"It is important for persons with creative talents to continue to develop it.”
So said social media content strategist LaToya Williams, as she addressed attendees at the second instalment of the Youth Chill and Chat series, held recently at the Roxborough Police Youth Club conference room in Roxborough.
The event was themed “The Orange Economy: Youths Impact on the Creative Industries” and made possible through the collaboration of Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Division of Sport and Youth Affairs and the Tobago Youth Council. It was hosted by youth activist Cindy Andrews.
Williams said: “It is very important to align yourself in terms of what it is you’re studying – what it is your passion is. You would think that it's not making no type of sense whatsoever but eventually you would see.
"We have to start developing our own content, we have to start documenting things. It pains me right now that even right now in Tobago we can’t even go to the library and pull a documentary and see who is (cultural icon) Maeda Cowie, (what) she is known for… We have nothing, so it is important for us to stay right here and start developing archives and put that to use for the generations to come. You never know who is looking, who is watching… develop short films, we need to start changing the mindset of things, even force the hands of the media to say we need to see more of our local content on air.”
Williams was one of the panellists of the evening along with drama enthusiasts Aleah Holder, fashion designer Dayle Angus, drummer Khalen Alexander, more commonly known as JaMoi, and singer Adana Robert, sharing thoughts on how they were impacting the creative sector.
In her preamble, Roberts said it was the first time she was hearing about orange economy, adding that she was indeed pleased to be a part of this growing sector.
“Before I became a recording artiste, being a singer/performer, artistes and these kinds of career, these were things you seldom heard of. Coming out of school, you were taught to go to the THA, apply for a job and work till you retire.
“It really is something special to know that young people like us are being encouraged to use whatever talents we have, to harness our talents, whatever gifts we have, and use it to not only boost ourselves and our lifestyle, our personal life experiences, but also, by extension, the economy of Tobago.”
Alexander said he was happy to see the orange economy growing, saying he grew up playing drum on the school desk and was able to create a lifestyle through this means.
“I was honoured to drum for Adana, Shurwayne, Machel, Bunji, Byron, Black Stalin, Fay-Ann…We were told from young children that you have to be a doctor, you have to be a lawyer and that you cannot be an artiste, because you would be poor.
“I give thanks for the growing orange economy,” he said.
Host Cindy Andrews explained that the term “orange economy” was only coined in 2013 to represent people who fell into the creative and cultural industry, hence the reason many are still unaware they are contributing to this growing sector.
Dayle Angus noted that she grew up in a home where her both parents are doctors, and everyone’s assumption was that she would follow in their footsteps.
“However, my father’s mother is actually a fashion designer in Jamaica, so for me and for my dad, I think it shaped his view of the creative economy and being involved in the creative industry.
“He saw how she was able to feed their family and actually do what she loved at the same time, without her having to be a doctor or a lawyer. So, I didn’t have the internal factor of people telling me, or my parents telling me 'no, you have to study something else,' but externally I did.”