Carry on Friends with Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown

by Keley Johnson

Caribbean Heritage Magazine was excited to speak with Ms. Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown, founder of the award winning Carry On Friends Caribbean American Podcast. What makes Carry On Friends special is that they understand the nuances of both cultures and the podcast is where the unique reality of being a Caribbean American is explored and celebrated.

Ms. Reid-Brown; from Montego Bay, Jamaica is also the founder of Breadfruit Media, a podcasting company that provides strategy, show development and production of stories by Caribbean Americans on a variety of topics reflecting the diversity of experiences of the Caribbean’s global diaspora.

CHM: Can you tell us more about your upbringing?

KRB: I moved to Brooklyn in 1993 with my mother and brothers. To leave Jamaica (or any part of the Caribbean) to Brooklyn back then and still today, is not a very hard transition culturally in terms of music, food and language. At the time being a teenager, the hardest transition was the weather, missing my family and friends back home and adjusting to the New York way of life. The hardest thing I remembered was staying with family and the dynamic when the welcome is worn out. It took awhile for me to adjust to the overnight reality of being a latchkey kid compared to living in Jamaica, where someone was always home.

CHM: How do you feel Caribbeans have impacted culture (world wide, in the U.S. or Europe and beyond)?

KRB: There is no question/doubt that the Caribbean has made significant impact on culture worldwide – whether music, food or people. The issue is whether the Caribbean is recognized for their contributions. More importantly conversation of the impact is mostly told by others and not by us – our impact is often seen from one lens.

CHM: Which Caribbeans would you say have inspired you the most?

KRB: My grandparents. So much of who I am today is influenced by them. The way they raised me, encouraged me and just by them being who they are. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but today I’m eternally grateful. They’re all now passed away but it’s their voices inside my head that keeps inspiring me.

CHM: What do you want the world to know about Caribbean people and culture?

KRB: There’s more than what meets the eye in flashy ads about sun, sand and beach. To really appreciate the Caribbean – her people and culture, you have to dig deeper. What they uncover will be a resilient, diverse, creative and unique set of people that have been impacting the world for many years and for more to come.

CHM: What led you to start Carry On Friends and Breadfruit Media? 51

KRB: I was having some career/workplace related challenges and I needed help on how to deal with them. I was getting frustrated because it seemed no one understood me or where I was coming from. So I tried to find resources that would speak to me. It was then I realized that there was very little content geared towards Caribbean Americans like me. I also noticed that I knew different people who were going through similar things but felt alone.

I realized that because no one was sharing their experiences there was no way to know that someone is going through or went through something similar and therefore missing an opportunity to inspire or encourage others. So in 2013 I decided to launch Carry On Friends to spotlight the perspectives, stories and experiences of Caribbean Americans because our point of view and experiences are underrepresented on the web.

CHM: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

KRB: My audience trusts me because I give voice to their experiences and I enjoy having conversations that connect with the audience. When I get tweets, or get tagged in IG stories that an episode of the show is “their life” – I know that I’m doing my job.

CHM: Are there any upcoming events, projects and appearances you would like to showcase?

KRB: I will be a speaker at the inaugural Afros and Audio Festival on a panel called “Connecting the diaspora through podcasting.” I’m particularly excited about some of the projects that I am working on at Breadfruit Media (breadfruitmedia.com). In the audio drama category there’s Parade Podcast, a Jamaican Crime Audio Drama that I’ve been working on in collaboration with Isles + Indies. The show is scheduled for release in Sept. There’s some other amazing projects that will be launching soon so stay tuned to Breadfruit Media and Carry On Friends

CHM: What do you want the world to know about you as a Caribbean person?

KRB: I am proud to be Caribbean American. My heritage and culture is a big part of my identity that makes me show up in this world as the ambitious, multi-talented, hardworking, creative overall multidimensional – wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend…WOMAN – that I am.

CHM: Share some of your greatest [professional] achievements/accomplishments

KRB: I had to think about this one, professional accomplishments big and small are very important but I think the accomplishment that always stands out being able to build a community around the podcast. It’s the emails, texts and social media messages from the audience when an episode really resonates with them that tells me I’m doing a good job. The other I’d say is starting Breadfruit Media especially because it took time to be clear that this is what I want to do – provide strategy and production services.

You can find and follow Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown, Carry On Friends, and Breadfruit Media online:

Websites – carryonfriends.com | breadfruitmedia.com

Twitter & Instagram – @carryonfriends @breadfruitmedia

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