Recently, the lovely Corene Antoinette posted some intriguing video clips at her blog called Jamaica Mi Proud. Corene is all about her island culture, so check her out here:
When I saw her piece about Jamaican musician Wayne Chin, photo above, I knew I had to feature him as a Hip Hapa Homee. Born in Spanish Town, the biracial Chin grew up in Harbour View and moved to New York in 1980. Today, he's a radio host, sound engineer, singer, songwriter and music producer.
Q: What's a nice multiracial Jamaican guy like you doing fielding questions about being Hawai'ian or Puerto Rican?
A: I have been asked that question many times. About 90% of the time, I am mistaken for Hawai'ian and, a few times, Puerto Rican. But my answer--as always--is, "I'm a Jamaican". As all Jamaican people, we don't categorize ourselves as Chinese Jamaican, African Jamaican, Caucasian Jamaican, or Other. We are just plain Jamaican.
Q: Why do so many people not realize the great numbers of Asians living in the Caribbean?
A: Probably because we are just Jamaican or Caribbean, and we never felt the need to be categorized.
Q: How did your family end up in Jamaica?
A: Well, as for my mother's side, we all know how the slaves came to Jamdown (Jamaica), and my father's side was from Chinese people trying to run from persecution back in the days of the Communist regime.
Q: Have you retained any of your father's Chinese culture?
A: Only the food and the lust for life. LOL!
Q: How long have you been involved with music, and what are some of the things you do with it?
A: Well, from the age of self-recognition, you know, I walked and talked and sang. But, as we all know, the world seems to think that music is only for the youth. So nowadays, I only produce a few artists. I also write, engineer and remember the good old days of touring. LOL. However, I am about to reintroduce myself to the world with a new album with my group CHINAFRICA, and also my lover's rock group, Foreign Intrigue. I am the lead singer for both.
Q: What's your day job at the United Nations?
A: I am a sound engineer.
Q: How has having a multicultural background helped you at the U.N. where you're surrounded by so many different ethnicities?
A: I never thought about that. I guess that music and people of inner beauty just take up all my thoughts.
T'anks, mon, for sharing. To learn more about Wayne, check him out at Corene's blog or at his mySpace page:
Personally, I was surprised to discover large populations of both China and India descended people in the Caribbean. But when one stops to consider that those two countries have the most people on the planet, it makes sense. Besides, a lot of Asians came as indentured servants to European colonizers who also brought African slaves to islands previously populated by Indigenous tribes like Arawak and Taino. The West Indies is definitely a melting pot!
Hey, here's a big, fat shout-out to all of you who have joined our Hip Hapa Homeez group and our Watermelon Sushi fan page on Facebook. Both communities are growing daily, and we're excited to keep you updated with the latest info about multiracial folks as well as news about our film. Remember, we still have Hapa*Teez t-shirts for you, too. And, don't forget to follow us on Twitter where we post dialogue from the Watermelon Sushi script.
Until next week, when I'll feature another Hip Hapa Homee, remember that I will always be...
Your Hip Hapa,