Mr. Vegas was right, “Hot Gyal Don’t Fight Over Man”. Caribbean women have been raised with a blazing spirit to match the heat of the tropics. We’re hot, and the world is taking notice.
Feminist Anthems from sexually charged and in-control powerhouses like Lady Saw and Patra paved the way for the unapologetic boss-ness and savagery that come from Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. I’m so happy to have this blood under my skin and this soil under my feet. Imagine growing up listening to words like:
“Man a di least of mi problem, so mi let idiot fi have dem
Mi too cute fi mix up and blend blend” -Lady Saw
and one of my style icons, Patra chanted:
“Shuffle deh deck meh a deh queen ina deh pack
Look how meh cute and sexy like that”
The list of bold women who didn’t shy away from their sexuality to relate messages of confidence, self love and power includes Soca phenoms too, like Allison Hinds and Destra. I am yet to hear a soca or Dancehall song from a female artiste crying and begging a man to love her. We just don’t roll that way. I was listening to Tarrus Riley’s “She’s Royal” today too. So empowering to hear a man talk about his woman like that. Our men act foolish most of the times, but deep down they know who they’re dealing with.
“And she’s royal, yeah so royal
And, I want her in my life
I never knew anyone so one-of-a-kind, no
The way she move to her own beat
She has the qualities of a queen, she’s a queen
what a natural beauty”
Recently I met and fell in love with Nailah Blackman. At only 19 years old, to me, Nailah is the Caribbean it-girl of 2017. She mashed up the scene with “Workout”; a song that clings to your brain cells, playing on repeat for innumerable hours. Many felt the song was too big to be outdone, leaving Nailah in one-hit-wonderdome, but then this woman dropped Baila Mami which packed so much vibes, even without Kes wining down low, low, low, lower next to her. Her third single, Badishh featuring Shenseea just debuted, and well- I’m adding her to the list of Caribbean women who know what’s up.
I asked Nailah what Baddish means:
“Baddish is basically the ultimate feeling of loving and celebrating yourself. You feel so good that you know you’re bad, and when you come out to party, you’re on your worst behaviour, but at the same time you got class and you boujee- So you Baddish, you know?”
I love her. She is so vibrant and aware of who she is. Did I mention she is 19?! At 19 I was trying to match my flip flops to my Westport t-shirt. The images in this post come from a shoot I styled with her recently. Watching her move in front the camera is inspiring. She is all woman and she knows it. Off camera, she is a talkative, positive, down-to-earth gem. She kept complimenting me. I was like: Me? Um.. you’re Nailah flicking Blackman. All this while I embarrassingly hummed and sang lyrics from her songs. They are always stuck in my head! Her voice is infectious. It takes a truly confident woman to lift up the women around her. She’s 19 by the way. Just saying.
So If you’re not from here, you need to forward to the tropics and get you gold, no spray tan. I need you to stop running back to your ex, he’s a waste man. (I just had to reference Drake. You know the Bajan bug bit him hard. He knows what I’m talking about). But seriously, even if you don’t come from the West Indies, take the lessons out of our playlists. You, woman, are a queen. Don’t let anyone buss style on you.
Artiste/ Model: Nailah Blackman
Photography and Creative Direction: Melvern Isaac
Styling and Concept: Stephanie Ramlogan
Activewear: Sweat by Jin Forde
Makeup: Face by Blaise
Nails: The Beauty Jane
Special Thanks to the National Racquet Sports Centre, Trinidad
* BTW, this article does not refer to women in Passa Passa or the one girl in the current video from Jamaica who was having sex in the pool party because the DJ prompted her too. We of course have some bad apples , or bad mangoes rather, who don’t know the difference between Power and Desperation, but I’m not talking about them.