Ambition compass

AMBITION! – The Stuff We’re Made Of

While we celebrate Caribbean American Heritage all year round, in a few days, the United States recognizes June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month. This year Carry On Friends celebrates the Ambitious attribute of the Caribbean and the Diaspora.


Where It Comes From

Most of us born in the Caribbean or of Caribbean descent, have heard ambition used often:

  • As a warning, because it’s not advice when they say: “You must have ambition.”
  • As a criticism:  “he/she must go get some ambition”. OR “So and so no have no likkle ambition bout him/har”.

When Jamaicans and generally people from the Caribbean say “have ambition” or admire someone with ambition, it generally means:

That person has potential or has a plan for their life, to achieve something productive and positive typically requiring determination and hard work. This may include getting a “good” education, making progress in their job or career path and being someone worth emulating for their personal attributes. 

The Caribbean American ambition and drive originate from a home-grown culture of disciplined work ethic and commitment to excellence. In Caribbean culture, having ambition or being ambitious requires no justification – it’s a requirement! This ambitious spirit is widely recognized and celebrated.

“Caribbean Americans have prospered in every sector of our society….Their achievements are borne of hard work and ambition” – President Barack Obama, in the 2011 Presidential Proclamation for National Caribbean Heritage Month. 


Full of Ambition

“Bare Ambition” in Jamaican/Caribbean colloquial terms means “full of ambition”.  Bare Ambition is the raw goods, a key ingredient needed to earn the achievements and accomplishments Caribbean Americans are known for. “Bare Ambition” is a celebration of the drive to make something positive of ourselves that our family, friends, community and the world at large can be proud of.


Multiply Your Ambition


“Bare Ambition” needs positive pressure so it can be nurtured into action. Taking action on your ambition, regardless of the outcome, is what makes the journey worthwhile. And that’s why a person with ambition needs other ambitious people to thrive, to survive,  to grow and fuel more ambition.  This is where you find other ambitious, success friends to do ambitious things with. Because it’s through collaboration, partnering and acting positively on that ambition that gets ball rolling.


Next Level Ambition

“Up Like Seven” is a phrase used in Jamaica,  and it means, “big things are happening, progress, things are going your way.”

“Ambition Up Like Seven” represents next level status. Because in addition to the raw ingredient, you’ve found resources, collaborators/entrepreneurial bestie and together you’re making big things happen. You’re more driven with your goals and as a result, you’ve become more ambitious because you see what’s possible and the possible is within your reach.


Carry On Friends Ambition


Show It Off


Through every chapter of our Nation’s history, Caribbean Americans have made our country stronger — reshaping our politics and reigniting the arts, spurring our movements and answering the call to serve. Caribbean traditions have enriched our own, and woven new threads into our cultural fabric. Again and again, Caribbean immigrants and their descendants have reaffirmed America’s promise as a land of opportunity — a place where no matter who you are or where you come from, you can make it if you try. President Obama’s Presidential Proclamation National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, 2013.


Bare Ambition;  Be Ambitious. Have Ambitious Friends. Do Ambitious Things and Ambition Up Like Seven – represents a commitment to excellence through hard work and determination. Whether it’s in your career, business or your life.


Updated: 11/9/23


Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown is Founder & host of Carry On Friends one of the first podcasts dedicated to the Caribbean American Experience. She is leading the way for Caribbean Podcast as the founder of Breadfruit Media, the first Caribbean podcast production company; and founder of the Caribbean Podcast Directory a place to discover podcasts by people of Caribbean Heritage.