Davina Henry, Gleaner Writer
Tessanne Chin's undeniable talent has spawned countless #TeamTessanne events across the world. Not to be outdone, the Chris Gayle-owned Triple Century has been hosting one such party for students of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and others every Monday and Tuesday.
According to Charmaine Henry, lecturer of communication culture and Caribbean society at CARIMAC, the dream of having students participate in the process became a reality two weeks ago.
"I approached a number of my final-year students, including Wavell Hinds, to assist with refreshments and a venue. Within two days, he had confirmed Triple Century. Radcliffe Haynes (Triple Century general manager) jumped on board with no strings attached, offering to give the students wings, pizzas and juice. A very kind Jamaican businessman who wished to remain anonymous also offered to buy Tessanne's iTunes music for the students," Henry told The Gleaner.
The initiative began on December 2 and will run until the grand finale on December 17.
"This experience has been quite exciting for these students, many of whom are not from Jamaica. Some of the students are experiencing the high-tech ultra-mod outfitting at Triple Century for the first time."
Upon entry with their identification cards, the students were welcomed by Triple Century's staff and were fêted under the watchful eye of Haynes. The students were also given complimentary food and beverages.
It was sheer pandemonium when Tessanne took the stage. There was a loud roar in support of their favourite 'bread and butta' artiste. Even tourists could be seen cheering for Tessanne.
Amid the never-ending activities of tweeting, messaging and Facebook uploads of photos and highlights, many of the students were also surprised with gifts of iTunes gift cards and albums emailed to them by sponsors as a means of engaging their participation in the voting process immediately after the show.
"Despite the many criticisms this country receives, I firmly believe that there is still a rich spirit of generosity and kindness that prevails among Jamaicans. There's no doubt that we love Tessanne, but it truly warms my heart to see thousands of ordinary Jamaicans - born here and a part of the Jamaican diaspora - who genuinely want to vote ... want to support ... just want to help their fellow Jamaican do well. Tessanne's popularity has shown that if we should fully embrace the concept of development as an endogenous process (for the people and by the people), we'd be surprised to see a greater spread of the wealth to include the middle and lower class," Henry added.