Female Entrepreneur Breaks Cultural Barriers in Jamaica

(Photo: Moiika Stanley)

By Lauren Poteat, NNPA Washington Correspondent

Changing the way people view the country of Jamaica and its rich culture, one dancehall queen is breaking cultural barriers with her organization’s first ever international Wan Move Diaspora Experience (WMDE) Conference and festival.

When Moiika Stanley, founder of the Compton, California-based entertainment law firm, “Wan Move,” decided to organize her first international event, scheduled to be held from Nov. 25–Dec. 2, she proclaimed that hosting the trailblazing conference in Kingston, Jamaica, at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, was a no brainer and a direct representation of the island’s dynamic culture.

“Jamaican culture is probably one of the most borrowed cultures in the world,” Stanley said. “When you listen to music, or eat these homestyle meals, or wear these unique fashions, a lot of those origins come from Jamaica.”

“Throughout history, so much has been borrowed or taken from Jamaica and yet, so little has been given back,” Stanley continued. “My goal with this international festival is to bring more awareness to this magical island, to be a positive representation of our Black roots globally and to bring people together on an international level, embracing the power of Jamaican culture and overall Black heritage.”

More than just a dancehall, Stanley says that the eight-day extravaganza will also include interactive workshops, contests, excursions, and special commentary from Jamaican dignitaries, and even some high profile celebrities, including famed professional dancers such as Anthony Burrell (USA), Mestre Calango (Brazil), Miriki (Australia) and even long-time reggae superstar, Beenie Man.

“This event will be a time of cultural knowledge and unity among the Black diaspora and the world,” Stanley said. “It’s an ode to Afro dance and will provide an opportunity to present this dance on a worldwide stage. To date, Wan Move Dance Experience has confirmed representatives from more than 41 countries, that will incite global conversations through the language of dance.”

Collaborating with the Jamaican Board of Tourism, the event is also expected to bring additional awareness and revenue to the often impoverished country, where tourism generates a majority of the island’s income.

Leading the way on the JBT’s initiative, the Hon. Oliva Grange, the Minister of Youth & Culture, is also expected to receive WMDE participants, to the landmass that receives a minimum of 1 million visitors a year.

Hosting dance experiences across the globe to over 70 different countries, including Serbia, China, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka, Stanley states that her passion to re-establish the beauty of Black culture continues to serve as a pivotal drive to continue to expand her business and maybe even one day, run for congress.

“I am excited to bring together a vast array of people that will learn, grow, and experience other cultures together,” Stanley said. “The love of the art of dance speaks to a bigger idea of unity that breaks the boundaries of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation and if I could apply these same principals to politics, someday I might even be able to make a big impact in congress.”

Attendees must purchase a package to attend the Wan Move Dance Experience in Jamaica. To purchase a package and learn more, please visit www.wanmovediaspora.com. For members of the media seeking credentials or media partnerships to cover the event, please email [email protected]

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