Why do Jamaicans like to say second-generation Jamaicans born and raised in the U.S. aren’t Jamaican? What is it like growing up in America as a Trinidadian? How does it feel to work in a predominantly white workplace as a Caribbean American? How can we adapt and excel as Caribbean folks living here?
These are some of the questions explored head on Carry On Friends, The Caribbean American Podcast – a talk show filled to the brim with accents that are Caribbean-with-a-hint-of-American, an authentically energetic Caribbean vibes, and thoughtful dialogue around our unique, shared experience in a mostly white, multicultural America.
The podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, is the brainchild of 39-year-old, Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown, who was born in Jamaica and has lived most of her life in New York.
Reid-Brown says she started Carry on Friends after entering the workforce and realizing that the subtleties of her Caribbean-bred work ethic and workplace social cues were not often understood by her largely American bosses and co-workers.
“I realized that there wasn’t a lot of information for a career-focused Caribbean American, brought up in a Caribbean household, understanding what it’s like to work in an American workplace. That was one reason why I started. And then I wanted to talk about the other aspects of the Caribbean American experience,” she says.
Caribbean Americans Perspectives
According to Reid-Brown, her goal with the podcast is to serve the Caribbean American community by diving into its distinct perspectives and the experiences of being a person of Caribbean descent living in the US.
“There are so many little nuances that make up our experiences. It’s good to feel represented or see representation of parts of that experience. It gives a level of validation, especially in a world that tends to kind of wash over and generalize,” she shares.
As a podcast host, Reid-Brown has developed a tenacity for analyzing the Caribbean American experience. She deems community and ambition as factors that have long driven Caribbean American people to thrive. She says, Caribbean Americans most often come to the US knowing that they will need to lend a helping hand and even financial support to family members back home. This, she believes, arms us with the resilience to survive and excel. She also says, that once here, as immigrants we tend to band together, developing strong community bonds that also help us thrive.
However, she explains, despite our ability to rise, there are still integral economic mindset limitations we need to overcome.
“We know how to start businesses, but we don’t do a good job of scaling businesses. We don’t do a good job of passing down knowledge to really be good entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs the way that young people now are doing it. So, I think the challenge is reframing traditional ideas about what it means to be a business person or an owner. In some cases, we are a community when it comes to certain things – but we are very fragmented when it comes to business, and building enterprises and viable strong businesses.”
Reid-Brown has been a speaker at Podcast Movement, Haiti Tech Summit, Caribbean Digital Divas and various career, entrepreneurship, podcast and Caribbean culture panels. Through her business, Breadfruit Media, she also helps other Caribbean Americans launch and produce their own podcasts.