At this time of year, it’s especially nice to have something to cheer about. And we Jamaicans have Tessanne Chin.
Of course you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not one of the nearly 10 million viewers blown away by Tessanne’s performance on NBC’s The Voice last night, you are surely one of the millions more who’ve received emails and phone calls about it this morning.
Today the whole world knows Tessanne Chin, the 28-year-old Jamaican vocalist who emerged victorious in the popular program’s season finale. Voted the most talented among an exceptionally talented cast of performers, Tessanne brought down the house with such performances as “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “I Have Nothing” and ““Many Rivers To Cross.”
“She consistently brought it performance after performance and she emotionally connected with America,” executive producer Mark Burnett said. “I think she’s really connected her heart with the viewers. The Voice is a very uplifting show and I think she’s a very uplifting person.”
It’s interesting that Tessanne is not the Jamaican stereotype we usually see on TV.
To me, she provides a glimpse of a Jamaica that the Bob Marley phenomenon may have eclipsed.
Don’t get me wrong. I am proud of Bob Marley and I love his music. The reggae culture he represented put Jamaica on the map.
And I respect the Jamaica he portrays. It is unquestionably authentic.
But the Jamaica I grew up in is more complex than that.
It’s the Jamaica that Tessanne Chin shows the world.
And that Jamaica is authentic too.