James Haynes was born in Jamaica, West Indies and immigrated to the USA in the 1970’s after completing High School at the renowned Kingston College. He attended City College of New York and earned a B.Sc. Degree and received his master’s degree from Adelphi University in N.Y.
James worked for the YMCA of Greater New York- Harlem branch as a Senior Program Director for 20 years and manage a pilot special project funded by the Federal Government, Division of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to serve a homeless single- adult population who resided at the Harlem YMCA residence with the goal of ensuring their successful reintegration into the community. Under his leadership along with a dedicated and talented staff, the Program flourished and was deemed a model for over 20 years, helping people to get back on their feet.
Since 2012, James is the Founder and President/ CEO of Jah Jerry, Inc., a not for profit 501 (C)(3) charitable organization named in memory of his father, the late Jerome Haynes, O.D. affectionately known as “Jah Jerry” in the music world. James’s father played a pivotal and significant role towards the development of Jamaican music and helped create the country’s first indigenous music, “Ska” which evolved into Reggae in 1967. Jah Jerry was a legendary guitarist and a songwriter who could read and write music. He played guitar on the first song recorded by Bob Marley and the Wailers in 1962 and the original classic, “One Love, One Heart” in 1965. Jah Jerry recorded thousands of songs during his 60- year musical career. He was one of the founding members of the original and great Skatalites band which comprised of an aggregation of pioneer and gifted musicians.
The mission of Jah Jerry, Inc. is to promote education by providing scholarships to students who are music majors and pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The organization also donates new computers and tablets to schools in Jamaica. James organizes fundraising events annually to raise funds to support the goals of the organization. He has a profound passion for giving back and making a difference in the lives of others, especially our young people. James’s father believed that education can open the doors to possibilities and opportunities which could expand the mind beyond unlimited imaginations. The organization was launched with the aim of continuing the legacy of Jah Jerry with a focus on education and youth development which were dear to him. He devoted some of his time teaching aspired young musicians the rudiment of the guitar and the fundamental of reading and writing music.
James is a role model to Countless youth and adults. He credited the strong family values of his parents which made him the man that he has become. James’s father will always be his role model and mentor. He has received several awards from community-based institutions and citations from the local elected congressional, State and City representatives for his leadership and commitment to education and youth development.
Lastly, he recently published his first book, “Jah Jerry: Legacy of An Original Skatalites “, his father memoir, which has received positive reviews and endorsements from Mr. P.J Patterson, former Jamaican Prime Minister as well as other prominent professionals.