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Not Just a Ghetto-Parade Gardens

Not Just a Ghetto-Parade Gardens


Knock, knock says your purpose

Parade Gardens Diamond in the Rough
Asha Mchail, director of photography, is videoing Shadow Kid
Photo by: Tyrone Simms

The first week of January 2008, I kept on seeing the scriptures Isaiah 45:1-3 seemingly everywhere.  I knew God was trying to tell me something.  A friend called me and I got a final confirmation when she said she was praying for me and God gave her Isaiah 45:1-3 for me.  I laughed and told her that He had already given it to me.  I must admit that I didn’t really understand it until I started doing missionary work in Parade Gardens about four years later.

Verse three really stood out, “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord,” (NIV).   A few months after doing ministry in Parade Gardens, this verse came alive to me.  It wasn’t speaking about material things.  The treasures were the people who surrounded me, and the riches were their talents.

Found by the Parade Gardens Treasure

Parade Gardens Diamond in the Rough
Asha Mchail, director of photography, shoots Tion Wright, Dawit Jeffrey, and Raado on the beach at Kingston Harbour
Photo by: Tyrone Simms

Frustration set in a couple years later, and I wondered out loud if my work had any purpose.  I remained unconvinced, even though the ladies who I was speaking to tried to persuade me that it was important.   Suddenly, right at that corner in Parade Gardens where I stood with the ladies, a little girl came up and asked me if I was having class the following Saturday.  She was looking forward it.  God had divinely intervened as I doubted my mission with the words of that little girl called “Treasure.”  I knew then that I had to show up for every treasure in Parade Gardens, as each is a diamond in the rough.

The next year as I spoke to a friend, I shared my heart with her.  I wanted to use my skills in media to help the residents of Parade Gardens expose their talents.  As I spoke of what I wanted to do and accomplish, the words themselves seemed as if they were from God.  The idea for the documentary series, Parade Gardens: Diamond in the Rough, was born.   The aim of this production is to change the negative mindsets about inner-city communities, such as Parade Gardens, and give the residents a vehicle to showcase their talents.

Showing our Diamond in the Rough

Parade Gardens Diamond in the Rough
Nicky Carara giving directions to Marley-B during the shoot
Photo by: Tyrone Simms

Just in time for Jamaica’s 55th Independence Day at 5:55 am on August 5th, the music video for the theme song, Not Just a Ghetto, is launched on GoodNewsJamaica.com . It features gifted artistes from throughout Parade Gardens, including Bretta Life, Tion Wright, Minister Dawit Jeffrey, TaMarley, Marley-B, Raado, Countryman, Damion “The Theologian” Hylton, and Shadow Kid.   These artistes bring their own distinct style to this song, serving the listeners a smorgasbord of flavours, which is sure to delight any musicophile.

Not Just a Ghetto tells stories of the people who live in the inner-city.   Those who are trying to make a difference, and those who are sending a cry for love, peace, and unity.  There are many who are misunderstood and are judged by where they are from instead of who they really are.  Yet, it is a song of hope, in spite of all the struggles.

One thing is for sure, Not Just a Ghetto, proves there are treasures to be brought to light and riches to be unearthed in Jamaica’s inner-city communities.

This Independence, let us remember that Jamaica’s treasures are our people, and our riches lie within each Jamaican.

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