Kerry-Ann on Carry On Friends The Caribbean American Podcast

Commentary on Heritage and Identity

Heritage and Identity is Nuanced

This is post show commentary on Episode 105: American Born Caribbean Raised. Since episode 105 has been released, the response has been great with people sharing their experiences.

 The heritage and identity commentaries in this episode are on:

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Everyone, welcome to another episode of the show. This is a bonus commentary, based on episode 105, American Born Caribbean Raised. I just had to record this episode to give my little thoughts as to some of the things that happened post recording of that episode. And since we’ve posted a episode on social media. One, the response has been great because a lot of people felt that episode resonated with their everyday experience.

Two. There were two things in the news that related to this episode. So the first one that I’m going to talk about is the rapper 21 Savage. 21 Savage is based in Atlanta. He recently got detained by ICE because he overstayed his visa. And he was originally from the UK. He has Caribbean roots, as his mom is from the island of Dominica, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic. And there was a whole conversation around everyone having an issue with him saying that he’s from Atlanta when he was originally born in the UK. Now, as a Caribbean person, we were having this conversation online. It really didn’t like we’re like so and the reason why we’re so is that we we understand, to a degree, why he says he’s from Atlanta and possibly didn’t reference the UK, right. And before I say why I just want to reiterate something Alysia said in that episode, she said, heritage and identity is more than where you were born. It’s just one facet. It is where you identify with. Heritage and identity inherently is a complex, multifaceted, multi layered thing.

And in the case of 21 Savage, it was the perfect explanation as to why, you know, he identified with Atlanta and didn’t say, Hey, I was from the UK. I can put links as to circumstances apparently he came here when he was young, around seven or whatever the age was. And like most immigrants, he overstayed his visa. Everyone was like, well, he lied, because he came from Atlanta. If I’m in New York City, depending on where I’m in New York City, if I’m in Manhattan, if I’m in Times Square, and someone says, Where are you from? I’m gonna say, Brooklyn, if I’m in Brooklyn, and someone asked me where I’m from, depending on who asked me, I’m gonna see I’m from the Caribbean. If I’m talking to someone else, and they’re like, well, we’re in the Caribbean are you from? I might just say, or maybe that person is from the Caribbean. And I will say, I’m Jamaican, because I have to specify because there is Jamaica, Queens. So if I say I’m from Jamaica, I really have to specify if it’s Jamaica, Queens, or Jamaica Island. And then if I’m in DC, or any other state, and someone says, Where are you from? I’m going to say New York. Right? So in that one question, I can answer it so many ways. And they’re true to me, because I am, from all those places, I identify with all those places. So if he’s been saying that he’s from Atlanta, it’s not denying or dissing the UK, it’s where he’s called home. And that’s where he identifies with. I mean, even for me, I’ve lived in Brooklyn more than I’ve lived in Jamaica at this point in my life. You know, I came here when I was a teenager, you know, so I, at this point, know, Brooklyn a lot more than I’m familiar with Jamaica, right, I can still go places. But there, you know, I’m here most of my time versus in Jamaica.

So that was something that was happening in the media. And it was just very important and how timely that conversation and Alysia’s specific quote, that kind of really gave light to how heritage and identity and culture is so layered and that a lot of people look at it from one lens. And the other important thing about 21 Savage and his situation, the the dialogue around immigration in the US has been around Latinos, specifically, Mexico and the border. But immigration affects everyone, right? And so he puts a black face to immigration. And that, really, and truly, and no one’s really picking up on this. Most people don’t come into the country illegally. You know, there there are people who do but most people stay illegally. And that’s kind of the difference. So that was one thing that was in the news. And I just wanted to add that commentary about how people responded to the episode and how Alysia’s quote kind of really drove home when the situation of 21 savage and his release was just being talked about in the media.

The second thing I wanted to talk about senator Kamala Harris, she recently announced her candidacy for the President of the United States. I’m not talking about her politics. And I became aware that she was of Jamaican heritage. Last year when I had someone contribute an article called 13 Caribbean American Women in Politics, you should know. And the article reference, Senator Harris’s sister, and I was like, wow, I did not know that she had Jamaican parentage. So she announced her candidacy and a lot more people became aware of her Jamaican heritage because her father and there was a whole other conversation which will happen in a future show around her father, and what people were saying online, but right before the show was released, Loop Jamaica posted an article saying that Senator Harris said that she supports ganja legalization, and She cites her Jamaican heritage as a reason why. Now, I can see why. This was one of the reasons where people have a negative response to Yankees calling themselves Caribbean or Jamaican American. Because my issue is senator Harris has never publicly acknowledge or spoke of her Jamaican heritage or parentage until she announced her nomination. And her father was in the news and of all the things, you know, Ganja legalization is just really playing into the stereotype, right? whether it’s true or not, I just felt like, yeah, it didn’t really win points of people who are like, you see, you see here, this is what mi a talk bout, right? And if you are going to acknowledge that you’re part of the culture, it can’t just feed into the stereotypes.

So that’s my second commentary on the episode American born Caribbean raised. All right, so what are your thoughts on the 21 Savage? Are you aware of the issue? And did you also catch the article on Senator Harris, I would love to hear what your thoughts are on these two things that I just brought up.

Alright. So the next thing I wanted to talk about is the 2019 listener survey. I haven’t done a full listener survey in a very long time. And it is overdue. When I say overdue. It’s overdue. We started the podcast in 2015. It’s 2019. It’s four years, and we want to make sure that we’re still creating great content, and topic and getting your feedback. So I am asking free for you to take about 15-20 minutes to complete the survey. The survey is anonymous. If you choose, you can also choose to provide your name and email address to be entered in for a chance to get a carry on friends notebook. I’ll be giving away about five of those. So please help the show out and complete the 2019 listener survey. It’s very valuable. I get the insight I know what topics you would like me to continue to cover because as the show grows, we want to make sure that we’re growing more or audience so your feedback is very crucial. I’ll be putting that in the show notes. It’ll be on the blog. I’ll be sharing it on social media. So thank you in advance for completing the survey is going to be really helpful for the show as we grow. All right.

And so the final thing I want to talk to you about in this episode is we are switching the schedule. So this is why this is a bonus episode. Typically, this would be a regular episode, right? So this is going to be a bonus episode. And then next week, March 5 will be a full episode. And from there every two weeks, the show will continue its schedule. So from March 5, every two weeks on a Tuesday, the next show will be on the 19th and so on. Now, why am I switching the schedule? Well, I’m also the producer of Style and Vibes I have Breadfruit media and Breadfruit Media Produces this podcast Carry On Friends, Style and Vibes podcast – my sister show and a few other projects and both shows are releasing in the same week. So I want to space the show out a little bit more to give it a nice cadence, we have some overlapping audience and it will be great to have the audience you know, have a nice flow of Style and Vibes one week, Carry On Friends the other week and alternate and so on. Right? And that’s the main reason why and if you haven’t checked out style and vibes podcast, please give my sister my sistren some love. We are again sister in for life. And so yeah, that’s why I’m switching the schedule. So I hope you don’t mind. You get the extra episode this month. You didn’t lose that episode. I’m doing this like a bonus episode demanded a full episode. Next week, March 5, and then I continue with the every two weeks from March 5. All right.

And so this is all I wanted to talk about real quick, you know, let me know what your thoughts are on the 21 Savage situation, if you did get Senate’s Harris and your thoughts on on that. And again the survey please please complete the survey it will be helpful I want to know you know what my audience look like I know everybody Caribbean on seeing but you know, be helpful to know a little bit more detail. You know, data is everything. And until next week, walk good.


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.