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 comparable to Linky First’s “Rock and Are available” 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 life-style and wonder content material. I’m an Indo Caribbean lady who enjoys being myself and selling my tradition. I like exhibiting viewers it’s okay to be who they’re and embrace what they seem like, regardless of what they see on social media. I didn’t plan on being a TikToker. As I began posting movies, the love and assist I acquired from viewers was wonderful. 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 vital 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 motion pictures, social media or anyplace else. My purpose as a content material creator is to advertise the Indo Caribbean tradition via my content material and be the illustration the Indo Caribbean neighborhood wants.

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

Being an Indo Caribbean lady on TikTok might be difficult if you find yourself looking for your id and don’t really feel represented. 

Jay explains her frustration with the dearth 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, in the case of 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 chill out as an alternative of filming. As a content material creator, it is very important take breaks and schedule days to only chill out as a result of being a full-time content material creator is a 24/7 enterprise. It may be draining and you might lose your sense of actuality when you might have the mindset that the whole lot 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 each day life?

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

In Could of 2021, I used my platform to achieve out to manufacturers and ask for his or her assist in a mission I named ‘Nancy Jay Provides 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 via dance. I keep in mind one woman telling me she’d by no means been to a membership or social gathering so I advised her I’ve introduced the social gathering 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 at all times 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 faculty occasions. After I bought 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 at all times got here out to assist me. They love seeing my content material and at all times 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 pupil group referred to as “West Indies Massive.” She captained the dance workforce, 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 could not have the assist 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 assist you for doing what you like. Social media remains to be new to some and the thought of it being somebody’s profession or enterprise is new as effectively. I say be affected person. Additionally, speak 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 appearing. I’ve at all times 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 neighborhood.

“I’m the primary Indo Caribbean lady to work with Norwegian Cruise Line as a content material creator. Cruise journey is a large a part of my content material journey. I really 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 except I dance with the Norwegian Prima crew ??? Drip Too Hard (1er Gaou Mix) – Thejokestation0 • Following

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

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

How has content material creation modified up to now two years?

Throughout the previous two years, my content material and magnificence has grown tremendously. My gear listing has additionally grown tremendously. I’ve been a content material creator full time for a little bit over a 12 months 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 individual can attest that I’m the identical, in-person and on-line. I prefer to maintain issues relatable, enjoyable and genuine. I’m working with numerous massive manufacturers. I attempt to incorporate dance in all my content material to seize my ardour, variety and tradition.

I began educating Caribbean Dance Fitness courses and personal dance classes formally in 2016. Since Covid, I moved the whole lot on-line. Not solely have I helped many discover ways to dance however I’ve additionally helped construct their confidence via dance and expression.

Lastly, I really like touring and inspiring others to dwell 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’ll be able to keep up to date on Jay and the neighborhood 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 workforce right here at Brown Woman Journal. She developed a ardour for social justice and ladies’s rights whereas enrolled at Hamilton Faculty, the place she majored in Sociology. She at the moment works for a advertising 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.