It’s 3 am and Emprezz Golding receives a telephone call. It’s her mentee, a young teenage boy she recently took under her wing. He’s in trouble, and doesn’t know who else to call. He doesn’t have a place to stay and needs help. This call isn’t out of the norm for Emprezz. It doesn’t throw her into a tizzy. Instead, she jumps out of bed and heads to her dining-room table to write a plan of action. Because that is what Emprezz Golding does. She sees a problem, and she solves it. Especially for those she considers underrepresented—the youth of Jamaica.
Outpostings sat with Golding at Cafe Africa, her African restaurant in Kingston, to learn more about the locally famous television show she launched five years ago, as well as her other projects. Golding is an advocate for the local youth, a group she believes is in desperate need of help. While issues such as sexual abuse, HIV and homosexuality are openly discussed at home and in schools outside of Jamaica, that is not always the case here on the island. Not yet, at least. These issues are commonly swept under the rug, for both adults and kids. Author Marlon James described Jamaica as a culture of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” For a child or teenager, not having these conversations can lead to problems at home and in society.
Golding identified a gap on television: youth empowerment. So Golding launched a groundbreaking television series Talk Up Yout’ in 2011 on Television Jamaica (TV-J). The reception “was really great from young people,” Golding says, because it was a place where they could share the problems they were facing: sexually transmitted diseases, cutting, suicide, the dangerous effects of at-home skin bleaching (a growing concern in Jamaica).
As host of the show, Golding scoured the island to share stories of hardship, injustices and pain to shatter the silence and offer examples of hope by showing how people overcome such dire situations. The show is now in its fifth season, and Golding is no longer the host. Instead, she gathered a panel of six Jamaican youths ranging in age to discuss the issues that are affecting them most. Think The View, but with a much younger cast. With over 25,000 followers on social media and thousands YouTube views, the message is clear: People are listening.
When Talk Up Yout’ isn’t in production, Golding doesn’t slow down one bit. Instead, she’s busy partnering with UNICEF for Talk Up Yout’ School Tours, mentoring kids and teenagers, or facilitating counseling services through online technology. “We focus on peer-to-peer mentorship,” says Golding. “Using technology to heal was a concept we really championed.” Hoping to reach children at a younger age, Golding recently launched her latest television endeavor—Ackee Walk, a puppet show that teaches children their rights. Golding is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with, and Outpostings is excited to see where Goldings is heading next.
Follow Emprezz Golding as she continues to tackle the important issues facing the youth in Jamaica.