How Dutty Berry did it
The quarterly report from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, released in July, showed a decrease in the total number of unemployed persons in the country.
According to the report, when compared to the same period last year, the total number of unemployed persons decreased by 17.2 per cent in April 2014. The unemployment rate for April 2014 was 13.6 per cent, compared to 16.3 per cent in April 2013.
However, even with those promising statistics, the same report also compared the number of persons in the labour force in April 2014 and April 2013. The result showed a total decrease of 0.9 per cent. Many persons have opted out of the formal labour force to create their own employment opportunities.
One such person is Internet sensation- turned-actor Russhaine Berry. Popularly known as Dutty Berry, the comedian has fast become a household name islandwide. What started out as an idle past-time for the talented youth is blossoming into a fruitful career. With passion exuding from his every word, Berry recalled how he started the blog that would eventually catapult him into local prominence.
"I started out with one camera and a laptop, and that laptop I won in an essay competition because I desperately wanted one and I couldn't afford it," he said.
Today, his one-man show is supported by a team of technicians.
Though the story may seem as if things changed for Berry overnight, the road to success was difficult and the entertainer maintained that his success has come through his determination to do something for himself.
"I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in language and communication from the University of the West Indies, but after I left school, I was unemployed for a long period of time."
He also admitted entertaining the thought of migrating, growing frustrated with unemployment.
"I was thinking about seeking opportunities overseas when I got a call from Live Stush who saw my blogs and wanted to work with me."
However, Berry soon realised that balancing a day job and keeping up with his blogging was more difficult than he thought. But a hard decision seemed easy as Berry left his job to focus on what he truly loved.
As fate would have it, an opportunity for Jamaican songbird Tessanne Chin marked the turning point in Berry's life. His videos, which featured weekly reviews of Chin's performance on The Voice, were in high demand, and by the season ended, Berry's life changed forever.
The recognition gained from his blogs created more opportunities than he imagined, and now Berry is enjoying the financial fruits of his labour. He has received several endorsements from Cran Wata and Pepsi. He has also made appearances on numerous shows and most recently made his acting debut as part of the cast of Oliver Mair's recently concluded Laff it Off.
"At least now mi can say, 'Mommy, see di likkle light bill money deh,' and it feel good."
He had this advice for the youth of Jamaica: "There are opportunities out there. If there is something that you love, get up and do it, because you never know what may come of it, so take the chance."