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 kinds of dancing together with Caribbean, Bollywood, city and Latin, Jay could be noticed in soca music movies reminiscent of 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, publish life-style and sweetness content material. I’m an Indo Caribbean lady who enjoys being myself and selling my tradition. I like displaying 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 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 mentioned.

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

Why is it essential 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 objective as a content material creator is to advertise the Indo Caribbean tradition by way of my content material and be the illustration the Indo Caribbean neighborhood wants.

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

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

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

@iamnancyjay Anybody else really feel this manner? 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, much like author’s block, in relation to creating content material? How do you overcome that?

I’ve but to expertise a block. Nonetheless, I do have days the place I wish to take a break and simply loosen up as an alternative of filming. As a content material creator, you will need to 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 chances are you’ll lose your sense of actuality when you’ve the mindset that every part is content material. I get pleasure from taking a day or half a day to cook dinner, watch TV or buy groceries with my associate with out the fear of filming any of it.

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

When I’m in public, supporters have approached me to precise their love for my content material and typically ask for a selfie. After I discover folks watching 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 succeed in 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 to folks experiencing homelessness or these in want. Seeing the happiness on their faces upon receiving these baggage was priceless. Moreover, I unfold some further pleasure by way of dance. I bear in mind one girl telling me she’d by no means been to a membership or occasion so I advised her I’ve introduced the occasion 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 obtained to highschool, I participated in our expertise present to a fusion of bollywood, chutney, soca and high 40. I gained the expertise present three or 4 instances. 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 known as “West Indies Massive.” She captained the dance staff, taught dance courses and gained the expertise present a number of instances whereas pursuing her Bachelor of Science diploma in prison 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 actually wish to do, keep constant and finally your loved ones will help you for doing what you like. Social media remains to be new to some and the concept of it being somebody’s profession or enterprise can be new as nicely. I say be affected person. Additionally, speak to them about your social media objectives, as maybe they don’t perceive the complete image.

What’s your dream partnership and why?

My dream partnership would contain appearing. I’ve all the time wished to be an actress, ideally a Bollywood actress as a result of I do know I’d kill these dance numbers, haha. Additionally, I’d like to associate with Sandals Resorts and convey that Caribbean taste they need to be selling.

Jay has collaborated with main manufacturers like Samsung Cell, Norwegian Cruise Line, AC Inns, 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 big a part of my content material journey. I like cruising and creating distinctive experiences and content material. Whereas cruising, I related with the crew whereas most individuals sometimes don’t. I deal with everybody with respect,” Jay mentioned.

@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 collection known 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 assume you would 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 considered one of 10 from a nationwide competitors to characteristic her signature drink on her 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?

Inside the previous two years, my content material and elegance has grown tremendously. My gear listing has additionally grown tremendously. I’ve been a content material creator full time for slightly over a yr now. I’ve had extra time to deal with the presentation and enhancing 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 wish to hold issues relatable, enjoyable and genuine. I’m working with numerous huge manufacturers. I attempt to incorporate dance in all my content material to seize my ardour, variety and tradition. 

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

Lastly, I like touring and inspiring others to stay 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 typically not highlighted in mainstream media. 

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

Featured picture courtesy of Nancy Jay.

Ashley Ramcharan

Ashley Ramcharan is Indo-Guyanese and the assistant editor for the Indo-Caribbean staff 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 presently works for a advertising company the place she does media analytics. In her free time, she could be discovered portray, winging her eyeliner or enjoying together with her bunny, Stormy.