What was social culture like in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 1950s and 1960s? How about politics, divorce, education — “social things happening in the community” and a little melee. While some things have not changed, others are much different today with social media being the dominant force of communication. So for those who would love to learn what it was like 60 to 70 years ago, the Dept. of Education’s Division of VI Cultural Education, led by Executive Director Valrica Bryson, and WTJX, led by CEO Tanya-Marie Singh, have created an exciting series to take you down memory lane in what the creators described as a fun, educational, and dramatic combination of short films that delve into Virgin Islands lifestyle when cellphones were not a thing and a home computer was a luxury.
Named “Sarah and Addie”, the short film is based on a book about VI lifestyle in the 1950s and 1960s, and is made up of five, 5-7 minute skits. The episodes are:
- Addie & Sarah Meet The Tourist
- Of Divorce and Other Matters
- Getting Married Is Risky Business
- Muu-Muu’s & Politics
- Travelers Return
There’s a total of 19 skits, which Ms. Bryson said during a press event at UVI’s Great Hall on the St. Croix campus Wednesday, will also be brought to life in film. She said work started in earnest in January, but stressed that the production would not be possible without the partnership of WTJX, highlighting the public broadcast’s CEO, Ms. Singh, as an indelible partner in bringing what was an idea to reality on the big screen.
“This would not have been possible if it was not for the CEO of WTJX; she is amazing,” Ms. Bryson said of Ms. Singh. “I walked into her office and she said, ‘of course we’re gong to do this.’ So we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Tanya-Marie Singh and her crew. They’re awesome.”
Ms. Singh, an aggressive content producer who has expanded WTJX’s footprint beyond TV to live online content in a major way, conveyed her dedication to the pubic broadcast’s mission. “We appreciate anyone or any entity that’s going to help us make our mission succeed. That is bringing history, culture, public affairs and entertainment to Virgin Islanders, and we appreciate someone that comes with a plan and is committed. And that is what Valrica brings,” Ms. Singh said.
She went on to invite committed individuals with ideas to give her a call at 340-718-3339 or 340-690-6696. “Just call us and if you have a commitment we will be committed to you as well,” she said. Ms. Singh also thanked her staff for their dedication.
The film’s lead actresses are Cleone Lynch as Sarah, and Jamilah Moorehead as Addie. Both women spoke of it being an honor to be part of the film as it highlights Virgin Islands culture — something they said needed to be more integrated into local schools.
The film opens to the public on Friday, November 8 at Caribbean Cinemas in both St. Croix and St. Thomas, and will show through Sunday, November 10, according to D.O.E. Director of Communications, Cynthia Graham. She said each showing is 30 minutes long.
More specifically, the showings are: Fri, Nov. 8 between 6:20 p.m. and 8:20 p.m., Sat., Nov. 9 between 3:20 p.m. and 5:20 p.m., and Sun., Nov. 10 between 3:20 p.m. and 5:20 p.m.
There will be live performances of the film on November 15 and 16 at the Frederik Dorsch Center in F’sted at 7 p.m., and on November 21 and 22 at UVI’s Little Theater at 7 p.m. on St. Thomas.
Tickets for the film cost $10.
Executive Director, Dir., Division of VI Cultural Education – VI Department of Education
Tanya Marie Singh
CEO – VI Public Broadcasting System/WTJX
Production Manager – WTJX
Lead Actresses “Sarah” – Cleone Lynch
“Addie” – Jamilah Moorehead
Jahmaris Martha Nesbitt – Complex Class of 2019 – Addie & Sarah Meet the Tourist Liza Perdomo Alvarez – Complex Class of 2019 – Travelers Return
Nya Bryson – St. Mary’s 7th Grade
Melodi DeLa Cruz – St. Mary’s 3rd Grade
Azadi Sage Knight – college student
Ma’at Manuel – Baby
Zuma Nesbitt – Ricardo Richards Elementary School
Ori Cornwall – Sarah & Addie Trailer Stephanie Chalana Brown – Photographer Akimo Lionel – Graphic Designer