What Makes Jamaicans Rise To the Top?

I had planned to publish another post today. However, after watching my fellow Jamaican sisters race to a blistering, record-breaking 1,2,3 sweep of the 100M finals at the Tokyo Olympics this morning, I felt the need to write a Jamaica appreciation post. The Jamaican national anthem is a prayer. The last line aptly describes how we feel about our country, “Jamaica, land we love.” One thing I can tell you is that we are a patriotic bunch. No matter where we may end up, Jamaicans love Jamaica (“the Rock”). To those of us who live outside of Jamaica, there is no place like home.

We are proud of our country. We love our culture, our food, our music and our track-and-field. Every four years, when the Olympics come around, the excitement is electric. The anticipation is at epic levels and our athletes do not disappoint. For a small island, of less than 3 million people, Jamaica’s achievements on the track have been stellar. We are home to both the fastest man and woman alive!

However, we don’t just excel in athletics, we excel at everything we put our minds to and effort into. I often wonder, what is it about Jamaicans that causes us to rise to the top time and time again? If I were a sociologist, I would study this for sure. We have produced greats in many fields, such as music, other sports, entertainment, business, fashion, politics, civil rights, medicine and many others. 

Jamaican women are among the most beautiful in the world. Our little island of less than 3 million people has produced four Miss Worlds! The most recent winner was crowned in 2019. If you have ever visited Jamaica and been able to drive around the island, you will observe many beautiful young women just walking down the street, many of whom will never even consider entering a beauty contest. Just imagine what would happen if they did.

Our motto is “Out of many, one people” and this is as evident in our features as is it is in our food. Jamaican cuisine is infused with flavours from Africa, India, China, England, Spain and others – derived from our multicultural ancestry. If you have never tried Jamaican food, I encourage you to try it. There are many tasty dishes to choose from and I promise that you will find something you like. It may be a patty, or jerk chicken/pork, oxtail, ackee and saltfish, escovitch fish, plantain tarts, fruit cake or one of many other options.

Performing in front of a Jamaican audience is not for the faint of heart – be prepared or risk being ridiculed. So, Jamaican children learn from an early age that they have to have thick skin in life and mediocrity is not an option. Also, we use humour to cope with our challenges. We may not have all we would like and our journey may not be easy but we keep pushing because that is who we are.

When my daughter read what I was writing she told me, “Reading that makes me proud to have Jamaican blood’”. Being Jamaican means having the blood of people with grit and determination. Jamaicans work hard and don’t quit.  Like all people, we do have challenges, but our national pride propels us to higher heights time and again. 

As we say in Jamaica, “Wi likkle but wi tallawah.” What does that mean? Find some Jamaicans and ask them. Jamaica, land we love!



August 1, 2021 at 7:35 pm

This put a huge smile on my face!!! As Jamaicans, we face each day with grit and determination, which is why we are successful. Success is defined differently by each person, but one thing is true, Jamaicans have heart!! Really enjoy reading your blog Sher

August 3, 2021 at 2:50 am

I absolutely love this. I totally agree with every detail. Big up yuself. Nuff love and respect.🇯🇲👍🏽👍🏽

August 8, 2021 at 5:16 pm

I fell in love with Jamaica when I visited over 22 years ago. I always said it could be my second home. I cannot wait to return. This beautiful piece has captured the essence of Jamaicans. Thank you for sharing.

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