Kingsley Cooper, Guest Columnist
Congratulations are in order for our phenomenal new star, Tessanne Chin. In the process of winning 'The Voice', she has shown so much of the best of us to a global audience. Not only has her prodigious talent been on display, but also her easy, down-to-earth nature, charisma and winning personality.
Once again, a Jamaican has demonstrated that our talent is our greatest strength and the one best able to make a difference to our economic circumstances. Like so many before her (Bolt and Marley readily come to mind), Tessanne has stopped the world and forced everyone to take notice. That feat has extraordinary economic value. A feat realised with little financial investment, given that the key components are talent and opportunity.
The extent of Tessanne's contribution is immeasurable. Regardless, it is clearly immense. Now she has the beginnings of a global career, strong enough to support so many more persons than herself. Very important, Jamaica has instantly realised a refreshing reimaging, which 10 years of our tourism budget could not buy.
Most of all, her success provides yet another opportunity for us to use talent, creativity and entertainment as significant contributors to growth in our economy.
While Celine Deon plays Vegas, Tessanne should be playing Negril (one or two months a year) and the world should know about it. We ought to have a resort or performance centre, equal to the best (even if not among the largest) in the world, at which she (and other top international talent) could perform, pulling the kind of visitors who can afford the pleasure of seeing her live. This should be complete with appropriate production and compensation, plus all the spin-offs that would be naturally associated with it.
This is just one way in which Jamaica should capitalise on the potential of its creative industries. It's the kind of investment that needs to be made, regardless of our difficult economic circumstances; in fact, because of the need to change said circumstances.
Jamaica must become a place where the world comes for entertainment, even while our talented stars ply their trade on the international stage, in the process, pulling millions of guests to our shores.
There are a number of Tessanne Chins in Jamaica, many just needing a chance to shine. We have to help provide these opportunities and to create an environment in which our people flourish - both to their individual benefit as well as ours as a people and country.
Once again, congratulations to Tessanne, and also to Shaggy, who, it is reported, helped to facilitate her 'Voice' audition. Otherwise, this wonderful Jamaican triumph might never have occurred.
Kingsley Cooper is chairman of Jamaica's Entertainment Advisory Board and is executive chairman of Pulse Investments Ltd. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.