“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” – Virginia Woolf
It is one thing to be a woman and another to be a black woman. Especially, a strong one. Last month was black history month and we got to celebrate our ancestors who have lit the lanterns and light the path for us. Today, this international women’s day, we get to celebrate the women who continue to keep the lantern-lit.
These phenomenal women have buried anonymity, and have made it easier for women, such as myself, to smile at our dreams and aspirations despite our individual struggles that might seem insurmountable. I am talking about mothers, wives, leaders, entrepreneurs, and go-getters. These are some of the titles that can be used to describe these women.
This article is my way of paying homage to all women who continue to hold the lantern steadfast for us.
When I think about confidence and a positive work attitude this is the name that comes to my head. Her demeanour is everything any ambitious person could dream of. As a matter of fact, I have always wanted to ask her if she has always been this confident.
Martha Washington, once said that the greatest part of our unhappiness is determined by our disposition, and not by our circumstances. This is one quote that can be used to encapsulate Terri-Karelle. She had successfully completed her doctorate degree in medicine (Veterinary) in Cuba. However, despite her success in completing her doctorate degree, she was unable to practice medicine in Jamaica because her degree was not accredited internationally. Nonetheless, She did not allow her circumstance to stop her progress toward greatness: Instead, she found her new strength in Public Relations and Marketing. Over-time she realized her unique personality and started working in media.
Terri-Karelle has been hosting the most-watched live television show in Jamaica – Digicel Rising, and many other popular television shows, cultural, local, and international events. Her personality and persona are undeniable a quality that can be used to captivate any audience. I bet she could choose any lackadaisical topic and make it excited (smiles).
Today Terri is one of Jamaica’s most influential speakers and her Instagram page is where a lot of young people, like myself, go not only for the “drape,” but also when we need a reminder of who we are, and who we need to be. She continues to inspire us through encouragement from her personal experiences. Thank you Terri!
Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce
If you are a woman and you are looking for strength, look towards Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, because she is the epitome of strength. One cannot earn the title of the world’s fastest woman without strength, perseverance, and a whole lot of commitment. Her greatness and strength were being questioned during the 100m final at the World Championship in Doha, subsequent, to her giving birth to her son.
Shelly-ann did not succumb to naysayers, instead, she trained and fought as long as she could. She made everyone who doubted her, eat their words after she emerged victorious, clocking 10.81, winning the women’s 100m final at the Doha, Qatar World Championships 2019. This was not just a victory for her, but for all women worldwide who have been doubted because of their bodily functions – pregnancy.
She reminded women that their career does not have to end after giving birth. Childbirth is an honour and shows a woman’s strength. It should be an opportunity to start again. Today this strong, black, Jamaican woman is on top of the elite women list in her field. This woman now has to her name two Olympic gold medals and four World Championship gold medals in 100m and has reigned from “pocket rocket” to “mommy rocket”.
Tammar Annika Chin
Tammar Chin, popularly known as Tami Chynn is a singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, podcaster, broadcaster, mother, and wife.
Tami is the hostess of the podcast, Tackle Everything with Tammi and has recently joined the Jamaican YouTube community with her family. The Meet the Mitchells YouTube channel has amassed a huge audience overtime. The channel feeds its viewers a mixture of comedy, motivation, and relationship advice as well as vlogs to show what life is like for the Mitchells on a regular and busy day. The cute faces of their children, Tami’s bright personality, and her husband, Wayne Marshall’s unending jovial aura have contributed to the rapid growth of the channel.
What I admire most about Tami is how she was able to maneuver her career in such a way that she is seen as one of the most successful women in Jamaica today. Her life teaches us that it is okay not to have it all figured out. It is okay to take it one step at a time and enjoy the simple things life has to offer.
Although her music career was “fun” and brought a lot of opportunities, Tami soon realized that was not her calling.
It took me to a lot of places and I met a lot of people that I probably wouldn’t have gotten to in any other field, so I’m grateful for what it did for me in terms of making me who I am, but I would never go back and I would never do anything differently.Tami Chin in an Interview with the Observer
After her music career, she started her entrepreneurship journey by opening a Salon. In her interview with The Observer, she noted that she was not a pro but knew she needed to provide a space for women to express and share their experiences.
After four years she got weary of her new salon business. During her entrepreneurship journey and running her salon she knew she was a people person and so she shortly realized that she loves communication. She, therefore, started her podcast which is still a people’s choice today.
I realized that my love was in communicating with people. I started a podcast and that was my entry point into having a voice of my own, having something to say. I was using my voice to connect on another level that was healing. I felt like for the first time I was allowing people to see who I was. I was sick of trying to maintain this ideal, and so I just started to show my flaws. I started to be vulnerable. I started to share my weaknesses and my strengths. I just decided that I’m going to show up as me, and we’ll see how that works out,” she said.Tami in Interview with The Observer
Tami shows us that sometimes in order to become our true self we have to stop hiding the parts we think are bad. We cannot experience complete self-discovery if we bury parts of us that are probably the most precious. These precious parts are what often lead us to our calling.
Her beautiful personality, her story, and her ability to disperse positive energy are what make her the strong woman She Forges sees her as.
The Hon. Portia Simpson Miller
Once upon a time, women were not considered leaders, but this woman was. She made history when she was announced in 2006 as Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister.
“I come to the Office of the Prime Minister with a profound sense of my obligations to the people. My role as Prime Minister of Jamaica will be to use this high office to facilitate change,”Simpson Miller shared in her inauguration address.
The Hon. Portia Simpson Miller started her career in politics at 29-years-old in 1974 as a councilor in the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation. She served two years at the local level and was later promoted to the House of Representative as Member of Parliament for South West St Andrew in 1976.
Her role as Prime Minister however brought a lot of challenges ranging from harsh critiques and the unimaginable pressure from living up to the expectations of the women who looked up to her as the first female Prime Minister. Her challenges however made her stronger and she remained true to herself despite what was thrown her way.
“My life in politics has not always been easy. While some judged me harshly, I was determined to be who I wanted to be and not how others saw me. I am proud of my achievements. I’m proud that I’ve made a difference. I’m proud to have made a mark and contribution on the world stage,” Simpson Miller expressed in her final address in parliament.gojamaica.com
Portia Simpson Miller remains an inspiration for many girls in Jamaica. She is one of the many women who have broken the glass ceiling and reminds girls that they can achieve whatever they want in life.
Mikayla ‘Koffee’ Simpson
The confidence that Koffee came into the entertainment business with was astounding. She brought the words from her popular song Rupture to light as she indeed captured the entire world with her voice, lyrics, and persona.
One of her most popular and inspiring song is burning
“Burning came from a disappointing experience,” remembers Koffee. “I applied for 6th Form but I didn’t get in and I felt really disappointed by that. So Burning was an inspiration to myself, to push myself forward to say, ‘You can’t let this out your flame’. Literally, it was me parking a fire within myself to go forward and excel in something else, because education didn’t look like it was working out. I say ‘Me have a burning sound, me a burn the city down’; I meant, like, lighting a fire in Kingston, bringing that energy.”Koffee
Her songs reflect not only what is happening in the Jamaican environment, but also her personal experiences which lead to her success in the music industry at such a young age.
Her talent has also caught the attention of musicians such as Cocoa Tea, Chronixx, and Protoje which brought a lot of opportunities for the young DJ.
According to her website, Koffee’s aim is to avoid restricting herself to the fame and money that comes with her career but to be a positive light on the world.
“I want to bring positive change to the world because I think the world needs that more than just individual success,” she points out. “My personal success could be ten cars and a big house but that doesn’t influence many people other than myself and the people around me who that benefit from that. I want to be a positive movement and make a positive movement, at the same time. I want to bring vibes and positive change. I want to impact the world.”Koffee
At such a young age Koffee has grown her fan base to millions and continues to share her positive notes with the world. She has added tremendously to what the Jamaican women have achieved, and one can only imagine what is left in store for this very ambitious woman.
These women are just five of the many women that continue to challenge anonymity not only in Jamaica but the world. They have exuded their presence and their being from the bubble that society has tried to force women into. They have proven that women can also be strong and successful in their endeavours. And, they continue to be inspirational for many women like myself.