we sit down with the multifaceted Jael Joseph from Dominica, whose journey is as rich as the music she champions. Our episode kicks off with tales from Jael's upbringing, her eclectic career trajectory, and her fierce advocacy for Dominican Culture, Music, Producers and Artists.

We also discuss her film on the Kalinago people, the indigenous inhabitants of Dominica. Jael brings to the fore the challenges they face, from the misrepresentation by colonizers to the pressing need to preserve their language and traditions. The Kalinago's sustainable agricultural practices and deep-rooted spirituality are central to understanding the richness of the Caribbean's diverse heritage.

Connect with Jael: Website

Caribbean Legal Solutions is the easiest way to find an attorney in the Caribbean. Visit their website at caribbeanlegalsolutions.com 

Disclaimer: This podcast ad contains general information about Caribbean Legal Solutions and is not intended as legal advice.  Always consult with a qualified attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.

Support the Show.

Connect with @carryonfriends - Instagram | Facebook | YouTube
A Breadfruit Media Production

Speaker 1:

Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of Carry On Friends the Caribbean American Experience. And I'm excited because my next guest is the third person to come on the podcast in its almost 10 year history representing this country. So my guest today on the podcast is Jael, and Jael, welcome to the podcast. How?

Speaker 2:

are you? I am doing well. Thank you very much, karen, for having me on. I truly appreciate it, and thanks to all of your listeners for taking in a listen to the show.

Speaker 1:

All right. So why don't you tell the community of friends a little bit about who you are, this Caribbean country that I'm talking about, and the work that you do?

Speaker 2:

Oh, wow. Where do I start? First of all, I'm Dominican, from Dominica, that is the nature island of the Caribbean, so not to be confused with the Dominican Republic. So I'm from Dominica, which is located between Guadalupe and Martinique. I was born and raised there. I left there when I was a teenager and moved to Canada, where I essentially became a woman. So I became an adult in Canada. I got to experience life differently. I lived with my aunt, you know. I was away from my family for quite some time. And what do I do, boy? Where do I start, is the question.

Speaker 2:

I consider myself multi-hyphenated, in the sense I do a lot of things. I could say, without tooting my own horn, that I do it well. I just celebrated my 40th, by the way, a few years ago, thank you. But in my lifetime I've been a massage therapist, I've been a dental assistant. I've been a dental assistant. I've been a cosmetic manager. I've been an announcer on radio. I studied marketing. I have a degree in journalism and I have a master's in media production. I've created film. I've created talk shows. I've created film. I've created talk shows. I've produced for well-known people in theatrical sense, in theatrical sphere. I have a really long roster, as you call it, like us most Caribbean women.

Speaker 1:

I was about to say it's typical Caribbean people settings. You know just one bugger things that you do yes, I do a lot of things, so I'm just going to say what makes your name familiar and your face familiar. Many people may not have watched this, but because I know what's some of what is going on in the community. You were on the inaugural Caribbean Music Awards, right, and you had a little time with the one Wyclef, where you haul him up a little bit.

Speaker 2:

I wouldn't say I haul him up. I feel like when we're in spaces that we can do advocacy, for whatever reason, I feel like it's always an opportunity to say so. It might not have been what I did. It might have been something else If there was probably Dominican representation or small island representation at the awards. It might have been something else, because I'm always trying and looking to how I can help bring up the underdog um, and that is essentially my nature.

Speaker 2:

And being on the Caribbean Music Awards was something that I worked for, because it wasn't something that was like given to me free of charge.

Speaker 2:

Um, it was a competition. I entered um and I won the competition to be on that stage and being on that stage meant that I was going to represent my country. I represent myself and representing my country, which was not represented at a music awards where, where Dominica music is actually one of the fundamental foundational music for one of the biggest genres like Soka, so to be not recognized, it kind of made me uncomfortable and it would have not, it would have not made sense if I had not said anything. So I felt like I had to say something. So I wasn't calling out anybody and I felt to some extent that they you know it was the first show and they were trying their best because at the end of the day, I feel like they selected who they selected because they needed to make a mark so that they could get the respect of not only other award shows but, like the media, the mainstream media. So I got that, but still I would not have had it any other way if I had not said anything no man.

Speaker 1:

You see, when me Jamaican say hol up, I don't mean it in a negative way. It does mean that you say hey, hey, you know, that's how I meant it in that context, but I'm glad you took it there because you know, um, I really wasn't going to go there, but since I have you, I want to talk about it. The Caribbean has a lot of musical genres and let me back up a little bit before I get into that question. Could you share with the audience the genre of music that is from Dominica and a little bit about that?

Speaker 2:

We have a few genres, Dominica and a little bit about that. We have a few genres. In the 70s a guy by the name of Gordon Henderson developed what was called Cadets Lipso. So Cadets Lipso was the drums, the fusion of African music and Creole, because we do speak Creole. He had a band called Exile One, very famous band still very well known, especially in the French territories. If you go to France and you say Exile One, everybody knows who Exile One is. So he developed this genre of music and in those days they didn't have the equipment and the je ne sais quoi to record their music. So they brought in Ras Ashorti, also known as Nyla Blackman. I don't know if you know Nyla Blackman. He's a big Soka artist. Her great-grandfather brought him to Dominica because he owned a recording studio in Trinidad. So he came to Dominica to record their music and he fell in love with the genre and when he went back to Trinidad he actually tried to recreate it and ended up with the genre. And when he went back to Trinidad he actually tried to recreate it and ended up with Soca. And he actually, if you read his history or if you study him, he credits Dominica for Soca music.

Speaker 2:

But Soca music has taken off and I felt, as a Dominican, that we were kind of left behind, like we were left in the dust, and a huge part of it is that that tends to happen a lot to smaller islands. So small islands tend to have, you know, their own niche, their own style, their own way of doing things and that becomes very infectious when people from the bigger islands witness it. They're like, oh my God, you guys do this, like this, you know. And as a result, you know, Soca music blew up but we got put on the back burner. But then we came up with Bouillon, which is the goatskin, which is we call it lapo cabuit, along with the accordion and a lot of different fusions of music which is known as bouillon. If you listen to soca music today, there is a lot of bouillon. As a matter of fact, Nyla just did her Ron and Rosie song was actually produced by a Dominican and it is after bouillon music.

Speaker 2:

So for me, in that moment I saw people being recognized like Marshall Montano and Skinny, Fabulous, phenomenal artists. I saw them being recognized for an amazing song that they did that was produced by a Dominican and there was no Dominican representation in terms of the genre. So that is where this came about. I'm not saying that we didn't do our part in probably not promoting our own genres or our own music, but I feel, as Caribbean people, we need to promote unity and oneness. So when one goes up, let's take the others with us, you know, because we are bigger together and I think if we put this thought in practice, she has the deep expertise in the area. Yeah, I'm coming.

Speaker 1:

That's okay. I mean, every one of us is feeling that, right, so it's all relative. You felt that Dominika and I'm not discrediting, I'm just like broadening the lens a little bit you feel like Dominika is not giving respect due, as we would say, right, of what they contribute. And then, if you zoom out, you know there are elements of Soka, because what Afrobeats was in 2012 isn't what it is or sounds like now.

Speaker 1:

I feel like Afrobeats has taken on some very Soka elements to it, right, they sound similar in some ways. And then the Jamaicans are like Afrobeats is really dancehall, right. And so you know every smaller is feeling like they're left out and they're not getting the recognition they deserve. Right, you talked about two genres and I know you know this, but we have to give people grace that they don't know anything, because I also work with the fabulous Alexandria Miller and we produce, strictly Facts, a guide to Caribbean history and culture, and you'll be surprised at what people do not know about our own culture. I'm not giving anybody a pass, but I'm like we have the space and the opportunity to tell our story and our history and educate our people, because we assume they know and they do not know.

Speaker 2:

And the information is there. The information is all out there.

Speaker 1:

It's there, but there's very few people who actually go out and seek that information. You know this right. So that's another element. The other thing is we know the nuance. For those who are deep in the culture and know the difference, we know the difference, you know. Let's say, trinidad. You think of Calypso, you think of Soka, trinidad, whatever they have. You think of Jamaica? You have Skiah Mento, dancehall, reggae, all of these things, right? We have skya mento, dancehall, reggae, all of these things, right? We know the nuances in the music.

Speaker 1:

People outside the culture just hear one song and say, oh, all of this, is this right? Because this is the same way the African artists are. They may be complaining like they all get bulked into Afrobeats when it's not really Afrobeats, right? So when you said a category like Soca on the Grammy and I'm not saying this because reggae has a category Afrobeats just got a category on the Grammy and they did not differentiate Tyler, as I'm a piano, they was just like Afrobeats.

Speaker 1:

So something to think about, cause I don't want to go too deep in it, you just said it like we have to move as one. So if moving as one is, do we have a Caribbean music category Like? You know what I mean. It's like we want the Grammys to recognize the specificity of the genres and the music and maybe, like rightfully, like you did it's the Caribbean Music Award that does that specificity and the bigger shows All right, make them lump way up in a big category. You know what I mean, and it's like I'm always mindful of the battles that we choose to fight and that it doesn't lead to unnecessary division. You doing enough, because I agree with what you're saying, because you are here and we're here. You just said it. You wanted to remind that platform that your duty and responsibility is to make sure that we're all represented.

Speaker 2:

But when it comes to bigger platforms.

Speaker 1:

We can.

Speaker 2:

We can compromise and we can come together and say who's the stronger man, man, who's stronger in this? You know who's stronger in this fight Exactly? And then we proceed as such, because trying to fight like within ourselves is not worth it. But we can help each other up, we can bring each other up. There are events across the Caribbean, and now I see it happening more. So I'm not faulting anybody, but you know, you see small arches moving more across the Caribbean and going to perform in Jamaica, in Trinidad and Barbados. So there is that recognition. That's that's happening and and it's good and it's good for for us as a people. I know that.

Speaker 2:

You know we were getting into a time where free movement is becoming more of a thing amongst the Caribbean people and because of that, we have to understand that there are going to be cultural differences, including our music, and we have to be more accepting of it as well as see opportunities that can help boost our sectors, our culture, the economics of it. All of that, I mean, plays a huge part if we do it together. I mean, at the time we had the Caribbean Music Awards. You see, you call yourself the Caribbean Music Awards. You should, you know, do due diligence.

Speaker 2:

You know we didn't have to necessarily have a genre on there, but we could have done a performance. We could have, you know, because there were a lot of artists that were repeated, you know, because there were a lot of artists that were repeated, you know so, there were multiple soca artists and multiple reggae artists, you know. So we could have had a performance. We didn't have to have a category, because we're not big enough to have a category. Um, same, as you know, haitian music, uh, like kopa and these things, you know, like a little bit, a little bit goes a long way. Um, I mean, I wasn't trying to to burn out anybody or or cuss out anybody. I just felt that, knowing that at the time I was standing there present, that Buyo music was the most popular music for all the carnivals that are just gone, because it did like, it really was like, rightfully so, and knowing that there was no recognition, in that moment I have to say something.

Speaker 1:

Listen, you know, the fact that I recognize you, it don't mean that everybody else recognize you, it's just it's a test. No, it's a testament to me loving my culture, my music. I remembered what you said. I didn't disagree. You had an opportunity and you, you made a statement, right? Um, we, we can recall several moments in pop history when people made a statement because they had the opportunity. So I wouldn't fault you and we all well, I think.

Speaker 2:

I think I was faulted to some extent by the fraternity. I think I'm blacklisted from the event. I'm convinced I am blacklisted.

Speaker 1:

All right, another story for another day. I just no. I think I think that was an Say what you're thinking. I don't think it was done in Say what you're thinking. I don't think it was done in a distasteful way, right? I don't think it was Like. I'm sure people are like what is that? I'm sure there are people who are like what is that? If you take nothing away from it, it's just like by saying what I said that day, some people are like she talked about some music from Dominica. What do you call it? Bula, bullion, bullion. Like you know what I mean. Like at least it's a seed planted. You know what I mean and this year.

Speaker 2:

It's funny enough. You'd say that this year was probably our biggest carnival ever, because the masses that came down I mean people did vlogs, like I was being tagged on. People who vlogged, people who did little recap videos of carnival, who'd never been to Dominica, heard about Dominica, heard about Carnival, wanted like authentic, real masks, because that's what you get when you come to Dominica Our Jouvet starts at 4am and goes till 10, which is crazy, you know. As a matter of fact, it starts at 12, but you just don't go out on the road until four. But it's, it's crazy. And and to to hear people's reviews and to see the masses of visitors that came in. I don't want to credit me specifically, but I think the genre has gone so far that people are intrigued and they want to. They want to see how do these people do it, what do they do? What's what makes them so special? Why is booyah music so special? You know what? About the island that we want to explore? So, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So final point on this, what I was trying to figure out to say is like we all experience what it's like to feel like we are the underdog, that we are not being recognized for our contributions, right, Like we all know that feeling every Caribbean country. So we give people grace when they're saying something because there is some truth in it, because you wouldn't have said it if there wasn't some truth. Kudos to you for speaking up and big ups to like I said, Dominica, and congrats for your year. So, all right, moving on from that, you have a long list of things that you are doing. What is the thing that you are currently focused on right now and why did you get into that?

Speaker 2:

The thing I cannot focus on one thing. It's it's not possible to focus on one thing because I need to have my hands in at least three, four things at a time, because I get bored at certain times or sometimes I get to a point where I may have a block, like a creative block, and if I sit and wonder how am I going to get past this, it just makes it worse. So I get into something else and while I'm in there I get inspiration for what I and so that's I mean at any given time I'm in three, four things. So it wasn't recent, but I won an award at the Toronto Caribbean Tales International Film Festival for my short documentary called Territory. So I'm heavily involved in directorial work, producing work, that sort of stuff. I do a lot of producing work for a UN entity as well, so I'm heavily involved in that. That's what my hands are actively involved in every single day. I also teach at a university, so I teach in the media and communications faculty at Guelph-Humber University. So my hand is involved in this every day.

Speaker 2:

In addition to that, I do my live shows, called JL Joseph Live, which is on my Facebook page, and of late I've been doing these reviews. So I've been reviewing things and I have like 500 people logging on just to watch me review anything from carnival to a product that I love to whatever it is. You know, while I eat mango or I eat anything that's in front of me and I think people probably love to watch me eat more than the review, because I always tell them I bite and you swallow for me. So I bite and you just swallow. So I do these, I do my shows, my virtual shows.

Speaker 2:

I do a lot of creative directing work. So for my 40th I did like a spread of four photos that spans throughout my lifetime in the last 40 years and those have been getting a lot of attention, like attention both in the Caribbean and outside of the Caribbean and it's just of me. But if you want to see, just follow my page and you can see the pictures. But that's what I'm in actively, you know, actively I have a company called Black Island Girl Multimedia. So I focus a lot of my work in producing podcasts, video, that sort of content.

Speaker 1:

Yes, so you do multiple things, but the one theme across all of them is media and multimedia, and so tell me why you gravitated towards that. What is it about media that sparks your soul fire?

Speaker 2:

I don't think I gravitated towards it. I think it wanted me. I think it wanted me more than I wanted it. Because I remember as a child I grew up in a community, a very small community, and my father was very active member in my community. He served as a chairman of the village council. He was at one time a principal. My mom was a district nurse, so my family was fairly active in the community. My mom was a district nurse, so my family was fairly active in the community.

Speaker 2:

And I remember, you know, ever so often the main radio station, which is like the nation station. They would contact us, they would call us on the phones household. You know they'd call my dad because my dad had to give a rundown as to what was going on in the community, because the community spanned a constituency, so like three villages kind of lumped together, so you give them news from sports to entertainment, any, whatever's going on in the community. They're doing a massive cleanup, you know, if there's a beach day, if there's a fun day, whatever it is. And, um, I remember one time they called and my dad wasn't there and they were like well, we can talk to you, you know, and I started telling this and they wanted to talk to me every time after that and like I wanted to be everything else. I wanted to be a dentist, I wanted to be a movie star, I wanted to be a pilot, I wanted to be all these different things, but it always kept coming back to media.

Speaker 2:

So when I moved back to Dominica in 2010, when my mom fell ill, a radio station in Dominica one of the guys was my friend and he said to me hey, while you're in Dominica, why don't you just do a little stunt? You know, just kill time. You know, do a little something with us and whatever. And I started doing that and, before you know it, I was like producing an entire show. And I started doing that and, before you know, want to have to ask somebody to show me. So to edit audio. I learned that very early o'clock, you know I knew how to edit audio.

Speaker 2:

I started creating ads and my ads became very popular to this day, like, I could charge the most in Dominica for my ads, you know. So people started requesting my voice to place on their ads, and then people started asking me to be an ambassador for them. So companies would come up to me and say, hey, we really like the way that you deliver information, we really like your enthusiasm, we like your vibe, we like we see people are engaged with you. And because I love people and I and I genuinely love people, as I tried to show on that stage I genuinely love my people and I like to have a good time and people will reach out to me and say, oh, if you can catch JL in full makeup on her page, sometimes you'll catch her like she just wake up with everything in her eyes. You know, because I try to bring my most authentic self, you know, every single time, be it virtually on video or be it on radio, and people gravitated towards that and people just they loved it. And so media took me, media wanted me.

Speaker 1:

And you answered the beauty and you understood this. You could resist, but then you know, then you yield to it, right, and that's what you did. You kind of just leaned into it. It sounded like you just embraced the opportunities, like you know, once it comes, you're just like, all right, I'm going to try this, no big deal, and you just kind of took off with it. Where do you accredit that I can do this? I'm going to learn to do this and I'm not afraid to do this. I'm going to learn to do this and I'm not afraid to do this, because I'm sure maybe there was something in childhood, but at some point you were just like you know what. I'm just going to lean into that. Was there a particular time, was there an incident? Or you just always was like, yeah, I'm going to figure this out. Nobody not going to tell me what to do. I'm just going to go full speed ahead, share a little bit about that. Nobody not going to tell me what to do.

Speaker 2:

I'm just going to go full speed ahead. Share a little bit about that. Well, first of all, my my father or he, always encouraged us. My father always wanted boys and he only had girls. So he, he kind of treated us almost like boys. Um, like he told us you could do anything you want to do, like you'd have to make no man cut style on you. You know, like my father taught us how to fix a ruptured pipe, he taught us how to do electric, how to connect our entertainment system, my sisters and I redid our roof. Like after hurricane, we went up on the roof and redid it ourselves three of us and people were just in awe that three women were up on the roof because my dad taught us everything Right. Three women were up on the roof because my dad taught us everything right.

Speaker 2:

So it was always instilled in me from earlier clock that whatever the hell you want to do, you can do it. You just put your mind to it, and I'm not one that procrastinates. If I feel deep within my soul that I'm going to go for this, I go for it. But what really did it for me, I believe, was after Hurricane Maria. So after Hurricane Maria, I went back to Canada. I was pregnant. I was six and a half months pregnant with my second and I was at a position where I was like what the hell am I going to do with the rest of my life? Like where I call home, I was just completely destroyed. Marketing, which was a huge part of my income, was not necessary because nobody needed to market anything, and I was like what am I going to do with my life? And it came to me in the form of a dream from my mom. I was like go back to school and go to journalism. And I was lying on my bed after a C-section and I went online yes, girl, after the C-section and I researched the universities and stuff and I applied. I applied to two universities. They both accepted me.

Speaker 2:

And September I was in school and I fast tracked because a lot of the things that that I was being taught I already knew it, but I felt I needed to have the paper to prove that I know how to do it. So I ended up completing a four-year in just a little shy of three years. So I completed it. I fast-tracked. I was doing like seven courses when everybody else was doing three and four and I was able to complete that.

Speaker 2:

And then the ending of completing my undergrad in journalism was when COVID happened and I was like, oh gosh, what am I going to do? Like who's going to hire me? You know, like I was panicking about my future and I saw an opportunity to do my master's because I'm like I'm going to be home anyways, might as well do something. So I went and I did my master's and I finished it. The year later I did a master's in media production. That's what my documentary came out of. So that was part of my master's research project and my professors were all like you should submit to festivals and whatever. I only submitted to three. I got accepted to all three that I submitted. I was nominated for one official selection for another and I won at the Caribbean Tales International.

Speaker 1:

Film Festival. You know that drive. A lot of people want it, but I realize that the people who do extremely well are those that there's a seed planted in childhood and it's connected to a relationship. That means a lot, and so you are not only doing this from yourself. It's part of keeping your father's memory alive, right, Because he is the one that really instilled it. So I can sense that. So tell me and the audience about this documentary, this project that you've done. Talk a little bit about that and the journey to creating that.

Speaker 2:

So I had to select something that I was going to do my research project on and I wanted it to be something that was meaningful to me, my research project on and I wanted it to be something that was meaningful to me, meaningful in the sense of it had to appeal to culture, genre, my community. It had to be something that's part of me. I mean, being in Canada, it's not very easy to actually get into your own culture, especially as a Dominican, because you have so many different cultures converging and yes, of course, we do represent for each island when we have to. But I felt like I needed to go back home to do this research project and, you know, just kind of doing a little bit of research. You know, as a Black woman, as a Black Caribbean woman, I started, you know, realizing that you know, again, we're going through this whole civil unrest in that you know, again, we're going through this whole civil unrest, you know, in the world, and you know, we want all of these equality and we want, you know, to be included and we want all of these different things.

Speaker 2:

And I looked at our indigenous people in Dominica and I said we can't treat the people who gave us all what we have well and we expect to be treated well. You know like how does it work? So I wanted to understand them a little bit and understand how they lived and everything. And when I started reading about them, I saw a lot of negative stereotypes being brought forward about them. I mean, if we know the history, they were called Caribs and Arawaks that's what they were called. That actually wasn't their names, but that was what the colonizers called them right? And when I started reading more about it, I realized a lot of people were going to research their communities and taking so much but not really giving back anything. You know a lot of white scholars, a lot of. There were also, you know, black scholars. You know there was some that meant well, because I would hope they mean well. But one of the things that you learn when you learn about truth and reconciliation is that you should not take from a community that has been plowed through so much. So I wanted to write, I wanted to create something that was in their own voice, that was theirs, and I started to look at, you know, their identity and how they see themselves and how people see them and all of the negative stereotypes and all of these different things and then I started to look at the political aspects of it and how things shift, you know.

Speaker 2:

And then I fell on land and this part really bothered me the most. Right Of all of the things, of all of the words that they could have been called, this part bothered me the most. It's because the history of indigenous people is that they were all sequestered to reserves. We know that everywhere we know about indigenous people, they're sequestered to reserves, and this is the same in Dominica. So in in 1902, they were placed on a reserve. It was given to them as if this was land that you could do whatever you want with. It's yours, right.

Speaker 2:

But I quickly learned that it's communal land and they really cannot do anything with it. So when you think of me as an Afro-Caribbean person, I can go. My father leave a piece of land for me. I can take my piece of land, go to the register, get my title, go to the bank, say to the bank I need to go study, or my child need to go study, or I need to put down a house, or I need to start up a business and use that as collateral.

Speaker 2:

Indigenous people don't have that Granted. It's their land. They're not allowed to use their land for that sort of economic advancement. And that troubled me.

Speaker 2:

And I started to realize that what a lot of people may think is good is not actually good in the sense of if you're going to do this, then it's a situation of wastage, a lot of wastage, because obviously there are not means and ways for them to actually manufacture and produce from, for example, their cassava, to produce cassava powder into flour. You know they have wasting of plantings and dashings and all of that on the land. Some of it's not being exported, and even with getting exported, there are all of these restrictions as to what other countries will take and what they won't. So essentially they're disadvantaged as well as disenfranchised. And I was like you know what? Let me see why and how I can help shift that. And I started to notice that their language was dying and I started to notice that their language was dying, the Indigenous language. So I decided that I was going to put language and land together and see what commonalities lay between the two and how they can use those two to reclaim their identity. And that's how Territory came about.

Speaker 1:

Wonderful, and so why don't you share with the audience the name of the Indigenous people? We know that the colonizers call them Caribs or Arawaks, but their name the group that I studied.

Speaker 2:

They are the Kalinagos. They're one of the largest Indigenous groups in the Eastern Caribbean and the majority of them live in Dominica. So there's about three to 4,000 of them in Dominica and they're a nation within a nation and it's very interesting. I got to study their practices and their agricultural practices and realized that, oh my God, dominica is blessed because of these people, because the way that they use their land Like if they use the land like what was done to Haiti with the coffee, then we would be in problems with Dominica, we would have infertile soil right their methods of irrigation and just all of their practices this spirituality that goes along with who they are as a people. You know, and I found it very interesting and it just happens that my great-grandmother is also Kalinago, so I felt a connection to the tribe because it runs through my blood and I wanted to focus my documentary on them. So, essentially, territ territory follows around three individuals, two, uh, women and a man, and and they speak about, you know, their struggles within their community and that's essentially what it is.

Speaker 1:

Lovely. Where can people watch this documentary? Is it easily accessible? What's the deal with?

Speaker 2:

it. So it's not easily accessible because a huge part of it was the fact that it was at festivals, but now it's available on my website. So, blackislandgirlcom, if you go on the documentaries, it is available on there. It's actually $4.99 US. You can purchase it and you can view it. It's about 24 minutes long US. You can purchase it and you can view it. It's about 24 minutes long.

Speaker 2:

And you know, since doing this work well, even before completion of my work, I started, you know, sponsoring their Kalinago Spelling Bee competition, so I do all the prizes for them. So a lot of you know the proceeds go back to the community, because I feel like we need to reclaim their language. Their language right now is in French. There's a Kalinago dictionary, but it's in French and you know, I feel like it needs to be converted to English.

Speaker 2:

There are certain things that need to be done, you know try to work with different NGOs to get certain things off the ground, but essentially, starting to get the children who are coming up to learn bits and pieces of their language so that it does not die Because, as you know, a lot of times when people lose their language, they tend to lose their sense of identity you know and who they are as a people, and I think it's very important that they still remember these things and hopefully Dominica as an island will start to embrace it and it'll be represented in the schools you know, or taught in the schools, because they are our first people you know and they deserve that respect.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for sharing that, and I agree about language. In multiple conversations over the years I've always talked about, when I go back to Jamaica, how my friends would say you sound worse than when you were living in Jamaica, and what they don't understand is like when you live here, my Jamaican accent, my Jamaican dialect, is what I have, so I hold on to it and I'm going to do all that I do because it is part of this identity of mine. So you know, language is very, very important to how we see ourselves or how we identify. So I can relate to that. All right. So what is next for you? What is next on the agenda? Top two things that are your priority, your agenda and that you would like to share with the Carry On Friends audience.

Speaker 2:

Well, right now I'm working on a film on migration, so I don't know when this will be done, because I've gotten into a lot of roadblocks. A lot of my films I self-funded as well as through angel investors, so sometimes I run into situations where I got to take a pause because you run out of money and whatever the case might be, and although I'm a Canadian, because my film is outside of Canada as well, as I don't use Canadian resources like I don't use camera crew, I use everyone that's indigenous to Dominica it's harder for you to get funding for these kinds of projects, which is something that I feel is is whack, because you know we should have access to that funding, or at least some of it, because we do bring our films back to Canada. So so that is my roadblock right now. So I'm kind of like on a pause with that. But I also have a brand called 767 Girls Rock. It was an actual event, but I've been testing the waters a little bit and a bit of discouragement kind of steered me in a different path and I'm hoping to start running it as a series. So it'll be like a video series that would go out instead of an event, because an event kind of isolates it to one time.

Speaker 2:

One of my good friends actually passed away recently and she was one of the first people I featured at that event, and having footage of her speaking about her life was rare. So people saw how important it is to tell our stories, or to at least capture our stories, because you never know. I mean, we didn't expect her to pass away so soon. And it's there. This piece of history is there forever. Nobody can erase it. It will be there forever, especially with the Internet. So I'm hoping to put more of my energy into this this year. I'm just going to go where the wind takes me. I don't want to say I'm work. I've proved myself. Proved myself in the literal and on paper, so I think people want to work with me. I'm ready to work collaboratively. I do a lot of emceeing work, so I'm ready to do more emceeing across the Caribbean.

Speaker 2:

I'm actually in the process of looking for a manager you know, somebody to manage me and really help me, you know, establish myself better, Because one thing about us Aquarians is that we tend to take on a lot and sometimes we can't manage our own shit properly. And I really want to be able to steer my ship right. And I have two boys, so I feel getting somebody to manage me will help me to work with them more you know their schoolwork, be around them more you know that sort of stuff, Cause I've been away from them for long periods of time. Um so, wherever the wind takes me, carry on. Wherever the wind takes me, I will go, and nothing set in stone, nothing formalized or established, Uh, but I'm ready. I'm ready to work whenever anyone's ready to work with me.

Speaker 1:

But also I think what you just said is such a great way to wrap up. Right, you said Aquarians, but let's just balloon it out to everyone who's just been going hard for so long, doing a lot and you're just like it's time to just fall back a little bit. Let me let a natural course come in. But also, I'm actively looking for the right support to help me be better with my time, my energy, so I can prioritize what's important. And I think that's just such an important call out for you to make. Right, because at the top of the conversation you are going down a long list, but here you're able to put a bookend and let people know like, yeah, we could be busy, we could do all of these things, but at some point we have to kind of slow it down because for a variety of reasons, it's tactical, it's more strategic. Someone can focus on this, so I can focus on other things. I love that you said that, because we don't want to give people the perception that you just go hard 100% of the times. That's not realistic and I love that you shared that. And you're vulnerable about trying to get a manager so I could spend more time with my kids. I've been away from them long periods of time, right, that's an awareness and I love that. You said you know what. I'm just going to go where the wind blows because I know all the work that I've put in. I've proven to myself and others what I'm able to accomplish, and that is so important because we're constantly working so hard to prove to others, to ourselves, what we know we can do. We've proven it. We just then have to just say ourselves what we know we can do, we've proven it. We just then have to just say you know what? Let me just continue to do the work I know I can do and I don't have to go overboard to do it. I know what I can do, like freeing yourself up to attract those to you who recognize that. So I really appreciate that you share that and I hope you know that was a powerful statement to make, given that you said oh, I do the long list, and we all everybody listening can say, yeah, man, I know that list, my list long too.

Speaker 1:

But at the end of that you still have to recognize, like sometimes you know there's a season, right, there's a time and place for everything. Like you know, you talk about the Kalinago. I'm pretty sure that one of their methods is there's a time to work the land and there's a time to let the land rest, right. So it's important that we get rest and just say, all right, I work the land, let it replenish itself, let me step back and let it do what it has to do. So I appreciate you sharing that story and you know we're just making the connections there with culture, land and first, people and just media. I wasn't expecting to have a conversation about media but, like you said, and like all of my conversations, it's wherever you bring it. I'll come along with you on that conversation. So I'm so glad to be now connected with you, you know.

Speaker 1:

I yeah, I look at my guests like you know there's not. You know you don't come on, you go off. You know we are connected, especially because this is the Caribbean American, the Caribbean. I say Caribbean American because I'm in America, but it's really about our culture and our experiences and I love when we get to share with others the culture and can let people meet other people from the culture, because for some people, this is the closest they may meet someone from Dominica and this is the closest they might hear about the Kalanau.

Speaker 2:

You know what I mean, so it know what you mean.

Speaker 1:

It's really making those connections. So why don't you tell the community of friends where they can find you, your fancy 40th birthday pictures on the internet and all this?

Speaker 2:

good stuff. My website is jljosephcom, so that's J-A-E-L Joseph, j-o-s-e-p-hcom. My handles are JLJoseph all through, so you can get me JLJoseph on Instagram JLJoseph LinkedIn. I'm active on LinkedIn, instagram, facebook, little TikTok every now and again, talk every now and again. You can catch me on Facebook. I am JLJ or JLJoseph. A lot of folks follow me that way. Most people find me through my website. I also have blackislandgirlcom, where most of my production work sits. So that's blackislandgirlcom and that's really where people can find me. Once you're on my website, you can find me. If you want to connect, if you're interested in working with me, just reach out.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, jail. Thank you so much for being on the podcast and, as I love to say at the end of every episode, walk good.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much for having me, keria, and thank you very much for.

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