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Observer’s Shahein Fitzpatrick talks to two local youths about life growing up in Ovals – and their hopes of a career in entertainment

Photos and story by Shahein Fitzpatrick

Two young men from St John’s say they have high hopes for local youths, despite growing up in what they term the “ghetto”.

Brandon Matthew and Tafari Charles, both 22 and residents of Ovals Village, offered an insight into their lives growing up in the city. 

Both say many youths from urban, and occasionally underprivileged communities, are bursting with potential.

“If some ghetto youths sit down and tell you what they want to do and so, what they want to become and so, and they get a little support to do that, I bet you will see the best come out of them,” Charles said.

“Some people have only one narrative about youths from the ghetto and it shouldn’t be that way,” Matthew concurred. “You have to have a street mind to live in the streets, to live around street people.”

Charles continued, “Some people aren’t financially stable; not everybody has it like that, a man that doesn’t have it would go into somebody’s house and try to find something, just to try to support himself.

“Other means are there for them to survive but their mindset is influenced by the environment they grew up in. 

 “Some of the best little people come out from the ghetto regardless – I am telling you. I want to do music; when I make it in music, I will make opportunities for other artists in the ghetto, other youths and so on,” he vowed.

Matthew said he hopes to become an entrepreneur in the entertainment industry. Both young men are keen to help create job opportunities for those within their communities.

They shared that they are working towards creating an entertainment business, where Matthew will function as the entrepreneur and Charles will function as the artist who will create content and recruit other musicians to join their productions. 

“We are still going through our trials, tribulations, process and struggles,” Matthew explained. “Because of corona, things slow down, people lose their jobs, we can’t really go to the studio and record much because there are no jobs there, no money there to record.”

He said support is a big factor too. “If support was there, things would have already got established, the groundwork would have already been there, we would have already been on our way,” Matthew said.

“We have to make it happen regardless; if you nuh risk anything, you risk everything,” Charles said.

The pair shared some lyrics from one of the songs they created, written by Charles. The words encapsulate their experiences so far – and their hopes for the future.

“Growing up in the streets wasn’t easy, didn’t had no guidance from nobody, heading for my food when I’m hungry, count me lucky, serving got me money.

“Go through a lot of trials and tribulations, too strong, could ah let them put me down, amma climb to the top of the ladder.”

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