Jamaican singjay D’Angel started the first week of 2022 by taking Spanish Town Mayor Norman Scott to the development site where she’s building a restaurant to provide jobs for youth in the town.
The project is being undertaken by her Angel’s Foundation and coincides with what she calls her “mission and vision for 2022” – to provide jobs for youth in the Old Capital where she was raised.
“The first call I made for 2022 for anything pertaining to the foundation was to Mayor Scott; I called him on Monday, and he met with me today (yesterday), and I was like wow,” D’Angel told The Gleaner. “He’s been there two years with me with the foundation in terms of allowing me to use the park (to issue care packages) and making sure that everything runs smoothly, so he knows how effective I am with my foundation, but he didn’t know I wanted to turn it up a notch… . When I expressed that to him, he never hesitated to meet me, and I’m so elated, trust me.”
The Blessed artiste drove him to the site where young men to be employed at the future establishment awaited.
“I showed him the area, and he told me he will definitely do everything in his powers because he believes in what I’m putting forward as a public figure and someone he admires a lot in terms of my work through my foundation,” she said. “He spoke to the youths that come under my Angel’s Foundation umbrella. They had a meeting, and it came out very positive, so I’m just looking to start the work very soon.”
D’Angel opted for a restaurant after several discussions with the youth and discovering that there are “amazing chefs” in the area.
“We’re going to branch off into other things like farming because we have farmers down there too, and we already have the land and are ready to cultivate, so it’s a number of things.”
While D’Angel said she feels fortunate to be able to give back to her hometown each year, she felt the urge to create job opportunities after engaging young people through her philanthropic work for an elderly man called Mr Pint.
“The youths have so much talent and because of a lack of job opportunities, that spikes crime and violence, in my opinion, because if you don’t have nothing to do, you a go siddung and pree different things… . A lot of them are talented but have no help and no way out, so there’s just one solution in most of these youngsters’ minds. When I go to my community with this whole development, with Mr Pint’s project and the foundation, I’ve been meeting and talking with them, and they are the same ones who helped to build Mr Pint’s house – we a talk bout educated, talented young men so it sparked my attention and it’s something that mi always waan fi do.”
She added, “I also have a 15-year-old son, so it hurts my heart when I see young men turn to crime and violence. When mi reason wid dem and realise how talented they are and that they can contribute positively to society, mi seh this is my next move, and that’s what I told them and 2022 I jumped right into it.”
She hopes her efforts will create a domino effect in other communities.
D’Angel’s 2022 plans also include her lingerie line, which is set to go online before Valentine’s Day, an autobiography and her Exposed EP.
She told The Gleaner that she is striking the balance among her many hats (including full-time mother) thanks to God, responsible team members and online tools.