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Michael Abrahams | Concern for 'Mackerel'

Published:Monday | August 5, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Ladasha Francis, or 'Mackerel', has become a social media sensation. One of her Instagram pages (she has several) has 161,000 followers. She has been interviewed in newspapers and on high-profile television and radio programmes and is now a household name.

The 19-year-old is famous. What is her claim to fame? It is, quite simply, “tekking people man”. In other words, having relationships with men who are in established relationships with other women. In one of her interviews she stated, “People man caa stop tek because at the end of the day, mi enjoy people man. Mi nuh have no responsibilities when you tek people man. Mi nah wash, cook or clean, mi just collect”.

Her videos and interviews are watched by many for entertainment. They are shared and commented on with zeal, as her followers eagerly await her next proclamations. I love to be entertained. I have an outrageous and irreverent sense of humour and find jokes in almost everything, and Ladasha says she wants to be an entertainer, specifically, a comedian. But whenever I see this young lady, a feeling of sadness overcomes me, as what I see is a child in pain.

Her story is a lesson in how to deeply scar a child. She grew up mainly with her mother, who she claimed did not show her love. In another interview, she recalled some scorching remarks from her mother. She said. “I remember one time when mi a little pickney, I said to her, 'Mommy, yu know I always want to be a lawyer' and mi ask her if when mi reach 18 she woulda support mi. She seh to mi, by the time mi reach 18, if mi nuh poor, mi a whore. If yu is my mother and yu look pon me and tell me that, weh you expect?”

The emotional void in her life led her to seek and accept love, or what she perceived to be love, from men, leading to her first sexual encounter at 12 years old with a grown man, who later impregnated her by the time she was 13. She was raped by this man but insists that even though she was 12 years old when they began a sexual relationship, she was a willing participant. She claims that after being put out of her home repeatedly by her mother, she began living with older men at the age of 15 in order to survive and avoid being homeless.In a now famous interview with Winford Williams on the CVM television programme “On Stage” she said, “Mi did jus want love, me nah tell nobody no lie. Mi did jus want love and me did a get it. Me never have a mother who hug me and tell me when me get up every day she love me an dem something deh”, before running off the set crying.

Ladasha is now in the spotlight and is getting lots of attention, but my question is: Who is looking out for her well-being? I am very concerned. The world is a cruel place. We are often entertained by the antics of those who are hurting and dysfunctional. We laugh at them as they merely try to navigate their way through life and find the peace of mind that has often evaded them since childhood. And then we discard them as we jump on the bandwagon of the next big thing.

Fame does not last forever. For many who achieve it, it is fleeting. Ladasha is seeking the love and attention she never got in her youth. She has bared her soul to the world and is vulnerable. A fall from this level of popularity and fame is inevitable, and the fall can be devastating and painful for persons who depend on the spotlight for the affirmation that has been lacking in their lives.

I do not know this young lady, but I would like to ask a favour of those of you who do. Please reach out to her and look out for her. Please show her genuine love.I am not talking about “Mackerel”, the social media sensation. I am talking about Ladasha, the girl who is hurting. Please guide her to get counselling.At the very least, she is a survivor of childhood emotional abuse and rape, events which are not to be taken lightly, which place her at risk of severe psychological distress.

One more thing. When any of you who know her next see her, please give her two hugs: one from yourself, and the other from me.

- Michael Abrahams is a gynaecologist and obstetrician, comedian and poet. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and michabe_1999@hotmail.com, or tweet @mikeyabrahams.