Happy International Women’s Day! The Jamaican Museum and Cultural Center (Atlanta) celebrates the incredible contributions and achievements of women around the world, including those in the Jamaican diaspora.
Women from Jamaica and their descendants have made significant contributions to various fields, including politics, sports, music, and literature. Their resilience and determination have broken down barriers and paved the way for future generations. We highlight some remarkable women of the Jamaican diaspora whose stories inspire and empower us all.
Click the link below to read about the featured Jamaicans in the Diaspora:
Kris Kelly is the son of Atlanta Jamaicans George Kelly and Myrna Campbell-Kelly. His work as a 3D character artist is being noticed by the Gaming and Next-Gen Creativity industry. He was recently appointed as an Artist Ambassador for INTEL Corporation the world’s largest multinational computer chip manufacturer.
Kris grew up as a gamer and adored Star Wars and Final Fantasy. He still plays with friends on his PC and console. Star Wars-, Marvel-, and DC-inspired sculptures adorn the shelves and work surfaces of his home. Not surprisingly, those gaming roots run deep and continue to influence his career.
His website bills him as a Character Artist – Specializing in Creature and Character Modeling, Texture Painting, Look Development and 3D Modeling. He is poised to play a part in the augmented/virtual realities and metaverse frontiers.
Kris has appeared in commercials in Intel’s ‘Game & Create ‘ series, showing off their new 11TH Gen processors. These commercials show off his workflow as a 3D Character Artist, his ability to work anywhere, and the seamless transition between Creating and Gaming.
His main tool for work is the powerful Razer Blade 15, sporting the Intel Core i9-11900H processor paired with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics. The system’s eight cores and 16 threads, running at up to 4.9GHz, provided fast, responsive rendering times, and support for PCIe 4.0 SSD storage removed any bottlenecks in editing and transferring large graphical assets. The system’s 15.6-inch HDR OLED touch display, with 100 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, was also crucial for ensuring color accuracy in his design work.
With his painting and modeling skills he has demonstrated he can do photo-real humans, not just monsters and aliens and cute little robots. This has not gone unnoticed in the visual effects and digital sculpting worlds and as a result he is getting a steady stream of work.
Kris always knew he wanted to craft the stunning digital figures found throughout movies, shows, and games. However, he no connections or inside track and so he relied on common wisdom: go to school, stand out, be a star.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he moved to Los Angeles in 2007, fresh from the Savannah College of Art and Design, certain he would find success in Hollywood digital effects. Instead, he ran into the Great Recession and unrelenting rejection.
Undaunted he remained focused. He toiled to build his skills with Zbrush, a digital sculpting tool while also taking on whatever side gigs he could find. Like so many other freelancers, he lived paycheck to paycheck, often staying only a few dollars ahead of zero. Fortunately, persistence paid off. His skills gradually improved. Studios started to recognize him as a talented modeler. After a couple of years, those double-digit bank balances were finally behind him.
Kris is proud of his Jamaican heritage and even has the Jamaican coat of arms tattooed on his arm.
From the early 2000s to 2016, Denise Noe was a well-known figure in metro Atlanta’s Caribbean community.
Although she is not Caribbean, she worked extensively for Caribbean-oriented publications, first as a writer for The Caribbean Express and later as a writer and the Community Editor of The Caribbean Star.
Noe wrote reviews of Caribbean restaurants, profiles of accomplished individuals of Caribbean background, and articles about other matters of special interest to Caribbeans. She sometimes wrote about the Caribbean itself, including a cover article on Haiti. As a Caribbean Star reporter, she visited The Bahamas as well as Trinidad and Tobago.
Unbeknownst to most with whom she worked, Noe suffers severe psychiatric disabilities. She has been diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder, impulse control disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Her handicaps meant that, when The Caribbean Star folded, she was unable to secure other employment despite a conscientious job search. She went to Georgia Vocational Rehabilitative Services (GVRS) for help in getting a job. Noe took many tests and participated in “work evaluation” programs. Under the guidance of GVRS professionals, she applied for work at many places and went on job interviews.
She was unemployed and being evicted when her father allowed her to move into his home in Bolivar, Missouri where she now resides. She has lived in Bolivar for slightly over three years and has had several books published. In fact, two different books from different publishers came out within a month of each other: Wishbone Behind the Scenes, a book about the children’s TV show Wishbone that Bear Manor Media published, and I Spy, You Spy, They Spy, a collection of articles about true espionage cases that Black Lyon Publishing published.
Most books Noe has written are either about the entertainment industry or about true crime. Her first book, The Complete Married… with Children Book: TV’s Dysfunctional Family Phenomenon, was published while she was still in metro Atlanta. Other entertainment oriented books by Denise Noe are Teletubbies Behind the Scenes and Maury: The Story of An American Popular Culture Institution.
Denise Noe also wrote Christmas Gifts from the Chanukah Crowd: The Extraordinary Contributions of American Jews. Denise Noe is not Jewish but when she learned that anti-Semites accused Jews of making war on Christmas, she was inspired to write this book about what Jews have done to enrich this beautiful holiday.
True crime is an area on which Noe often writes. Black Lyon Publishing is bringing out a series of four collections of her true crime articles, three of which have been published. One is the aforementioned I Spy, You Spy, They Spy and the other two are The Bloodied and the Broken and Justice Gone Haywire. The fourth and last book in the series will be entitled They Didn’t Mean To Do It, a collection of articles about accidents with an alleged or proven criminal aspect.
Noe believes some of her best writing is found in The Bloodied and the Broken. “The first story is about the torturing to death of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens,” Noe states. “It is the saddest case I’ve written about and also the most emotionally powerful and meaningful.” The last story in the collection tells the story of a 6-year-old boy who was burned over most of his body by his own father. “This was especially sad because a parent’s job is to protect and David Rothenberg’s father attacked David in a way that left his disfigured for life,” Noe observes.
Some of the stories in Justice Gone Haywire are of political and social importance, Noe points out. “I cover the infamous case of the Scottsboro Boys in that book,” she continues. “Prejudice is often a factor in distorting justice and the Scottsboro Boys case is remembered for the way racism against Americans of African ancestry led to those young men being convicted of rapes that never occurred. Those youths grew up in prison because of racist stereotypes and the way those stereotypes warped justice.” That book also includes an article about the lynching of Leo Frank, an event that led to the revival of the Ku Klux Klan.
Cases covered in the I Spy, You Spy, They Spy include the legendary Mata Hari, World War II spy boss Vera Atkins, 1950s accused spy and convicted perjurer Alger Hiss, Christopher “The Falcon” Boyce, and Jonathan Pollard. Noe believes readers may find some surprises in the book. “Mata Hari is almost synonymous with spying in the public imagination but she really wasn’t much of a spy at all,” Noe comments.
A new Noe book that should be published soon is a biography of actress Marie Windsor who was sometimes called “the Queen of the Bs.” Entitled A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing: The Life of Marie Windsor, it gets its cheeky title from the way this actress lived a life of kindness and high ethical standards even as she played femme fatales, outlaws, and other nefarious characters.
As a true crime writer, Noe has corresponded with many prominent criminals, among them Charles Manson, Columbus Stocking Strangler Carlton Michael Gary, British Moors Murderer Ian Brady, Eric “The Centennial Park Bomber” Rudolph, and Pam “To Die For” Smart. She put together a book about her correspondences that included reproductions of letters by the inmates. However, she could not find a publisher for it so she self-published it as an ebook entitled Voices from the Inside: Letters from Famous Prisoners that can be found on amazon.
“I am still hopeful that a publishing house will bring out a hard copy version of Voices from the Inside,” Noe relates.
The Atlanta Jamaican Association (AJA) in collaboration with AJ Cultural and Educational Fund (AJCEF), will hold its annual Independence Gala and Scholarship Awards at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel on Saturday, August 13, 2022.
The evening’s keynote speaker will be Lisa Hanna, MP, and Shadow Minister, Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Live entertainment will be provided by the famous Fab Five Band alongside DJ Mikey Sparkle. The event will also feature emcees, Sharon Lawson, Emmy Award winning Anchor of Good Day Atlanta, and Dr. Chris Parker.
Hanna, in addition to being MP for Southeast St. Ann is the Shadow Minister, Foreign Affairs and Trade. She is also a mother, Wife, Politician, Senior Member of Parliament, Advocate, Entrepreneur, Columnist, Communications Specialist and Crisis Manager.
In 1993 Hanna won the Miss World beauty contest representing Jamaica. She was the third Jamaican to claim the coveted crown.
This year the AJA will award fifteen scholarships to college bound students from metro Atlanta and Jamaica.
Please enjoy the audio version of Old Time Christmas in Woodside:
Click below to listen:
Old Time Christmas in Woodside is one of 15 short stories in the book, The Hero of Fern Gully and Other Jamaican Short Stories by Basil Kong and Glen Laman.
Please consider giving this book as a present. It will evoke pleasant memories of a bygone era as you enjoy this treasure trove of stories, celebrating ordinary happenings around ordinary people with an extraordinary legacy.
The Hero of Fern Gully is available as audiobook, hardcover, paperback and Kindle on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart.com and wherever eBooks are sold.
Basil Waine Kong’s book, Waine’s World is an eclectic compilation of his weekly articles published in the Upson Beacon that will make you laugh, make you wonder, and make you think.
While the author divulges life-changing advice and food-for-thought on a wide range of topics, he also extols the virtues of his adopted City of Thomaston in Georgia. Underpinning his writings are his core beliefs in faith, fairness, family, and friends. He draws from his life and his travels to tap into universal truths that are essential to our very existence as human beings and the survival of our planet.
The author’s inspirational outlook is best summed up by the quote from Abraham Lincoln: We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. In this book, you will learn to dwell on the ‘roses’ of your life and count your blessings, not your woes.
Dr. Kong is author/co-author of more than 50 publications including several books, most notably “The Hero of Fern Gully and Other Jamaican Short Stories” which he co-authored with Glen Laman in 2021, and “Bad Boy from Jamaica.”
Dr. Kong is a former Atlanta Jamaican and the retired CEO of the Association of Black Cardiologists. In 2019, he received the Spirit of the Heart Legacy Award from the Association honoring his 25 years of service.
He now lives with his wife Stephanie who is the CEO of Zoe Pediatrics in Thomaston, GA.
Are you experiencing so much stress in your life that it is so overwhelming that you feel your life is over? Or are you trying desperately to avoid that condition? Well, look no further!
This book takes a comprehensive approach to stress management and how modifying your lifestyle and taking practical steps can significantly reduce the level of stress you are experiencing. More than forty different approaches to stress reduction management and prevention are covered in this book, giving you an in-depth framework applicable to most lives and circumstances.
For example, it helps people struggling with self-destructive behavior, stressful job, having difficulty intentionally making decisions, struggling with toxic relationships, and many other challenging situation
You will also be introduced to a “new relationship mental disorder called Abstract Kidnapping Disorder – A.K.D.”
This book also provides you with many opportunities to simplify the management of stress by using the acronym S.T.R.E.S.S. and incorporating any of the forty-plus actions included. In addition, you are provided with practical ideas, solutions, or options that, when applied, are likely to result in the reduction or prevention of your stress. This book is intended to significantly improve people’s lives at any level of society who may be experiencing stress in their personal, business, or professional lives, allowing them to get back to enjoying their lives.
Fundraising is underway for the Jamaican Museum and Cultural Center to be located in Atlanta, Georgia. These funds are needed for the acquisition and maintenance of the physical museum and to accommodate cultural programs, meeting space, social events, and other activities by Jamaicans and the wider community in the diaspora.
The museum and cultural center will be located in metro Atlanta, a city with a rich civil rights legacy; the principal trade and transportation center for the Southeastern United States; a mecca for immigrants from all over the Caribbean and African diaspora; a major higher educational center; and home to more than 25 Fortune 500 and 1000 corporations and more than 5 of the top 20 national nonprofit organizations.
The Jamaican Museum and Cultural Center, Inc. (JMCC) a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, was established in Atlanta, GA in 2019, by a group of Jamaicans with a goal of documenting and showcasing the outsized international contributions and influence of Jamaican culture and history.
The volunteer board of directors is led by Dr. Apollone Reid. Other board members are Raymond Brooks, Dr. D. Terrence Foster, Dr. Clover Hall, Christine Marzouca, Dr. David Panton, Winnie Starke, Basil Watson, O.D, and Carol Williams.
The board is exploring opportunities for partnerships, collaborations, funding, in-kind and other support with philanthropic organizations and individuals; academic institutions; Jamaican organizations in metro Atlanta and the diaspora, the Jamaican government, cultural institutions and corporations; the City of Atlanta; and other entities.