Lessons from Tessanne Chin

There is more that is right about Jamaica than what is wrong about Jamaica. The problem is that what is wrong can be so wrong that it appears to overshadow what is right.

It is not by accident that a nation with 0.038% of the world’s 7 Billion population living on its soil has shown such brilliant glimmers of sheer genius.

  • We gave birth to a Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Louise Bennett;
  • Our average daily temperature is 27 degrees Celsius, yet we had a bobsled (bobsleigh used as well) team debuting in the bobsledding competition in the winter Olympics of 1988. This was done by borrowing sleds from countries which had plenty;
  • Jody-Anne Maxwell at 12 years old in 1998 won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee competition – the first non- American to win;
  • At the 2013 World Championships games in Moscow, Russia, we had four finalists lining up in the male 100 metre race – Usain Bolt, Nesta Carter, Nickel Ashmeade, Kemar Bailey-Cole.
  • For only the third time in history, two athletes from the same country won the IAAF, male and female Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards – Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
  • We are said to have best marijuana which could be made good use of for its medicinal properties; (laugh, add years to your life!)
  • And there are a million more points that could be added to this bullet. The point being we have the best of many things.

Jamaican Bobsled Team

(Picture of Jamaica Bobsled team taken from their website)

Our most recent euphoric moment is with 28 year old Tessanne Chin’s winning of NBC’s The Voice – a competition where voice is the main deciding factor, but Tessanne gave so much more.

Tessanne was all things Jamaican. Product of a father of Chinese descent and a mother of English/African ancestry (as now described by Wikipedia), Tessanne represents ‘out of many, one’ – humble, vulnerable yet confident, kind to the contestants yet a fierce competitor, unpretentious (music is ‘mi bread and butter’ and the gem on night of the 17th December, 2013 – ‘wi have di worst roads in Jamaica;’).

Tessanne Chin on mtviggy-com 2013-12-18 01-16.jpg

(Picture above taken from Wikipedia)

My takeaway from Tessanne’s win – a challenge I wish all to internalize and ponder:

  • Perhaps its time for all of us to evaluate where we are in life. Ask of ourselves are we fulfilling our life’s mission and being the best we can be.
  • Why are we confining ourselves to a tiny space in the vast expanse of the world when may be there is a larger market out there awaiting us.
  • When will we stop being afraid of the unknown and just embrace the challenge and the newness of just walking out and doing something different and probably major.
  • When will we learn to listen to the ever so soft voice of a friend who is nudging us to do something else – that friend for Tessanne – we are told – was Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell.
  • When will we realize that very little is possible without the love and support of family and close friends. (I watched with admiration the love and devotion of a doting husband – young Michael Cuffe Jr to Tessanne’s every move; the support of her parents who though by her admission are separated, they show her no less love than when they were together; the enviable bond between Tessanne and her sister Tami, who though established as a singer has never had a platform so large as Tessanne now has.)
  • When will I just have the confidence to be ME – whatever that ‘me’ is. You would be surprised at how much the world would love you for just that.
  • When in doubt, remind ourselves politicians may be necessary for somethings but unnecessary for most. There is power is the collective and the collective usually begins with one or a few. The social media campaign waged by Deika Morrison, Terri-Karrelle Reid et al caught on in very little time. Mainstream media were forced to log on to #TeamTessanne.
  • Finally sometimes we must submit to the moment. Nothing happens before the moment. The moment cannot be rushed, cajoled or coerced. The moment is just the moment – submitting to it – would be good to learn.

Tessanne comes at a good time. Its Christmas and a new year is right after. She has given us a great platform for introspection. Not all of us will succeed if and when we make the move. But the greatest failure would be in not allowing ourselves to move out of our limiting comfort zones.

One of uncles used to say ‘it is better to kiss and miss than to lose a kiss’. I am now only just understanding what he meant. I hope you do too.


About emilyshields

Attorney-at-Law, Partner -Gifford Thompson & Shields; Broadcast Journalist; Host of RJR's Hotline - www.rjr94fm.com; Gunner Twitter- @emilymshields
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26 Responses to Lessons from Tessanne Chin

  1. petchary says:

    I have just made several of these points in my own blog post – just had to write something! I am glad you mentioned the family. Like my beloved parents before me, I believe in it! Thanks…

  2. Lorna Fairweather says:

    Merry Christmas Ms. Crooks, and may you and family have a good and healthy season!
    I am pleased with so many of the points your raised, do not confine ourselves in tiny spaces, understand who “ME” can be, and recognizing the power of the collective. The few not so good things wrong with Jamaica, can indeed be address, by a broad-minded collectively, thinking outside the box, by forgetting the “norms.” Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Nice Emily… read my blog… terencelindo.tk… peace.. let us work for a better Jamaica.. We want that…

  4. Khavinchi says:

    This has certainly inspired me to be great and not confined myself in tiny box because I am from the inner city. Love the article. From now I will aspire to better in anything I do, to be great, you know why I am Jamaican and greatest is not beyond me, it is embedded in me

  5. Samantha says:

    Absolutely beautifully written. Truth in every single word.

  6. Good summary Emily – I will post for others to see.

  7. Tenny Miller says:

    Great article Emily……thank you……my grand mother would…say….good words and welll pronounced…I will have that with a glas a pure wata….(lol)

  8. sallysue says:

    brilliant piece a writing!! love every word of it.. thank you!!!!!

  9. Clive Mullings says:

    An excellent thought provoking and beautifully written blog. Thank you so much!

  10. Love your article. The final point is especially powerful for me – the importance of understanding that ‘the moment’ comes when it’s time for it to come. Thanks for this post! By the way, love the play on words in the name of your blog 🙂

  11. I am just seeing this from someone else’ post. You have summed it up well. Thank you Emily

  12. Fantastic piece Emily!
    On December 18, we celebrated tech gurus who are doing exactly what you have suggested: not confine themselves to the physical limits of our country, but reach far and wide for opportunities!
    Thanks! Happy holidays.
    #MICJamaica, micjamaica.com, facebook.com/micjamaica

  13. Gail Mills says:

    Such words of wisdom, salient points…tru, tru! As a people, and as Bob Marley sung and I believe Marcus Garvey said, “emancipate ourselves from mental slavery…none but ourselves can free our minds”. Like you said, it all starts with ME/WE. Confidence, go-getter, and knowing how to go get where you going, seeking a mentor (sooooooo important), becoming unstoppable, and garnered with the right and positive attitude! WOW….Ms Crooks, thanks for my morning inspiration! I have shared your article. In fact, I think I am gonna print and frame! Thank YOU! Season’s Best and a Happy and Prosperous 2014 to you and your family and to All!

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