Tessanne - Jamaica and its Diaspora celebrate
Outside of Carnival and the Olympics, Caribbean people at home and abroad have rarely celebrated the way Jamaicans did when 28-year-old Tessanne Chin won The Voice US on Tuesday night.
For three months, the country’s citizens have been hosting Twitter parties, linking up with friends and relatives abroad and urging Jamaicans and other Caribbean people in the US to vote for Tessanne as she made her way through the American TV series.
Tessanne had the backing of many of the island’s other best-known names: Shaggy introduced her to the contest, while Usain Bolt made a guest appearance at one of her performances.
Her social media following, under the handle #TeamTessanne, grew week after week.
Tessanne, a reggae fusion songstress who has performed with Jimmy Cliff and Third World and was previously known for tunes such as Hideaway and Messenger, won the highly popular US version of The Voice in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Her final appearance was followed by Jamaicans abroad joining the virtual #TeamTessanne social media parties, mostly on Twitter, while Jamaicans at home had a number of real venues where wide screens showed the competition at hotels, bars and the ever-popular Half-Way Tree Junction in Kingston.
The scenes were reminiscent of the 100m Olympic final, won by Usain Bolt on the eve of Jamaica’s 50th independence anniversary.
To get a sense of Tessanne’s huge following, Caribbean Intelligence© has been tracking the developments on the fifth season of The Voice over the weeks.
They started with the inevitable media spat over rights to screen The Voice, between a national TV station TVJ and a cable company operating in Jamaica.
At the beginning of each week as contestants were voted out, the Twitter following grew, with Jamaicans handing the baton to nationals in the US who could take part in the vote.
By Wednesday morning, #TeamTessanne had been victorious and Tessanne Chin was announced the winner after her rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing.
This tune and her rendition of Let It Be, performed with her coach Adam Levine, had gone to the top of the iTunes charts during the voting period.
Tessanne Chin won not only US$100,000 and a record deal with Universal Records, but the hearts and souls of Jamaican people everywhere.
In her first comments after the win, Tessanne told Jamaica’s CVM TV that she initially had doubts about entering, but had been persuaded by Shaggy.
“Shaggy’s always encouraged me,” she told CVM.
“At the time, I didn’t have anything to lose. I’d reached every goal here… and I wanted to step out internationally,” she said. “I’ll just see what happens.”
She said she was actually at her most nervous performing at home.
“The Jamaican crowd... they know what they want. They’re the toughest crowd,” she said.
As she spoke from the US, the party went on, but Jamaicans were not the only ones celebrating.
Social media support came in from all over the Caribbean, including Trinidadian calypso maestro David Rudder and the entire West Indies cricket team.
Caribbean Intelligence© has been rounding up some of the sentiments on social media, to give you a sense of the excitement on Twitter in the 24 hours leading up to Tessanne’s victory.
[Editor’s warning: Contains Caribbean humour and inter-island rivalry…..]
Usain Bolt: “all we Jamaicans do is win win win win no matter what…..entire Jamaica celebrates with you.”
Yohan Blake: “Wow we likkle but we tallawah..you did well #TeamTessanne Enjoy.”
David Rudder: “Boom! Permission to mash up the place. Win!”
Kes The Band: "RaaaaAAAAY! Tessanne take them people. Jamaica an Caribbean celebrate, we gyul made us jump up and cry…"
A sample from Twitter fans:
“OMG OMG OMG!!! Pot cover!! Me neighbours mus call police! Tessanne is the Voice!!! Public Holiday tomorrow!!!”
“Wonder if they’ll have a Tessanne Day after the win?”
“Just waiting here on Pilot Simpson Miller to announce a public holiday for Tessanne.”
“Watch how Tessanne from JAMAICA will win the voice but TRINIDAD will get a public holiday and name a plane after her. Just watch.”