Keiran King, Gleaner Columnist

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Tessanne Chin can sing. Not like your sister-in-law in the church choir. This girl can grab a note and raise your ancestors with it. After years of hard work – hustling restaurants, hotels, corporate soirees, soca fetes, Jazz & Blues – she deserved a break.

Thirteen weeks on American network television qualified big time. Her life will never be the same. She now has a bona fide recording contract with Universal Music Group and a guaranteed crack at the biggest media market in the world. That’s awesome-sauce (I think that means ‘really good’). We should all be so fortunate.

But this isn’t about Tessanne. This is about us. The rest of us. The 2.8 million of us who aren’t her, who sat glued to our screens every Monday night for months, who generated a never-ending stream of Facebook and Twitter posts like so many hyperactive schoolgirls, who bought T-shirts emblazoned with empty slogans, who plastered results in our workplaces, who harassed our relatives abroad to vote, who all in all behaved as if this privileged 28-year-old entertainer was the persecuted civil-rights leader on whose shoulders the very future of the country depended.


None of it mattered. It’s actually hard to think of anything more insipid than the results of a reality television show. Your breakfast has a bigger impact on your life. Your last phone call. Your underwear. There are more than 320 reality shows on American television alone. Makeover shows. Rescue shows. Dating shows. Lifestyle shows. Talent shows. Celebrity shows filled with the expired quasi-celebrities of other reality shows. An endless parade of contestants, eliminations, testimonials, pancake makeup and choreographed tears.

Remember Javier Colon? Jermaine Paul? Cassadee Pope? Danielle Bradbery? Neither does anyone else. Those were the other four American winners of The Voice, the three-year-old show invented by Dutch media tycoon Johannes Hendrikus Hubert de Mol, Jr. His other contributions to humanity include Big Brother, Fear Factor and Deal or No Deal, whose combined revenues have made him one of the richest men in the world, briefly cracking the Forbes 500 list. We’ll return to Mr de Mol.

Many Jamaicans think their borderline obsession was a vaguely noble form of ‘support’ for the songstress. As if our slack-jawed viewing habit somehow transported good vibes across an ocean and gave her the strength to overcome otherwise-insurmountable psychological hardships. News flash: Tessanne Chin spends most of her time thinking about herself, and what’s left over on her friends and family. Just like you, just like me. These weren’t military expeditions; they were music auditions. Stacked against her parents and her husband, your ‘support’ amounted to diddly-squat.


The Jamaican writer, Colin Channer,giddy in the online pages of the Wall Street Journal, alternately suggests: “Tessanne is more than her talent. She represents … the sense that we’ve always been good … but have often had to accept second or third position, because that’s just the way of the world.” Mr Channer, who lives in Massachusetts and collects a salary from Brandeis University, has a point. If anything, he’s being charitable. International track meets aside, we’re not used to medalling at all.

We’re used to crumbling infrastructure and rampant crime, to heat and heartache and hurricanes. We’re used to being 83rd in transparency, behind Mongolia, and 145th in literacy, behind Micronesia, and 188th in economic growth, behind Montenegro. We are used, in short, to being irrelevant. Our sights are so low that one woman moving from modest to outright success is cause for mad celebration.

And that, clearer than anything else, is the sad revelation of Tessanne Chin’s fame. That, louder than anything else, is the embarrassing message we broadcast to the world with our irrational exuberance, punctuated by the prime minister’s congratulations.

Mr Channer and Ms Chin, and indeed Mr de Mol, he of the US$2.2 billion net worth, did not become extraordinary by watching television. They did not resign themselves to vicariously reliving the achievements of others, or projecting fawning solidarity on to strangers. They dreamed big, and worked hard, and deep down inside absolutely refused to be ordinary, to be like the rest of us. If we are ever to become great, individually and as a nation, we must stop ‘supporting’ them, and start lifting ourselves.

Keiran King is a playwright and actor.

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0 thoughts on “MI NUH GET YUH

  1. Everybody riding on Tessanne’s coattails. The writer never get any shine about his plays or his writing , but is trying to get some fame by bashing Tessanne and fellow Jamaicans.

    1. He’s not bashing her, he’s bashing all her supporters. The people who basically was rejoicing her win. He’s saying we don’t have shit but we supporting someone who have the drive and get hers and we celebrating as if we are the ones in her shoes etc,, we showing her all the support as if she’s the president, we idolizing her very existence while she don’t give a shit if we exist. Somewhat true most of us just as talented but we sit on it while supporting her

      1. mi nuh understand ur angle…if him nah bash her why does it matter what she has? him/ she cudda mek di same point without referring to tessanne

        1. I been saying this since this voice started .. dem girl ya born rich enuh … and i never voted not one time not cuz she jamaican please.. people too frighten I agree with the person who wrote this it’s not hating tessanne dont business with none ah d ppl dem weh ah gwan .. she done sign the contract illuminati next. ILLUMINATI IS REAL … nah look pon none a dem artist yah u coulda be mi sister.

          1. So tell me now cause maybe me slow does the fact that she is rich makes her less human n therefore shouldn’t recieve the support of her nation or because she has not taken the medal she won n melt down in millions of pieces n pass out to her many well wishes means she doesn’t care about them?
            Mi fraid a unnu eno cause this mean say everybody whey better off than unnu will not get unnu support cause unnu no have nothing fi get outta it that is nothing materialistic r money like since it seems that a di fact say she have more money than unnu a di problem, that mean say fi unnu bad mind a no KETCH UNNU KETCH IT UNNU BLOODCLAAAT BAWN WID IT
            Jesam piece man kmft

          2. So…. when one sign a contract they are embedded into the Illuminati? If all of her supporter were rich would they be frighten because of their economic comparison?

          3. @10.30am. I don’t know about you and this warp minder author of this piece of s..t article, but I can say for myself and I think that I can speak for most Patriotic Jamaican, that whenever Any Jamaican is trying to achieve or has achieved anything that is positive, we support them 100%. If yuh nuh know anything bout weh history, know this, weh nuh ramp feh open weh mout ann show the world how we feel bout anything that a affect weh, wedda it good or bad, weh aggo broadcast our feelings. a just suh it guh. dats why weh ded have summoch uprising during the colonization period, weh nevva want to be nuh baddi b….cl.. slave. The World had to look on us and realize that, dem yah set a people yah nuh have nuh abidindg city, and respect the fact seh we different.
            Yuh think as Jamaican weh get weh knowings just suh? a earn weh earn that B….Clart (smile), weh earn it because weh vocal widdout any apology.
            Weh nuh badmind and grudgeful affa prople achievements, so therefore even if wee nah duh good ina particular area, if one a feh weh Jamaican a duh well, weh glad and will support them to the max, cause inna feh weh tinking, a represent dem a represent we and feh weh little island Jamaica that we Love so much. get it?
            Rate up yuh self TessAnn, weh well proud a yuh, this is anneda validation dat Jamaica is a place where her people diverse nuh R…c…. and nutten inna fe we mind nuh to large feh we embrace if we so want. Remember, you are talking about a daughter of Jamaica, and true seh is Jamaica’s land we love, weh teck offence.

        2. :shakehand2 We have one artist whey him/she cudda reference to just about now…we have de fan club yah so in intervals…lolol kmt

        1. Me birth paper register a JAMAICA so me a one a de 2.8 and a fan of Tessane and her sister long before the voice.

          De author jealous dem nu have a reality show fi play-writes so de 2.8 can do the same fi him/her as well? bout ‘privileged’ the girl work fi har things a dat him fi know.

        1. all this patriotic talk and long paragraph and i still dont care & agree with the author … my opinion im entitled to that shit some ppl need to get a grip!!! RESPECT PEOPLE thats why we blog no one is the same … I JUST DONT CARE ABOUT TESSANNE AND EVERY OTHER MEDIA PUPPET … like seriously

  2. :bingung. Irrelevant? Jamaica is a small Island but far from irrelevant to hear the name alone captivates people from all around the world. To me Tessane was a good and popular artist she had record contracts before Xfactor so what are you saying? Your article sound like gibberish trash! Jamaica has it’s problems with crime and no jobs what was so terrible about the people coming together having something other than their problems to think about and look forward to Everyweek,feeling proud and having Hope
    What was so embarassing about that sir?

  3. Listen I’m pissed at this shit cause he could have used other means of examples to encourage his readers to seek success why not come from the angle of “if Tessanne is able to do good we all as a nation can be motivated n progress” ? But pmrm ur so right is a knowing a him a look cause all else has failed already kmdt

  4. To the writer, yuh soun bad mind an envious!!!

    We Jamaicans (ah doe know bout you), but We Jamaicans regardless of our social or economic back ground, uptown or downtown, battyman or lesbian when it come to supporting our own especially internationally in anything whether sports, music, or any form of competition, even if de smaddy ah politician outside ah Jamaica and him Jamaican roots come from way dung de line, the Jamaican spirit in ALL Jamaicans will be brought out not only in the Jamaicans on ground but throughout the world, all when dem ah hide de fack sey dem ah Jamaican mek Usain Bolt set anedda record an si if dem nuh jump fi joy an shout loud ah big BOMBOCLAAT!!

    While it is true that there are many problems facing our country as you have mentioned, you must also remember that the human brain calls for among other things ENTERTAINMENT, Yes along with food and sex the brains calls for joyous activities to stimulate it and energize the body, It does not want us in distress! and yes it is true that many people have won these singing competitions an we nuh her gun fire bout dem again, but non of those people were JAMAICANS, and it is very hard to FORGET A JAMAICAN or even to dismiss us….I am very proud of Tess Ann, and I pray she will excel in her art, and I for one know that regardless of her beautiful talent, the high vibration of the Jamaican people who cheered and prayed for her, the energy which was sent out into the universe for this girl helped her win, she had and still have the support of her own people and we still ah back har so she gwine mek it very far!!!!!….

    1. Thank u well said…..and she showed her appreciation,a attention and fame,,,if we never support her who would?same thing with bolt,lol is bcuz d voice is not a ja show n she won.i stop reading at d end if the 2nd paragraph,,,tessane is a beauty inside out,,,her efforts n victory had us unity n gather as one even just to watch n cheer…

  5. Tessane put in the work, we were just cheerleaders at the end of the day you do the same and see if we don’t cheer for you too. We don’t hold grudges we just proud to be JAMAICANS.

  6. Smfh this the reason we as people can’t reach anywhere with OPINIONATED ASSHOLES AS THIS AUTHOR. For one Obama would not have been in office if not from the VOTES(support of people other than his wife , family and few friends). Martin L King would not have been such a great impact on our future if not from the support of our people, and so on. If it was another American won we wouldn’t be reading this shit but it’s a Jamaican. What I think about the article and the author ( my miggle finger).

  7. yes met, mi a ask di same ting

    why diss idiot a mek a mountain of a mole hole?

    so true gunshot a bark a mi ears, mi cyaah find food feed miself, a bush mi live an a dutty wata mi drink, mi not suppose to see mi fellow country man or woman a do sumting positive and support dem?

    diss writer sound like a fool, cuz him a highlight issues, everybody dun know bout already.

    how dissidiot fi seh jamaica is irrelevant? unless him live inna di high hills of st mary an no ave no t.v.
    jamaica get more shine dan nuff big big country, ask anybod fi name a caribbean island an si if jamaica nuh one a di fuss name dem call.

    brite eeh….till u fool

  8. ” Our sights are so low that one woman moving from modest to outright success is cause for mad celebration.”

    Keiran is a bitter, jealous, envious, person. Tessanne had a dream and she went after it. The Jamaican masses at home and aboard supported her because she was on an international stage, and like any other country big or small we wanted her to win. What did the Jamaican people do wrong? As a Jamaican he should know how we act when one of our own is on a world stage, whether its singing, dancing, tract and field. When did Jamaica become “irrelevant”? With all of Jamaica’s problems, people around the world know about Jamaica. Keiran, Why are other Islanders mistaken for Jamaicans? Because a lot of people do not know of any other Islands, or can name one at the spur of the moment, so it’s always “jamaica” Folks at home don’t have much to celebrate, so when one is out there representing the country they have something to stimulate the brain, take them away from the day to day worry about whats tomorrow may bring.

    “who all in all behaved as if this privileged 28-year-old entertainer was the persecuted civil-rights leader on whose shoulders the very future of the country depended.”

    It is obvious this man is jealous. Why blame Tessanne for her privileged upbringing? Her parents pave a way for her, so it is not her fault. You,Sr. speak as if being “privileged” is a crime to humanity.As for the “crumbling infrastructure and rampant crime” please take some time out your busy play write schedule, and write a letter to the Minister of Security and other Government officials, about the decline of Jamaican as a whole. You are beyond red eye. You are the green eyed monster.

    1. Honeybee mi love it yes same way so it go why attack Tessanne she’s not even in a position to evoke changes in the areas he pinpointed e.g crime, crumbling infrastructure.

  9. This author sounds very bitter and his bitterness is very loud and diverted in the wrong direction. If we caan cheer fi we own, then what??. Di time him tek a bash one specific individual him use him talent to evoke some kind a positive change, dam brite, bitta and dutty mind, he’s angering me yow!!!!!

  10. everytime dis puxxole comment pon sum topic weh concern jamaica mi get cross an feel like cuss har mad raaws juss like how ppl lite up Quena wen dem ready (Quena nutten gainst yuh juss a mek a reference) one breath yuh seh yuh undastan di writah n em BASHING YES EM BASHING now yuh talk bout miggle fingah…wat is really your bumboclawt angle?? caw yuh naw mek sense a raawsclath yuh cum enn like di writah emself but ere wah JAMAICA A GUH MAD UNNUH BADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD A WI SEH PROGRESS N UPLIFTMENT TO DI MAXX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WI CARE ZERO! :travel


    1. If the ‘message’ was that good we wouldn’t have to go ‘deep’. I read it 2xs to get the jest of it…it still read like a sour grape article.

  12. Put downs on Tessanne are not necessary at all.

    But, Tessanne aside, I thought the point the writer was trying to make (maybe not in the best way) was about those Jamaicans, who take pride in and boast ONLY about what others have – Yes I’m Jamaican – think of those people who show off constantly about what their family members, friends and sometimes, just their acquaintances may have.

    Notice, I say THOSE Jamaicans (who the cap fit will wear it – I’d it don’t apply to you it shouldn’t hot up your head) as there are many of us, who will praise and commend when we see anybody, especially our own, doing well, which epitomises what most Jamaicans are about.

    However, please be honest there is a difference, which now appears to be becoming a fine line, between patriotism, encouraging others and taking pride in the success of one if our own (fellow country person, friend or family) and those people who sit and do nothing with their lives have no ambition, but who watch, boast about and bathe in the smallest to the grandest of things that others have gained.

    I agree that the foregoing is by no means the fault of Tessanne, but maybe this it was her situation that highlighted the issue to the writer – idk I am just saying it could be.

  13. Why him never address this letter to Portia, Bruce, PJ, and the long line of dog shits that wrecked and continue to wreck our beautiful nation? I am pretty sure is not Tessane make Jamaica “poor”. And since him so interested in the current situation of Jamaica why him nuh tell Portia seh the country too poor if her a buy SUV for her cabinet and ah fly so regularly. Duppy know who fi frighten…. Big up yourself Tessanne b/c of you nuff people I know begin to realize sehh Jamaica is racially diverse sehh is not just white and black deh here. And big up your parents for your privileged upbringing… Not every Jamaican can afford it but a just so it goes

  14. crab inna barrel mentality as always. Badmind will always be a problem. Whether she is poor or rich she is JAMAICAN and won an AMERICAN show in AMERICA. That alone deserves accolades. Tessanne is beyond talented. I was a supporter before the voice during the voice and will be after the voice.

    Dem same ppl idolize miley cirus and other people weh nuh care bout Jamaica.

    Point blank we dont like to see our own doing better than us.


    1. Agreed bwoi d writer sound hurt,,she can sing n not only Jamaicans supported her,other countries’. So rich poor or dif race gonna cheer her on she is talented n is a vocalist,writer looking attention,we need fi ignore some a dem attention seekers deh enuh,bolt won too,n we cheered him on,it makes us feel proud as an islander to have one of our own at d top,,,not everybody were born to sing or run,smaddy affi sell d bag juice n clean d streets,,mi read 2 paragraph n stop,I am educated n still study n a line rubbish that,can’t see the writer’s thesis statement lol

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