The name Phylecia Renae is so stylistically and artistically resonant, that even if you were unfamiliar with it, immediately as you hear it, a lasting impression is made on your psyche. That abstract impression is nothing compared to meeting Phylecia in person, her crackling excitement and ebullience is only tempered by her charm and composure as a communications professional and storyteller. She is a self -contained fire that warms the hearts of all those in her world, inspiring, encouraging and elevating Caribbean achievers.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Phylecia and her brother visited the United States to do their back to school shopping; instead, they went back to school in the USA which is now home.
Phylecia’s love of the theatre and performing arts brought her to New York, where she discovered that good roles for black women were few and far between.
Undaunted and armed with the skill of editing, she was determined to combine her love for her Caribbean culture, acting and theatre with, meeting and talking to people on her own terms.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, she went on to pursue a degree in education while she continued to explore the different ways that she could turn her passion into a reality. During her first year as a special education teacher, Renae felt a void that could only be filled by this passion. So, informed with inspiration from the life of the legendary Louise Bennett – Coverley, (Miss Lou), Phylecia purchased camera equipment, and began reaching out to local Caribbean owned businesses. Before long, “Di Riddim Sweet” was born.
Whereitzat magazine asked Ms. Renae about her mission:
Phylecia: In all honesty, I wanted there to be one place that I could look to find all Caribbean individuals making a difference and giving back to their communities. We didn’t have that place or platform so I decided to create it.
Whereitzat: What living person inspired your actions?
Phylecia: I am greatly inspired by Andrew Clarke of Braata Productions. Andrew refused to let the Jamaican culture/heritage die and decided to do something about it, regardless of how tasking it was. If you asked him, he would probably beg to differ, but I think that because he forged ahead, doing what he is passionate about, I feel that Andrew is incredibly successful. Seeing someone in my circle following their passion in that way has inspired me to do more and be more, even if people aren’t supporting. You do it because you love it.
Whereitzat: What’s your end game/your objective?
Phylecia: My objective is to present a united caribbean. The individual islands have so much pride within their people that sometimes, this pride can be segregating. I want to show that we are all the same, even in our differences. What Jamaicans call Blue Draws, Bajans call Conkies, you know? If we start moving and creating collectively, there’s no telling what we’ll be able to achieve as one Caribbean.
Whereitzat is confident in predicting that Phylecia Renae will experience success she never thought possible; her class, style and intelligence are the sabers that will cut through all the deadwood and dense undergrowth that attempt to snag the feet of all those on mission to succeed.
Watch De Riddim Sweet and be entertained by its honesty and authenticity.