Meet the Indo Caribbean Influencer Breaking the Mould

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In an age the place algorithms dictate viewership, Nancy Jay makes use of her love of dance to propel herself onto TikTok’s “for you” pages. Jay is an Indo Guyanese, Bronx native who started dancing on the age of three. As an influencer and content material creator, she amassed a social media following of greater than 500,000. Versed in lots of types of dancing together with Caribbean, Bollywood, city and Latin, Jay might be noticed in soca music movies reminiscent of Linky First’s “Rock and Are available in” and “Jeune Femme,” Adrian Dutchin’s “Roll” and by soca king Machel Montano’s “Mami Lo Tiene.”

nancy jay
Picture courtesy of Nancy Jay

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Many content material creators are typecast into the area of interest however Jay has defied this norm and proclaims she is greater than only a dancer.

“I dance, journey, put up way of life and wonder content material. I’m an Indo Caribbean girl who enjoys being myself and selling my tradition. I like exhibiting viewers it’s okay to be who they’re and embrace what they appear to be, regardless of what they see on social media. I didn’t plan on being a TikToker. As I began posting movies, the love and help I obtained from viewers was superb. I’ve by no means skilled something like that earlier than on Instagram, the place I began my content material journey,” Jay stated.

In dialog with Jay, the next solutions have been condensed for concision and readability. 

Why is it necessary so that you can create content material associated to your Indo Caribbean roots?

Rising up, I by no means felt represented as an Indo Caribbean on tv, in films, social media or wherever else. My purpose as a content material creator is to advertise the Indo Caribbean tradition by means of my content material and be the illustration the Indo Caribbean group wants.

Are there unstated guidelines about being a content material creator or an Indo Caribbean girl on the platform?

Being an Indo Caribbean girl on TikTok might be difficult if you end up looking for your identification and don’t really feel represented. 

Jay explains her frustration with the shortage of Caribbean illustration and acknowledgment from platforms, in addition to her targets as a content material creator on this video.

@iamnancyjay Anybody else really feel this fashion? Or perceive what I’m saying? R E P R E S E N T A T I O N ?? original sound – iamnancyjay

Do you ever expertise a block, just like author’s block, relating to creating content material? How do you overcome that?

I’ve but to expertise a block. Nonetheless, I do have days the place I need to take a break and simply loosen up as a substitute of filming. As a content material creator, it is very important take breaks and schedule days to simply loosen up as a result of being a full-time content material creator is a 24/7 enterprise. It may be draining and it’s possible you’ll lose your sense of actuality when you could have the mindset that every little thing is content material. I get pleasure from taking a day or half a day to cook dinner, watch TV or buy groceries with my accomplice with out the concern of filming any of it.

How has your social media presence modified your every day life?

When I’m in public, supporters method me to precise their love for my content material and typically ask for a selfie. After I discover individuals observing me in public now, it’s almost definitely as a result of they acknowledge me from social media and never as a result of I look humorous.

In Might of 2021, I used my platform to achieve out to manufacturers and ask for his or her help in a mission I named ‘Nancy Jay Offers Again.’ I put collectively care packages, utilizing merchandise donated by manufacturers, and drove across the Bronx sharing them with individuals experiencing homelessness or these in want. Seeing the happiness on their faces upon receiving these baggage was priceless. Moreover, I unfold some additional pleasure by means of dance. I keep in mind one woman telling me she’d by no means been to a membership or get together so I informed her I’ve introduced the get together to her and we danced to her favourite style of music proper there on the road.

Jay plans on persevering with this mission as her social media presence has grown. 

How has your loved ones reacted to your social presence?

My household has all the time been supportive of my abilities and the trail I’ve chosen. My first public dance efficiency was on the age of 12. I carried out a fusion of Bollywood and chutney music at center college occasions. After I acquired to highschool, I participated in our expertise present to a fusion of Bollywood, chutney, soca and prime 40. I gained the expertise present three or 4 occasions. I additionally carried out for fundraisers organized by mandirs in Queens, the Bronx, weddings, candy sixteens and different social occasions. 

My household all the time got here out to help me. They love seeing my content material and all the time encourage me to movie and create. My mother specifically tells everybody about my TikTok movies.

Whereas enrolled at John Jay Faculty, Jay based the primary West Indian scholar group referred to as “West Indies Massive.” She captained the dance group, taught dance courses and gained the expertise present a number of occasions whereas pursuing her Bachelor of Science diploma in felony justice with a minor in legislation and police research.

Any recommendation for creators who might not have the help of household?

Don’t let this discourage you. If content material creation is one thing you really need to do, keep constant and finally your loved ones will help you for doing what you’re keen on. Social media remains to be new to some and the thought of it being somebody’s profession or enterprise is new as nicely. I say be affected person. Additionally, discuss to them about your social media targets, as maybe they don’t perceive the total image.

What’s your dream partnership and why?

My dream partnership would contain performing. I’ve all the time wished to be an actress, ideally a Bollywood actress as a result of I do know I might kill these dance numbers (haha!). Additionally, I might like to accomplice with Sandals Resorts and produce that Caribbean taste they need to be selling.

Jay has collaborated with main manufacturers like Samsung Cellular, Norwegian Cruise Line, AC Resorts, Disney Music Group, and Dunkin which is paramount for the Indo Caribbean group.

“I’m the primary Indo Caribbean girl to work with Norwegian Cruise Line as a content material creator. Cruise journey is a big a part of my content material journey. I like cruising and creating distinctive experiences and content material. Whereas cruising, I linked with the crew whereas most individuals usually don’t. I deal with everybody with respect,” Jay stated 

@iamnancyjay It’s not a cruise until I dance with the Norwegian Prima crew ??? Drip Too Hard (1er Gaou Mix) – Thejokestation0 • Following

“I began a enjoyable sequence referred to as ‘Cruise Dances with the Crew’ again in August of 2021. There’s a playlist on TikTok with the entire enjoyable dances. Previous to my first video, I had not seen anybody dancing on cruise ships with the crew. I suppose you might say I began that development.”

Nancy intertwined this partnership together with her content material and additional put herself on the map.

One other pivotal partnership for Jay occurred in March 2021 when Dunkin selected her as one in all 10 from a nationwide competitors to characteristic her signature drink on the native menu.

@iamnancyjay I like ordering “The Nancy Jay” @dunkin ?? #dunkin #coffee #icedcoffee #dunkinmenucontest #thenancyjay #BiggerIsBetter #EnvisionGreatness #viral #bx ? original sound – iamnancyjay

How has content material creation modified previously two years?

Throughout the previous two years, my content material and elegance has grown tremendously. My gear checklist has additionally grown tremendously. I’ve been a content material creator full time for a bit over a yr now. I’ve had extra time to give attention to the presentation and modifying of my content material.

What else would you like your viewers to not find out about you or your work?

I keep true to who I’m. Supporters who I’ve met in particular person can attest that I’m the identical, in-person and on-line. I prefer to preserve issues relatable, enjoyable and genuine. I’m working with plenty of huge manufacturers. I attempt to incorporate dance in all my content material to seize my ardour, range and tradition.

I began instructing Caribbean Dance Fitness courses and personal dance classes formally in 2016. Since Covid, I moved every little thing on-line. Not solely have I helped many discover ways to dance however I’ve additionally helped construct their confidence by means of dance and expression.

Lastly, I like touring and inspiring others to reside their greatest life.

Jay is greater than a dancer; she is unapologetically herself. She maximizes alternatives and is constructing a model that highlights her Indo Caribbean roots – a tradition usually not highlighted in mainstream media. 

You possibly can keep up to date on Jay and the group she’s created by following her on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Featured picture courtesy: Nancy Jay

Ashley Ramcharan

Ashley Ramcharan is Indo-Guyanese and the assistant editor for the Indo-Caribbean group right here at Brown Lady Journal. She developed a ardour for social justice and girls’s rights whereas enrolled at Hamilton Faculty, the place she majored in Sociology. She at present works for a advertising and marketing company the place she does media analytics. In her free time, she might be discovered portray, winging her eyeliner or taking part in together with her bunny, Stormy.