How has the week been treating you thus far? So hump day has long gone making it a day closer to the weekend *woot woot*, and in keeping with my promise, here I am, with yet another post *smiles*. This post however, will be a more serious one, geared towards my fellow Jamaicans. This is regarding an issue that bugs me time and time again, and one I’m truly passionate about. I’ve always aired my grouses amongst close friends and family members, but today I thought I’d share here.
Now, for those of you that are seemingly unaware, there is a show on Jamaican Local Television by the name of “Mission Catwalk”. Mission Catwalk is back for its second season on TVJ with the supposed purpose of discovering and developing talented local fashion designers for the international market. In a sense, it’s similar to the world renowned Project Runway (point to note for my American readers). On the night of its premiere, my sister called me, and advised that I watch the live streaming of the show, as one of my classmates from High School had entered. She however had caught me at a bad time and I was unable to catch a glimpse of the show whilst it aired. Despite my inability to do so at the moment, my curiosity was piqued. With that said, the following morning I went in search for a video of the recently aired TV program on Facebook, however, all efforts to do so had proven futile. Regardless of this fact, I did come across pictures of “many hopefuls”, or contestants that had entered to claim the final prize.
In viewing the pictures, I would soon come to realize, that a lot of the contestants were not from Jamaica. It then dawned on me that they had expanded their reach before returning to TV for yet another season. Fifteen designers from Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica will compete for enviable prizes, among them the chance to show at London Fashion Week (taken from the Jamaica Gleaner’s website; story published on Feb 6th, 2012). Now those of you that know me could only imagine my abhorrence when I was made aware of this. Why is it that as Jamaicans we tend to leave most, if not everything opened to the rest of the world?! To be frank, I don’t understand why it is that we can’t keep anything for ourselves. This has been a long time objection of mine where our country/island is concerned, and it bothers me that as a nation, we never look out for ourselves. Everything is always up for grabs!! The same concerns apply to our local Dancehall Queen competitions. How can we have a “contest” for something that originated in our country, that’s a part of our culture, and then open it up to the world at large?! Past winners include individuals of another nationality. Why are Japanese dancers allowed to come to Jamaica and participate in local competitions, when the aim of these local competitions is to showcase the indigenous work and practices of our own?
Now I may come off as a tad bit imprudent, but I honestly don’t get it, and it amazes me each time there is such an occurrence. The point I am trying to get across is this. As Jamaicans, we can NEVER in a million years take up ourselves and make the decision to enter say, an “America’s Next Top Model”, or any other major competition within other territories. Point blank, they are not open to us, but as a people we are clearly just “nuff” and everything is evidently a “free for all” in Jamaica. We can never, and will never, have anything for ourselves if we continue along this path. This is where I believe the Government need to step in and take action. I strongly believe that effective measures should be taken or put in place to ensure that only Jamaican nationals are granted full access to these competitions. Giving others to opportunity to partake in local contests and be successful is completely unfair to locals, as we are simply not afforded such opportunities elsewhere. What gets me is the fact that we truly have a lot of natural talent in our country, which often gets “lost in the crowd”, or will never become household names, because they are caught in the shadow of these people. I like the idea of this competition (Mission Catwalk), I applaud the producer’s purpose, and the top prize no doubt is appealing. I applaud all their efforts, and believe this will undoubtedly leave a remarkable mark worldwide, I’d just rather the contest be open to Jamaican nationals only, so that the world can become cognizant of the true talent I know that exists locally. It is not in my intent to offend anyone through this post; I’m simply voicing my two cents on the matter. It saddens me each time a huge competition such as this comes about and is left open to others. As a nation, we need to have that changed. I welcome all your comments regarding this matter.