Five Questions With Pamputtae
She says when you see her, you see dancehall. Pamputtae is a cultural force who has routinely defied societal norms and transformed the way people perceive her strength and craft. Three minutes into a conversation with this prolific dancehall diva, you will likely experience a lifetime of emotions.
The little girl who was born Eveana Henry takes you through her childhood, lessons she has learnt as she navigated becoming a mother at the age of 16 – from pain to happiness, sadness, fear and even a little taste of the anger – all that has contributed to her career as the recording artiste people know as Pamputtae. But at 36 years old, the single mother of two feels like she has just scratched the surface.
With multiple hits and unmatched determination, Pamputtae may be one step closer to realising the success she deserves as one of Jamaica’s talented female dancehall entertainers. Last year, international rap icon Nicki Minaj endorsed her 2018 single titled Advertisement in a post on Instagram, dubbing it her favourite track, which garnered Pamputtae more followers. One month into 2022, and she is already creating a stir, as once again Nicki Minaj was caught on camera dancing to another one of her productions – this time with the almost six-year-old Da Wine Ya and also by joining fellow dancehall diva D’Angel in a sexy shoot to promote the Xposed lingerie line. “It’s all about giving support; mi come out clean and model two of the designs because, as I have said before and continue to live by, this is not a competition for me … all ah we is divas – the female version of a hustler – trying to reach our goals,” she told The Gleaner.
Pamputtae is grateful for the support and remains motivated to achieve her goals, and that includes making her new single titled Divas Anthem a global hit. It has been named the new theme song for Toronto-based reality TV production Dancehall Divas. See what else she has in store for her fans in this week’s Five Questions With.
1. Which song, that is not of your catalogue, have you had on repeat since the start of 2022, and why?
That would be Beautiful Day, a gospel track by Jermaine Edwards. It makes me feel a different way about life, more appreciative and makes me want to give thanks for the day ahead before I even start my tasks. It encourages listeners to look on everything around them, whether yuh rich or poor, in good times or bad and be thankful. It starts my praise and worship in the morning and keeps me optimistic.
2. But let’s say some negativity passes your way; for example, someone makes a harsh comment on social media, how do you manage to stay positive?
Yuh know, funny thing last night, me read a comment on Instagram that kinda touch a nerve, but I manage to catch myself back. The way I deal with negativity depends on how I feel at that moment, [so] sometimes, I will answer, but most times, my reaction is to pray it off or pray away the negative vibes.
3. A few days ago, international news headlines were dominated by the sad news that former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst was privately battling depression and had taken her own life. Do you find that as a public figure, people often forget or ignore your human side, especially when posting online? How do you protect your inner self?
That news made me emotional. Honestly, I felt a little depression and thought, look how she nice and is an accomplished woman, but these are the things people see, and they don’t realise the mental struggles behind it all. One time me did go through that, where me hear a voice tell me fi kill meself, but me run weh dat. Every time I talk about it, I get emotional. Celebrity or not, we all face challenges. God knows I have been there; times I have felt down, even just reading the news makes me think and I speak mantras like ‘rain nuh fall pon one man housetop’, ‘today for you, tomorrow for me’, ‘work with what you have, for what you want’ in addition to giving thanks for good and the bad. It help when me voice some song; that’s my outlet. Sometimes me will call Esco Da Shocker, [a] big part of my team and the [producer of] Divas Anthem, and just say make we go record and not necessarily for the public ears but emotional release. Mental health and wellness is of real importance, and even through the pandemic, I wondered how I’d survive, and if I did not have that outlet, probably things woulda reach me. So that’s why me always ah try work when me happy or sad, it nuh matter. God has truly been my stronghold, and his blessings have been real too.
4. Rumours are that your song ‘Divas Anthem’ isn’t the only thing being featured on ‘Dancehall Divas’, but that you will be featured among the divas. Is this true, and how ready are you to become part of the drama?
Yes! The plan is for me to bring my style, that is, my dancehall style of using real slangs – that make dancehall happen – my type ah attitude, which ah nuh naaawwmal (normal) attitude, to the show. I believe I will add a big difference to Dancehall Divas that people want to see cause when you are real and authentic, you will sell off, and me nuh fraid ah nuh drama that may come on the show. Me ready fi anything. Canada still nuh free up but mi not even business if it cold when ah time fi me go, once me ah work me good.
5. You talk about work and being a single mother. When do you fit in time for dating, and do you still believe in finding love and in marriage?
Wah yuh mean, of course, I still believe in love, all falling in love, drop inna love and heal and come back again but dating is hard, and I’m not putting my mind on it. I never wanted to have children for different fathers, but sometimes it is not what you want, and you have to accept the things you cannot change. Definitely, marriage is still in the stars for me. I am more focused on my sons, my work and the next move and nah run-down, no relationship. This is one woman who has gone more than a year without having sex, and some out there can’t live unless them have a man or in a relationship. It helps to find yourself and know yourself so you can love yourself because I still nah love nobody more than myself. So, if a man comes into my life, then fine, but if he wants to leave and take his happiness, I’ll still have mine at the end of it all.