I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad called me to discuss an idea he had for a publication that would serve the Caribbean community. He wanted to create something that would be a platform for community leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, etc. that would allow them to tell their stories. At that time I was employed by a major financial services company as a Senior Project Administrator and about to celebrate my 30th birthday. I was very interested in the idea, not just because there weren’t many publications geared towards Caribbean audiences, but also, I had conceptualized a somewhat similar idea that was intended to be a website for people to find and connect with all things Caribbean no matter where they were in the world. I was still learning quite a bit back then about intellectual property and because I failed to properly protect myself, I had to halt that project. So this idea my dad had, was just a sign of what was meant to be and when he asked me what we should call the publication, I said “why not call it WhereItzAt?”.
WhereItzAt, as an idea, was conceptualized in 2002, but developed and brought to life in 2003. It took a team of us to get this project off the ground. We had no prior publishing experience, but my father had spent years of his life in media, having had a career as a radio and television personality in Jamaica. My mother, in her youth, had worked for the Jamaica Gleaner and had experience managing finances for the other businesses my parents launched together over the years. Annette Gordon joined us as a partner having worked with my dad on a number of earlier ventures and then my dad introduced us all to a very talented young writer, who later became Editor-in-Chief, Adika Butler. Now the real work had to be done. We needed to put together a template to have a clear picture of what this publication would look like. Was it going to be a newspaper? Would it be a glossy magazine? How many pages would it be? Who is going to write all the articles? We need photographers. Wait, who is going to design and print this?
For those who know my father, Dr. Clive Williams, BH(M), you know he is a man who never backs away from a challenge. Where some people see a problem, he sees an opportunity; he is unapologetically solution oriented. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” is a mantra of my dad, so rest assured, we all worked together as a team to accomplish this feat of launching Whereitzat which has become a widely respected Caribbean community magazine, Dr. Clive led us to where we are today, our 20th anniversary.
Over the years, we have featured entertainers such as Burning Spear, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Alison Hinds, Lady Saw, Morgan Heritage, Bunji Garlin, Buju Banton, and the list goes on. We have profiled business leaders like Andrew Morris, who launched the first ever Caribbean marketplace online, where people from all over the world could gain access to Caribbean products via the internet while opening a retail store in Hempstead, Long Island, where consumers could get their traditional homegrown island products. This business, known as Sam’s Caribbean Marketplace, is simultaneously celebrating a major milestone – its 30th anniversary this year.
When I decided to write this story, it was not for self- adulation, but the more I began to write, and the more I thought about where we are, I realized that I would be doing a disservice to our story, by not highlighting the brilliance of Dr. Clive Williams. We all have ideas, dreams, and aspirations, but my father saw this mission as clear as day, and he did everything in his power to ensure that he executed on every level to ensure that everyone could have access to this platform. He did what was necessary to ensure that our stories were told, and when faced with tough financial challenges, he did everything in his power to make sure that WhereItzAt did not fold. Part of his inspiration resulted from an encounter with a friend and fraternal brother of his, who was also a successful business owner; his friend bluntly told him to forget the idea of owning a newspaper or magazine in New York City. His exact words were, “A Black guy from Jamaica cannot succeed at publishing newspapers in the most powerful media market in the world.”
Today, WhereItzAt is marking its 20th year of publishing with a renewed vision to serve You! Whether you are a reader, an advertiser, a business owner, or a practicing professional, we are committed to telling your stories, supporting your mission, and informing your decisions. We are here today because you believe in us. That belief is not without merit, I am sure you recall that We were the first Caribbean American publication to give your Images Full color pages; your Ads looked better, while your facial images were enhanced, that’s Whereitzat! Please continue to support us, and please continue to support our advertisers. Now, as we prepare for another 20 years, we say – Thank You! Thank you for continuing to pick up Whereitzat wherever and whenever you see us. Thank you for taking us to different cities, countries, homes, and offices as you tell others about us. Thank you for being unofficial ambassadors and trusting us with your stories. To our advertisers, we express our heartfelt gratitude for your support. When times got tough, you stayed with us, you believed in us and trusted us. We look forward to continuing to provide quality service to all of you and to creating innovative ways to share what you do with our readers.
‘Cause that’s WhereItzAt!