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Face Xpression makes waves in St Thomas

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2016 | 1:00 AMShanna Monteith
Members of the Face Xpression Group from left: Devard Jackson, Ovando Mason, Winston James and Desmond Thomas.

SEAFORTH, St Thomas:

What if I told you there was a group of young men between 20 and 23 years old who were not idle; actually want something out of life though they have not gone to university or received formal training; and use their talent to make good for themselves? Would you believe me?

Face Xpression of Seaforth, St Thomas, is a group of four young men who first started out as a dance troupe.

The members of the group are Winston James, Desmond Thomas, Ovando Mason and Devard Jackson - each going by an alias with the name Xpression attached to it.

Vice-president of the group, Desmond Thomas, revealed to Rural Xpress that the group had entered Jamaica's dance and talent competitions, but had been unsuccessful in its endeavours.

"We entered 'Digicel Rising Stars' in 2013. We were the only dance group in the competition at that time. We didn't make it that far, so we tried 'Dancing Dynamites' and it still didn't work out the way we wanted it to, so we started making a lot of dance videos and published them on YouTube so the world could see our talent," he said.

Thomas further explained that the group filmed and edited their own videos, and after a while, they became very fascinated with matters concerning the film industry.

"We were the first of young men to create two movies here in St Thomas. They are called Jamaican Thug Life and Slavery Duppy. We always want to push our talents more and more out there in the world, so we try to do stuff here in St Thomas that people don't think to do," he said.

'TALKOUTLOUD'

Face Xpression's pursuits have now taken them to their latest project, a talk show they call Talk Out Loud.

"We link with St Thomas Events (a local photography and video organisation) to make this (the show) possible. St Thomas is way behind time, slow in everything, so we decided we're going to stand up and change all of that. We plan to go out in the streets and let people 'talk out loud' about the things that are on their minds, like the conditions of the parish, and so on," Thomas shared.

The feature Talk Out Loud was very recently formalised. Therefore, only two episodes are available to the public thus far.

The first feature, a visit to the St Thomas Infirmary by the group, St Thomas Event and another two organisations called Ravas Movement and Action Family saw food items and a refrigerator donated to the institution.

The second episode saw the young men going around the town of Morant Bay interviewing various workers and business owners giving them a chance to talk about the services they provide.

According to Thomas, the vision of the group is not only to become Jamaica's greatest production team, but also to be the first production team to open a movie company in Jamaica to highlight and bring international investors to the country so that jobs may be provided for people who have talents and skills, but never got the chance to use them.

With their new feature, Face Xpression hopes to highlight issues being faced in St Thomas and to effect improvement to the so-called forgotten parish.

"We would like to see better roads, better water system and the reopening of the Goodyear Factory. We would also like to see the old Court House be turned into a museum for Paul Bogle. We need more training centres with multiple skill options and the renovation of Reggae Falls to make it a tourist attraction," said Thomas as he shared some of the people's views.

"We're just a group of young men trying to make our lives better," he said.

rural@gleanerjm.com