Big up the women! - Johnny Live Productions urges persons to shine a light on females in the entertainment industry
DOROTHY CUNNINGHAM, Deon Silvera, Audrey Reid, Dahlia Harris and the late Elva Ruddock are just four of many women who Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley, the frontman of Johnny Live Productions, continues to ‘big up’.
“It’s not just about celebrating women on the days that are specifically dedicated to them, like International Women’s Day; sometimes we just have to big up the women!” Daley exclaimed in a recent interview with The Gleaner.
“Anybody who knows me, knows that females have always been a bigger part of my circle, and many of them have influenced my career not only as a comedian, but as a man within the industry,” he continued.
Dorothy Cunningham, who played Miss Zella in the long-running television comedy, Lime Tree Lane, was not just a “TV granny”, he said, “Off-screen she was a grandmother and a mother, where she nurtured persons around her.”
Women stand from the level of management to running the business, to being very intimately involved with connecting the dots with the public audience, says the comedian, and while women do face a so-called glass ceiling, there are many excelling within the entertainment industry.
Daley shared: “I was blessed to have powerfully intelligent women before entering as a practitioner. These kindred spirits – like Elva [who] I have had the opportunity to know personally for her to leave a strong impression on me.”
To name all of the women, he said, would do a great injustice, “since there are so many others; but it is great when we can big them up and celebrate them without any specific need to, just because.”
His wife, Sophia, is another strong woman, he said, who continues to keep him in check, and “I can’t not mention her, as well as my mother, Pearlita Daley, and her mother, Doreth Malcolm-Smith, for continuously injecting their energy”.
A project to highlight women in the industry was propelled by the International Women’s Day (celebrated Sunday, March 8) campaign theme, #EachforEqual, through the Johnny Live Productions ‘Comedy Bar’ Instagram page. It was conceptualised by Daley’s wife and Patrice ‘Q Soul’ Pinkney, the company’s communications manager.
“It is a challenge sometimes to get people to honour for the marvellous work they have done, and still do, so any way we can re-inject that same positive energy to the women, be it a social media platform, it finally becomes an effective way to encourage younger women to see there is potential for greatness,” said Q Soul to The Gleaner.
Noting the current state of the world, she expressed that turning to online platforms has made individuals recognise the options available to them.
“We are in a world now where options in the workforce are tremendously lessened by social media, and with more and more things going digital, the creatives must realise we have options and that our talents are our options,” she said.
“It’s not putting on a suit and going to work. I can be a female in the film and theatre industry successfully acting in a podcast, producing the same podcast, and, through these avenues, be a strong woman represented in that industry.”