Andrew Clarke

Circle Back: Andrew Clarke on Authentic Caribbean Cultural Representation

“Circle Back” is a series within Carry On Friends where I catch up with past guests and check in on what they’ve been up to since they last appeared on the podcast.

In this episode, I catch up with Andrew Clarke, founder and executive director of Braata Productions. Andrew has the honor of being the very first guest on the podcast. He appeared on episode 4 which was released on Feb 10, 2015.

When I spoke with Andrew in 2015, Braata productions was 6 years old. Now in its fifteenth year, Braata continues to push boundaries and break barriers. Andrew spoke about the organization’s evolution and its mission to amplify the voices of various Caribbean nations. He pointed out that the uniqueness of each Caribbean island – from their distinct sounds and flavors to their individual stories – deserves recognition and celebration.

However, the path to preserving and promoting Caribbean culture is not without its challenges. One of the more pressing issues is the underrepresentation of Jamaican and Caribbean talents in mainstream media. The epsiode discussed the industry’s preference for diluted cultural portrayals. Andrew emphasized the need for improvement and education in the craft of acting, as well as a deeper understanding of the industry’s intricacies.

Authenticity in cultural representation was another topic discussed in the episode. We also addressed the pivotal role that union membership plays in casting and the layered hurdles that non-union and Caribbean actors must navigate. The conversation highlights the critical role of cultural insiders in influential positions to ensure the integrity of Caribbean narratives.

As we looked ahead, Andrew shared Braata Productions’ future plans, which include a crystal gala for their 15th anniversary and exciting endeavors in film. The transition from theater to film was explored as a means to reach a broader audience.

It is through the visionary efforts Andrew and organizations like Braata Productions that Caribbean culture will continue to be preserved and shared with the world. Tune in to the conversation with Andrew

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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.