We had a chat with the unfiltered, straight-talker, Gender and Mental Health advocate, Carla Moore. She’s the Jamaican friend who calls you out on your misdeeds, and reassures you that you’re not alone because she may be guilty of same. She’s the Jamaican friend who will give running commentary on controversial news stories. She’s the Jamaican friend with the much-needed yet unsolicited pep talks about your mental health, self-care, and personal relationships. She’s also the Jamaican friend who will school you on gender and human rights in less than 143 characters, an ‘artical Jamaican auntie’ in the digital space!
Carla Moore’s LinkedIn profile lists a host of professional titles to include certified life coach, behaviour change communicator, administrator, proposal writer, strategist, researcher, project coordinator….Now let’s meet her!
1. We appreciate your unsolicited advice videos/tweets, what inspires you to share them?
I share online for a few reasons. One, to get it off my chest. Some tings will curdle and choke yu if yu nuh let dem out and social media is a good space to do that while connecting with your community. My followers and supporters feel like family to me…that’s actually what I call them – the fambili. So sometimes I share caw me lonely and waan talk to me fambili. A plenty tings we go through together. I also share because I know so many people who are surrounded by other people going through the exact same thing, but they all feel alone because they’re afraid or ashamed to speak honestly. Me will tek di shame so other people can feel less alone – and so I can feel less alone too.
2. So let’s guess, are you naturally the counsellor in your circle of friends?
LOL, is why unnu come to drag me in this interview? Yes, I am naturally the counsellor in my friend group. Recently I’ve become a bit of a hermit so my fren dem haffi a use smoke signal and carrier pigeon and abeng fi find me. But when I’m not hiding in the bushes, I’m the one folks usually talk to.
3. You’re vocal about mental health and self-care, even sharing a few personal struggles, how do you muster up the courage to share so freely online?
I think sharing about my mental health online became easier when I realised it wasn’t something to be ashamed of…We’ve been made to feel that way, but it’s not. Have you ever observed the people in your family? Like REALLY paid attention to them? Listened to their stories and understood their traumas and then looked at their lives and how those traumas continue to show up in their everyday? How hard it is to trust? The ways we hurt each other in relationships without thought? Our paranoia? The soaring self-confidence coupled with low self-worth? We’re all dealing with stuff. We have all struggled in some way. And many of us have diagnosable conditions we’ve figured out how to live around. The more I leaned into what was ‘crazy’ about the people around me, the more I realised that mental health issues were commonplace for Jamaicans and a common part of life. How could they not be? The nation, as we know it, was birthed from trauma, mental health issues are the only logical outcome; and the more people waking up and speaking honestly about that, the sooner we can start the work of healing.
4. Speak the truth! Now, let’s talk about self-care. When you’re not working or sharing unsolicited advice online. What does self-care look like for you?
Self-care for me looks like alone time and silence (my animals are exempt from leaving me alone and being quiet – they live a life without rules and I’m okay with it …pet fi pwile). More recently, comedy videos on YouTube…don’t ask for names because me nuh memba. Self-care is also revisiting my relationship with money so I can understand that it’s okay to spend it and stop being mean to myself. Also, that I have the right to act like I need my own money more than anybody else…cus I struggled with that…I didn’t like feeling like I was being mean to others or like I was leaving people to suffer because I wouldn’t give. So I basically was overworked with zero savings. That never sustainable. Self-care has also taken the form of bringing more beauty into my life – plants, little low-cost paintings, colours….actually allowing myself to spend a little more time choosing something that looks good rather than just serves a purpose. Self-care has also been gratitude for who and what I have. Spending less time thinking about what comes next and more thinking about how good I have it now. Time….being intentional with my use of time has been my biggest act of self-care.
5. We know Dancehall music is one of your favourite genres. If you’re at a Jamaican party, which Dancehall song would get you on the dance floor?
Yu cyaan trick me….me mus pick ONE song? Whichever song is in the 90’s dancehall playlist will have me on my head top…or at least somewhat dropping it low because age, me love. Whether is kicking out me foot caw me nuh man mascot or the sweet sweet sound of Ghost …I am THERE.
Men thinking it’s okay to abduct young girls and attack gay men is not coincidental. Both beliefs share a common root:
The idea that masculinity equals dominance, and is proven through exploitation, control and/or destruction of whatever is deemed feminine or feminized.
— Coach Carla (@mooretalkja) October 17, 2021
6. Speaking of music, do you have a favourite Jamaican artiste?
Yes, my favorite Jamaican artist is Celine Dion (if yu know yu know). Following Celine hmmm…I can’t say I have a favorite right now. I do love what’s happening with the women of Dancehall…there’s a nice piece a community between Spice, Jada and Shenseea that I love to see…and they always give us something to play when man pass dem place and figget who we be.
7. Still on entertainment. Are you following/watching any Netflix series at the moment?
oh dear *shame face* I am on every true crime documentary and unsolved mystery. My mom saw my Netflix watch list and looked at me with real concern in her eyes. Like, me could a tell she was wondering if she went wrong somewhere wid me or if me did need more hugs…because why were the first 4 shows just serial killers? Me feel like reality right now is so alien that even the most bizarre things from the past are no match…so me can watch dem widout fear. BUT I’m also aware that watching them creates a market for them and makes celebrities out of murderers, which is a problem. There’s also something kind of profane about having 4 concurrent series dedicated to Ted Bundy alone…FOUR….to him ONE? The appetite we have for trauma definitely needs interrogation. So it’s a very guilty pleasure.
8. If Jamaica was a Netflix series, what would be the title?
One Bright Day In Di Middle Of Di Night – directed by M Night Shyamalan (plot twists included)
A Wah Could A Cause Dis? Starring Oliver Samuels, Dahlia Harris and Maylynne Lowe
9. If you could change one thing about Jamaica, what would it be?
The violence – the policies that perpetuate it (including the ones that perpetuate poverty), the culture that glorifies it (including the ways our minds are still colonised and anti-black), and the social inequality that is created by violence and maintained through violence.
10. We know mental health is important to you. Share a word of encouragement with your fans.
Nuttn nuh wrong wid yu.
I know people have probably told you otherwise, and maybe even you have said some rough things to yourself. But there is nothing wrong with you. Everybody has mess, everybody struggles. Everybody has made mistakes. You are just another likkle human trying to make it true.
If you want to be different – do it. Nuttn nuh wrong wid dat. . But you don’t need to hate yourself to motivate yourself. Start from a place of love. All when it nuh feel like it mek sense or like yu too difficult fi love…throw likkle more love ova deh. Tek Time Wid Yuself.
Please tell us when you publish the book Carla, the world needs your unsolicited pep talks! Thank you so much for sharing a piece of you with us that we don’t readily see online.
The pandemic has brought a lot of bad but it has also brought forward a lot of good. One of the ‘goods’ is that Jamaicans are everywhere online. You don’t have to scroll too far down a search listing to find authentic Jamaican content on the most popular social platforms. Tik Tok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, you name them, you’re sure to spot not one, not two but at least five trending conversations initiated by a Jamaican influencer. In this feature series, we will give you a sneak preview of the lives of our most popular Jamaican personalities online. Now tell us, which Jamaican online personality should we feature next?