If you have a Twitter account and haven’t yet come across the name Jay Blessed then it’s probably time to crawl out from the rock under which you live. Christened Jamie Alleyne-Morris, the 27-year-old Trinidadian who now resides in Brooklyn, New York, is the self-proclaimed queen of Caribbean entertainment. She is the CEO and founder of her own online site called Jay Blessed Media which specialises in entertainment and Caribbean news. With almost 20,000 Twitter followers, Jay Blessed has succeeded in getting her name out to the masses, both locally and internationally. She’s now ready to take her career to the next level—hosting BET’s popular music show, 106 & Park. The successful candidates will replace the show’s outgoing hosts Rocsi Diaz and Terrence Jenkins. “I had been waiting for an opportunity like this for a while. Honestly though, I used to think to myself, it would be really awesome to host that show. I know I can do it and the opportunity became present, so we’re going hard!” Can she do it? Jay Blessed is confident that she has what it takes.
“It would be the perfect opportunity for BET to promote black entertainment by having a host who represents another sect of their large demographic, the Caribbean American,” she said. “There is a certain spice, flair, funkiness, sense of style, articulation and wit that most West Indians possess. And those characteristics, which I possess, are needed on BET.”
The ambitious entrepreneur has some stiff competition, though. Checks on the official 106 & Park web site revealed that scores of hopefuls seem to have the same belief. Unfazed, Jay Blessed is pushing forward. She recently posted her audition video on Facebook which has been viewed by hundreds of supporters. She has so far managed to garner nation and region-wide support. “This is almost reminiscent to when Anya first appeared on Project Runway. Now mind you, it’s only the submission stage, but the hype surrounding my entry is crazy,” she stated, enthusiastically. “I was overwhelmed to tears to see people just tweeting in support. From Caribbean media houses, dancehall, soca and reggae artistes, to bona fide Jay Blessed.com fans and newcomers. I have a region backing me and they are serious. They want Jay Blessed to be the next host of 106 & Park!”
In addition to promoting everything Caribbean, Jay Blessed says hosting the programme will also give her the opportunity to shed some positive light on T&T. “With some of the biggest music stars, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Leona Lewis, Melanie Fiona, Bruno Mars and more being from or of Caribbean heritage, it’s time that diversity is reflected on prime time television,” said Jay Blessed. “Having a Caribbean host is nothing new to BET. Back when their programming was the hottest line-up on TV, they once had Caribbean Rhythms with Rachel Stuart, the wife of Paxton Baker, CEO at BET’s Centric. With such an upsurge in negative images, the perpetuation of stereotypes and just poor television quality, I think I can add to being a positive image on TV.” So, how can you vote? Jay Blessed says while there is very limited information about the competition on BET’s Web site, for now, people can vote via tweeting. That means tweet and re-tweet, every day and night, all the time. “My supporters have been constantly tweeting ‘Vote for @Jay Blessed as new host of @106andPark #106thesearch’. For those who do not have Twitter, I encourage them to write to BET, write blogs and stories and get the visibility up, “ she advised.
Jay Blessed has always been determined. With little more than the clothes on her back, at 18, she left her comfort zone at Laventille Road, San Juan, and migrated the US to go it alone and follow her dreams. Today, those goals are becoming reality. Her ultimate goal, she says, is putting her home country on the world map. “For far too long most Americans thought only of Jamaica when any reference to the Caribbean was made. The popularity and success of Nicki (Minaj) has done so much for T&T on a global scale. She ‘reps’ her country to the fullest. Her influence is a force to be reckoned with. The fact that she even came back home to shoot Pound the Alarm is commendable,” she said, referring to Minaj’s recent trip to Trinidad, where she shot her latest music video. “That said video will no doubt be played on BET with other major music videos and will showcase the Caribbean and Trinbagonian culture to the world. “I can pray all night for this but if this is for me, it’s for me. In the meantime, I will do all that to get a Caribbean face on BET’s 106 & Park. “The picture is a lot bigger than what it seems, so stay with me and let’s push our music, culture and people to the level we deserve. Keep tweeting. TeamCaribbean all the way,” she said.