jamaican sound system

Mommy Mash Up Di Party

For a while, after moving to Brooklyn I missed Jamaica. I missed my friends, I felt I missed out on a budding social life there and I often wondered what they were doing back in high school. Eventually, I settled in to high school in Brooklyn. Outside of the academics, I had a lot of fun in school. I made friends with people from almost every Caribbean island. And you know when island people come together is “bare” partying. There were always parties to go to either in school or some basement party.

Wingate High School Campus

I didn’t go to every party because we had to be strategic with Mommy. We were at the mercy of her mood. So when we wanted to go to a party we had to give her at least a months notice and during that time, be on our best behavior. If we got the permission, she’d give us a curfew and strategically we made sure we got home at least 30 minutes before the curfew was up. This almost always helped us when we wanted to go to another party.

Last Party Of The Year

It was my senior year of high school and it was also the last party of the year. As usual, my little brother Junior, cousin Simone and I got permission to go the party. It was the rule, we couldn’t go to a party without each other and this was cool with us.

Before we left home for the party, my mother said to be home by 7pm or some early time. I thought to myself – “she nuh mean dat”. Granted, parties held in a NYC public school can’t go past a certain time anyway but 7pm probably got us only an hour at the party, if that much.

So my crew and I headed off to the party because all my friends were going to be there. Heck we got excited for every party. Simone and I always knew the latest dances and couldn’t wait to show them off. When we got to the school, there were a lot of people hanging out, probably waiting for their friends to show up. There was a little line people of waiting to get in the building. My gym teacher Ms. Harriot and AP Bio teacher, Ms. Layne were at the door taking tickets. As we walked to the cafeteria, something tell me fi go back. I went back to the door and said to both teachers – “if my Mom comes to the door, please do not announce it over the mic, just call me to see you. ok?” These two teachers notorious for blowing up people spots and I could not have that. Thankfully I was a good student with good grades because they both said “OK baby”.

reggae gold album cover

Reggae Gold – Courtesy of VP Records

Now on to the partying. My brother went his way to find his friends and Simone and I did the same. The DJ was one of our high school friends – because back then everybody had a “set”. Chunes fi days a play in the cafeteria. Mad Cobra’s “Facts of Life”, Bounty’s Nitro Mix, and a slew of Beenie Man tunes. And girls doing the body basics dance to Powerman’s Slim & Trim. Then there was the crowd favorite, Red Fox and Naturalee’s “Down in Jamaica”. Whenever the DJ draw fi dat chune is nuff beating on the wall or whatever else people can find. Jamaican flags frantically waved in the air, the crowd was just hype. We had no clue how much time passed because we were having too much fun.

Party Mash Up

That’s when I heard Ms. Layne’s voice come through the speaker calling my name “Kerry-Ann please see me”. Like straight out of movie all 3 of us stopped dancing, nervously looked around for each other and made our way to the door, nerves a kill wi. Praying to God that Mommy don’t embarrass wi.

With sweat running down our faces, and heavy breathing from all the dancing but probably mostly from nerves, we walk to the door. And there was Mommy with her screw face and hands folded. If she could kill us with her stare we’d be dead. Simone whispered “Please God”, but she ask too late because that’s when Mommy said loudly “wah time mi tell unno fi come home?”. This is a rhetorical question, because you don’t dare answer. We didn’t even look to see who was around – we just wanted to get away quickly. As we started walking we realized that Mommy was already way ahead of us saying ” unno come on”. Then some fool started to “psst, psst”. Mommy stop and say “is who yuh a seet afta”. Oh God Mommy gwaan – nuh stop I said to myself. Junior, Simone and I walked side by side and about 3 feet behind her while she cussed all the way home.

Don’t Test

I knew my mother was not to be messed with and she had it in her to pull a stunt like this. But I thought she’d give us a bligh being that it was the last party of the school year and for me my last high school party. Silly us. Don’t mess with Mommy – she will come mash-up yuh party. Simone, Junior and I laugh about this all the time. We even tell or little cousins and for me my teenage daughter about these stories. We warn them – don’t test me or we’ll pull a Mommy.

This post was written/published as part of Blogging While Brown & Rewind and Come Again’s 2014 June Blog Carnival celebrating National Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

Photos courtesy of: Ko Tetu,  VP Records


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.