A show on the Carry on Friends podcast moves fluidly between the ‘Queen’s English’, Jamaican patois and the various tones of broken-English from guests from other Caribbean countries.
For its New York-based, Jamaica American host Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown, the podcast aims to pass on and preserve cultural traditions, contributing ultimately to the longevity of a far too often misrepresented Caribbean culture.
With major artists (like Drake for example) embracing Caribbean culture and crafting their work around it, Reid-Brown is adamant that people of Caribbean heritage don’t get lost in the ruffage. There should be room for Caribbean stories to be told by authentic Caribbean voices, she explains.
“As much as our culture is rich and we’ve made many contributions globally, we’re still treated as a niche – a minor league – when we actually influence a lot of what is mainstream,” she says.
The podcast is also a space that thoughtfully tackles the serious, multi-pronged issues around assimilation that most Caribbean Americans will stumble across while living in the US.
The community doesn’t readily talk about these issues in depth, Reid-Brown states. This perpetuates a misconception among those back home that America is a gold-paved road full of pretty things, while leaving prevailing social and economic barriers intact.
Carry on Friends manages to dissect these struggles in a tone that is still celebratory and overflowing with the distinct sense of the pride that is undeniably ingrained in the Caribbean psyche.
And, there’s a good reason why the podcast emits that sense of pride. It’s something that Reid-Brown feels deeply within her soul – an enormous sense of gratitude for her Jamaican heritage.
“I’m very aware that being a Jamaican woman shapes how I carry myself through this world. There’s a level of confidence.”
“There’s something that it does for me that helps me show up in a way that I can’t even explain… I’m so glad that I was born a Jamaican. I feel so blessed.”
The podcast seeks to ensure that this widely shared sentiment is nourished, blossoms and grows, rather than being trampled by under-representation in media and other challenges.
One of Reid-Brown’s other projects is the Caribbean Podcast Directory. “There are other Caribbean content creators doing what I’m doing or even better, but we can’t find them,” Reid-Brown explains. “The directory is about amplification and showing the diversity of Caribbean podcast creators.”
Meanwhile, her consultancy and production agency, Breadfruit Media, helps Caribbean people set up their own podcasts, whether they’re based in the Caribbean or US.
“I figured out how to do this thing… God blessed me with that opportunity. So, if He blessed me, I know that I should turn around and help others.”
The Carry On Friends podcast was launched in 2015, and quickly grew to become a featured show on Apple Podcasts, where it has the distinction of being the only show that specifically targets the Caribbean American audience.