An Exploration of LGBTQ Jamaican Identity—and Lots of Food

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08/26/2019

A giant wall of Chinese takeout boxes was the background to an array of smiling, brown, queer faces — their hands darting to and from trays of tropical fruit and perfectly encrusted coconut shrimp. It was J’ouvert, a special nighttime event by Brooklyn’s Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) meant to put the spotlight on “queer visibility in food and culture.” Named after the great street fêtes held across the Caribbean leading up to Carnival, this event was also a celebration. It was a celebration of recognition, of visibility, and of connecting queer communities in the U.S. and Jamaica. Sandwiched between tasty treats was a panel discussion featuring three queer entrepreneurs with Jamaican ties. There was Chantel Chaday Emmanuel, a Jamaican and the founder of Jamsterdam, Tribe876 and Tribe Tours as well as co-founder of Connek; Devonn Francis, a first-generation Jamaican-American artist and the founder of Yardy; and there was Christopher Udemezue, a native New Yorker with a Jamaican mother, as well as a writer, artist, founder of RAGGA and co-founder of Connek. The panel was moderated by food writer and A Hungry Society podcast host, Korsha Wilson.

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