Some weeks ago I, in passing heard some drama about Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s pride and joy and phenomenon locally and internationally, being the star of Virgin Media’s ‘power of our network’ campaign. I decided to watch this commercial, and as I expected it really fell short in deserving all the hubbabuloo about it, as a matter of the fact…the campaign itself just feels short, I would never have any real interest in Virgin Media after seeing this particular ad. Its just Usain, with I assume some amount of effort at acting (well hopefully), sorta like Shebada’s performances…it was just Usain being Usain, like Shebada can do nothing but Shebada, right place, right time and perhaps if we can be honest…devoid of any true skill, not in any way meant to devalue their contribution…but fact is fact…acting requires coming out of self and playing roles…I certainly didn’t see any acting in this commercial.
So it had me thinking, why would Branson, mad scientist entrepreneur and philanthropist pay Bolt to do this luke warm uninspiring campaign. I wonder if he did something I would do, if I were as wealthy as he is, with the resources that he has…hold a mirror to a homophobic society with their most beloved expression of strength, masculinity, alpha-egotism, and dominance.,..the great Usain Bolt, fastest man on earth and Jamaican! This thought is cracking up. I decided to google and I find out that Richard Branson is indeed very vocal about his support for gay rights. Boycotting Uganda for its Gay Rights bill, openly supporting gay marriage and same love.
If that were the case, then I am even more in love with Dear Sir Branson, you are ingenious! This is the 22nd century way of influencing social change. It would be a case where you have done your research on the complexity and dynamism of influencing any kind of change on Jamaican culture, you know that head-on attacking issues will only lead to head-on collision, like the ones you will meet upon in trying to confront a fussing toddler – resistance…with little or no change and perhaps many unnecessary deaths and victimisation.
You understand that people follow when they have a leader, and you have identified our most glorified local personality who is also internationally influential, and you have charted this larger than life, cocky Jamaican superstar with the task of challenging some socially ingrained concepts that need to move along its curve.
Richard Branson, I dub thee Sir Knight Mek Sense – what a prekeh! Let the chatter continue in the grass roots cuz change is coming baby!