“One of the best parts of being black and from the Caribbean, especially for me growing up in a predominantly black nation (The Bahamas), is that I always had icons, role models and examples of very successful, powerful and influential black people. It was a norm for me to see very positive images of people that looked like me. It only really dawned on me how unique and impactful that was for me, in recent times, as I followed (and supported) the social and activist movements led my black brothers and sisters in America like #BlackLivesMatter and #OscarsSoWhite. There has been a great push for diversity, mostly led by African Americans in different arenas (politics, holiday, business) in America and it’s wonderful. And not to say that racism and prejudice don’t exist in The Caribbean, that ugly beast is everywhere in the world. I’m just saying that I think it was very positive to bear witness to black excellence at a young age.
The thing is, I wouldn’t even separate it and say “Afro-Caribbean” culture, but just Caribbean culture: regardless of your race, down here, if you’re a black Bahamian or white Bahamian, you’re gonna be a part the culture and “get” certain things. “Ya born here, ya born dere!”
But Caribbean culture in general, to me, is pure vibrancy: you will not find a people in the world more spirited, colorful, animated, jovial and genuine. I mean, even in the face of hard times. We as a people have weathered many storms (LITERALLY) and we ALWAYS find a way to keep on truckin’ and even crack a joke or 6 while doing so.
Also, the word ingenuity comes to mind. The Caribbean people have produced so many genius and talented individuals: Sir Sidney Poitier, Bob Marley, Rihanna, Marcus Garvey, Dj Kool Herc and the list goes on and on and on in the fields of art, music, sports, business, and science. In many cases, we are a people that create “something out of nothing”. Some of our nations are developing or wouldn’t be considered “superpowers” but despite that, we pack a lot of punch and contribute creatively to the world. Unfortunately, we are often overlooked because people can sometimes have a stereotypical view of Caribbean folk as dolphin riding folk who just lounge on the beach all day with a joint and doing nothing else.
Lastly, the word “fusion” comes to mind when I think about our culture. There are so many influences and mixes: African, Hispanic, Asian, middle eastern – this is reflected in the food, music and the people. I know that for some outside of the Caribbean, the aspect can be confusing. Like, “How can you be Dominican and be black?” Or “How can you be Black and have a Syrian last name?” – but that’s just the beauty of our rich history and it’s definitely something to be celebrated.
I do think a large misconception or negative attitude that has sometimes been directed towards black people from The Caribbean is that we’re not “black enough” or that we have no concept of racism or prejudice or struggle etc and that everything has been a walk in the park for us. I just need for black people from the Caribbean and Black Americans to not attempt to have one big pissing match about who was screwed over the worst by colonizers and slave owners. I see this happening sometimes and it crawls my skin. At the end of the day, we were all stolen from our homeland, taken on ships, lost our languages and dropped off at different points…and at the end of the day, although we have created varying new and unique identities and cultures, there’s still a lot that binds us together. Additionally, I think another misconception is this stereotype of again “dolphin riding folk who just lounge on the beach all day with a joint and doing nothing else.” And I think this causes us to be overlooked. People can change this by opening a friggin’ Google Tab. Educate yourself about the cultures before you speak on them and spew stereotypes. I would really like to see more representation and more diverse representation of Caribbean people and culture. The diaspora is so huge and often times people “borrow” so much from our culture “Hello, Drake and Justin Bieber!” But it’s like we still don’t get the recognition in general that I feel we deserve. “
She wielded the power of the Internet as a platform for her thought-provoking, satirical and “opinionated a$$” video blogs “Tap’s Vlogs” with over 20,000 social media followers and YouTube Views of approximately 1 million and counting. Its safe to say her island gal charm, contagious energy and enthusiasm will continue to captivate audiences.
Featured on Tyler Perry’s talent search, Island 360, The Nassau Guardian, The Tribune, ELifeMagazine, NuWoman Magazine, ZNS and Cable 12. She is also a 2014 Bahamian IconAward Nominee in the entertainment category. Tap has hosted several television specials including the inaugural Bahamian Icon Awards, the ZNS inaugural Television Spring Show line up, Gippie’s Kingdom Season 1 and 2 Premiere and The Music Project. She was also a co-host for an episode of PBS’s multiple award-winning show “Voyager” which was seen in over 40 countries.
She is a reoccurring guest host and panelist on daytime talk show “The Stew” and has also been a backstage host staple at Fam Fest (the largest gospel concert in The Caribbean) for the past 6 years as well as other local events interviewing international acts such as Canton Jones, Tye Tribbett, Tasha Cobbs, Big Sean and more. Tap has also done exclusive interviews with The Hon. Rufus Ewing- The Premier of Turks and Caicos, Sherry Shepherd, The Miami Heat Dancers and Dylan Dreyer of The Today Show for her “Tap Into The Bahamas” series that she hosts, produced and wrote for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
Most recently she was a judge and personality alongside Yandy Smith of Vh1 and Angela Yee of The Breakfast Club, for the talent search and reality tv competition, “Icon of The Islands” which is seen in 10 million homes across the Caribbean, Florida, New York and Canada.
Author: Jennifer Wilder
Jennifer Aria Wilder-Boynes is a passionate, heart-centered illustrator supplying art, fashion and decor around the world. Her original designs are saturated in influence from travel, culture, and well-being.
Jennifer concentrated on contributing to a global understanding and appreciation of Caribbean culture, traditions, lifestyle, and identities and how that extends to Africa. At Her Leisure celebrates the entire Caribbean region and its Diaspora. At Her Leisure brings Afro- Caribbean culture to diverse audiences both on and offline in addition to keeping the Diaspora connected with their cultural heritage.
Developed in the U.S. and designed from inspiration around the world. For life, travel and leisure through love, travel and wander!