Few people would dare to give their start up brand a name that may be considered risque. For producers/presenters Gerelle Forbes and Tyker Phillip, that concern was never an issue and they recently launched the second season of 2 Jammettes – the live talk show that airs on Sundays at 4 pm on YouTube on OURRadio.fm and via the Digicel Go Loud App.
Forbes and Phillip are fast gaining popularity for their bold, humorous and upbeat style of presenting on the programme, while intimately examining critical issues within the society in all its complexities. However, it is their unapologetic truth telling and candidness – not for the faint of heart –that ultimately endears them to their viewers.
The weekly show, which premiered in September 2021, forms part of the duo’s overarching Jammette brand that they co-developed as directors of their own media company, Sthenic22 Limited. Under that banner, broader plans are in train regarding collaborations with small and micro businesses, as well as fashion, mas and cosplay designers, to facilitate a deeper alignment with local culture and heritage.
Last year Forbes and Phillip, who have known each other since their student days at St Francois Girls’ College, conceptualised the talk show with a very specific objective and audience in mind.
“Tyker and I both have several years of experience in filmmaking and producing, and we noticed that quite frequently, our work centred on documenting much of our cultural heritage from various angles,” Forbes said.
“It occurred to us that we had so much to share with and through our grassroots communities, by way of re-learning, re-telling and re-teaching TT history, culture and customs, and ultimately creating opportunities for people to really see themselves in a new light. And that’s where we discovered our mission.”
With those goals in mind, Phillip and Forbes worked on fine-tuning the radio talk show’s format using conversations, music, archiving through interviews and accessibility through the famously level playing field online platforms offer.
“When people hear the title 2 Jammettes, their initial response is to screw up their faces because of the historically negative connotations of the word. However, when they watch the show or engage with us Live, they soon get a clear sense of our targeted mission – one of knowledge and empowerment of our core audience,” said Phillip.
Both women have become staunch advocates for the conscious reshaping of how people perceive of the "jammette", a word that originates from the French "diametre" and commonly used in our local vernacular to refer to a woman of loose morals and low social standing.
Phillip contends that the perception is a total misrepresentation of the character.
“The history of the jammette in the barrack yard goes far beyond what has typically been repeated as fact. While she was no slave to observing propriety and respectability, the jammette was also very much the bold yet caring mother figure in the community, who gave voice to the voiceless and never backed away from challenging colonialist mindsets and behaviours. Those are the attributes that are mirrored in the products we developed under the Jammette brand, and in us, too, as show hosts, because we believe it’s the most effective way of connecting with our grassroots audiences.”
Quite apart from their exploits on 2 Jammettes, the enterprising young producers can also boast of recent success in having their film Pan on the Move officially selected for screening at this year’s TT film festival. Forbes was approached by executive producer Mark Loquan to produce the film. She and Phillip then conducted extensive research and interviews to create an acclaimed piece documenting how pannist and arranger Ray Holman revolutionised Panorama.
Since successfully launching the second season of 2 Jammettes last week, the duo has continued to receive positive feedback and encouragement from people who enjoy their manner of ‘keeping things real,’ Phillip’s regular bursts of tone-deaf singing and Forbes’ contagious bellyful laughter!
Both women credit CEO of OURRadio.fm, Richard "Chromatics" Rajkumar for endorsing their endeavours even as they navigate a still relatively new space in online media. Rajkumar first contacted Forbes with an early invitation to join his cast of presenters at the station, and since then has remained in full support.
Season 2 has lots in store and promises more feel good energy and great music as Phillip and Forbes address a suite of fresh themes and topics with their guest personalities. Already artistes of the calibre of Trinidad-based international reggae star Queen Omega and four-time calypso monarch Cro Cro have graced their studio.
“We guarantee that 2 Jammettes is for you – as long as you don’t mind instances of discomfort as we openly discuss matters that affect us as a society. If it’s not for you, then you can always go visit your favourite ice cream parlour,” joked Phillip.
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