“How come you are staying here?” my client exclaimed when he dropped me off at the Altamont Court hotel in Kingston, JA.
“Because this fits my needs. It’s efficient, safe and clean. I am family when am here plus, it’s fantastic value for money. Why?” I am curious.
“Because someone of your stature should be staying at the Spanish Court Hotel, you should be holding your meetings there to show people who you are. And act more white!”. He replies with open conviction.
Nowhere else is the appearance of wealth and social status more ridge and important for display than in Jamaica in 2011. The need to show ones ability is no longer judged by ones credentials and authority those solid foundations have been replaced with gauche peacock parades of bling and wild grandiose titles they have self bestowed online. “CEO’s” without staff, “Presidents” without revenue and “Tech Guru’s” and “Consultants” who aren’t even bankable by a major brand to hire them as staff. So many, just Kings new clothes….
The diaspora moved to foreign lands and worked hard for ‘the man’ and created the barrel mentality arriving back looking like they’ve been ‘in farin’. But times have changed and as anyone who is abroad can tell you. The life in Jamaica is often a much better quality than the struggle for ‘stuff’ here. There is a lot of hard work to be done and quite frankly many that I know on the Rock couldn’t even stomach the long hours and the tough environments that workers have to make that $. Plenty of times I’ve been approached by people with laundry lists of high end items they want, yet these same people when I have found them work, quit so soon as they “won’t be working for no slave driver!”. Interesting how they would see the long hours I put in and the trudging through the winter snow, hail and rain to be there on time. OK for me to work for the man? But it’s not for them.
Why are so many folks buying into this flossing? This hyperreality that they back up with online gusto? Putting on pedestals the worship of goods and faux social status over value and endurable credibility of solid education and employment resumes. Personally, I think it’s the degeneration of ‘Jamaica the brand’. People are looking to America and having all those brands be the badge of their success. There’s little perceived value to buy-Jamaica or be-authentic-Jamaican anymore. There’s no respect or fair-trade ethos to support anything other than the flash named brands. The disinterest to preserve the vibrant valuable culture is seen in JTBs global campaigns that bolster the glossy All-Inclusive market over the meet the people smaller hotels. The only way we can buy back that trust is to not, hook line and sinker buy into the floss. The more Jamaicans buy into the brand floss like debt riddled America the more negative an impact it will have on the country and culture. Jamaica you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” -Lost with the seduction of crass consumerism – It’s costing folks their lives, literally.
Jane Nina Buchanan, Owner stooshpr.com. Originally from Liverpool, England she started her career as producer and presenter of the SONY award winning show “Streetlife” on the BBC. From radio she moved on to television with seasons as Entertainment Producer for the network Granada TV show,”This Morning” and later “Jameson Tonight” on Sky TV. Headhunted from Sky TV by Sir Bob Geldof and Lord Waheed Alli company at 25yrs old, she was appointed the position of US Producer for Planet 24 Productions. Based out of NYC she coordinated and produced all US strands for the controversial show “The Word” and later, Channel 4’s “The Big Breakfast”.
When Planet 24 relocated to LA to produce the successful “Survivor” reality show, Jane decided to make NYC her home and continues to live and work in the media. She has held staff positions at New Video Group/Docurama (Home Video arm of A&E/The History Channel), Disney Theatrical (Lion King,, Mary Poppins and Phil Collins’ Tarzan) Maxim Magazine/Dennis Publishing, and Bad Boy Entertainment with Sean P.Diddy Combs.