Every year Bazodee strives to highlight and support the young people of Barbados. We chose the month of November, which is the month that Barbados gained its independence in, to highlight those young people of our beautiful nation who are doing pride to our nation wherever they go.
The wait is over! Here are the 30 most enterprising, unique, driven and inspirational young Barbadians that we have collated into our annual 30 Under 30 list.
Philanthropist. Motivational speaker. Literary advocate. Mentor. Brand Ambassador. Entrepreneur. There are so many titles that Gabrielle Davida Gay holds and many hats that she wears which show she is a force to be reckoned with. It was only fitting that she opened our 30 Under 30 list. The gem in her crown is her literary mentorship project, The Gabrielle Gay Trophy for Excellence in Reading. The project is the only one of its kind in Barbados and runs in all 91 primary schools, all 29 secondary schools and in The Barbados Community College, with regional and global expansion en route. Gabrielle was even recently recognized for her work by The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme where she placed as a runner up. Gabrielle is definitely one to watch as a young rising star with an exceedingly bright future.
Justin ‘Jus Jay’ King
Music producer. Event promoter. Entrepreneur. Disc jockey. Brand Ambassador. Entertainer. Dancer. Easily coasting on to our 30 Under 30 list, Justin Jus Jay King @jusjayking is no stranger to the Barbadian entertainment arena but this young DJ has also had both a regional and global impact. A finalist in the 2018 Red Bull 3Style World DJ Championship, King has proven that he possess and masters the ability of being a world class DJ. King is proud of his passion and strives to make his country proud by flying the Barbadian flag high wherever he goes as he performs at stages across the region and the world. The former soca singer’s work ethic is breathtaking and his creative vision clearly shows that this young talent is far from finished and not afraid to try new things. Definitely one to watch as we expect so much more in the years to come.
Victor White aims to put his name on history’s page by becoming Barbados’ first ever Winter Olympic athlete, which lands him on our 30 Under 30 list. The young freestyle skier is the island’s first freeskier and has already started his journey by becoming the first Bajan to compete in the Slope Style World Cup. He has also represented the island in the Swedish National Championships, making it all the way to the finals where he placed 8th. Even though White did not make it to the 2018 Winter Olympics as he planned, he nevertheless has his sights set on the 2022 Winter Olympics. White aims to honour his father’s memory and do his country proud by bringing home an Olympic Gold medal.
Olivia Baker nee Waithe, also known as Livvi Franc to many Bajans, rose to fame in 2008 as she slinked her way onto screens as the sultry pop singer with songs such as ‘Now I’m That Bitch’ and ‘Automatik’. However, it is her prowess as a songwriter where the young British-Barbadian truly shines and it is why we’ve chosen her for this year’s 30 Under 30 list. Livvi’s talent was recognised from early and she has written for a string of entertainers and singers such as Rihanna, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Ciara, Jordin Sparks, Christina Aguilera, Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez, Shakira, Leona Lewis, DJ Khaled, Jason Derulo, Zendaya and Cheryl Cole. Her track for Rihanna, What Now, was the 6th single from Rihanna's album ‘Unapologetic’ and peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Livvi's exhaustive songwriting credits showcase that this young talent definitely punches above her weight and is an inspiration because of how humble and hardworking she remains.
Meagan Best is a young professional squash phenomenon who has created a name for herself by becoming the top squash player to represent Barbados at an international level and for that reason she has landed on our 30 Under 30 list. Seven years ago, Best first began playing squash competitively and over the years she has left her mark, with many eyeing her for future greatness. For her young age she has amassed a number of titles under her belt, such as being the youngest player to win Senior National and Senior Regional squash titles. Best was also the first Barbadian squash player to qualify for the final round of an international squash championship and the first Caribbean national to win a US Junior Open championship title, back in December 2017 when she won the GU17. With five Caribbean Junior Titles, two Caribbean Senior Titles under her belt and reigning as the Caribbean Senior Ladies and Caribbean Girls Under 17 Champion, Best dominates her field and aims to be the first Olympic squash champion from Barbados. Given her competitive record and all she has achieved, that’s a future we can believe in.
Rico Goddard, known by his stage name as Holla Bak, has truly made a name for himself and has risen from humble beginnings and is poised for international acclaim. For this reason we have placed him on our 2018 30 Under 30 list. The young entertainer has been performing and writing songs since the age of 14. His first big break came early in his life at the age of 15 when he wrote ‘TellMe’ for Machel Montano. It was Holla Bak’s first soca song and secured his interest in the genre, a change from his original focus on dancehall. Holla Bak first appeared on the scene in 2013 but he came into prominence when he was engulfed in controversy in 2017, where his writing skills and progress were disregarded and treated as not worthy of serious consideration on a popular television show Festival Stage. However Holla Bak turned tragedy into triumph and had his talents authenticated by Machel Montano, bringing him on stage during Crop Over 2017 at the 1Love show. Holla Bak then was able to work again with Machel for Crop Over 2018, collaborating on a song which was produced by award winning producer Deputy and he has also collaborated with other big regional acts such as Skinny Fabulous. With such a young start, his impressive writing skills, a reinvigorated engaged fan base and a string of successful hits with tons of radio play, Holla Bak looks set to be the next biggest soca act out of Barbados.
Writer. Radio Hostess. Creative strategist. Producer. Copywriter. Long distance runner. International journalist. Carlie Pipe graces our 30 Under 30 list with a notable set of professions under her belt, even though she sits slightly outside the age range. Pipe is an accomplished track and field runner, notably being the first ever Barbadian to compete in the IAAF World Half Marathon back in 2014, where she placed 85th and also set a new national record. It was also back in 2014 that Pipe accidentally started up a firestorm and triggered a national conversation about race relations in Barbados. Using her debut platform for the BBC World Service’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’, Pipe spoke about how Emancipation Day was sometimes overshadowed by Grand Kadooment and Crop Over festivities. However it was her comments about Blue Box Cart’s racially homogenous makeup of majority white masqueraders, juxtaposed against all the other bands with black masqueraders, which caused started the controversy. Barbados’ race relations are superficially harmonious, where the two worlds exist independently of each other with only slight interaction. Pipe’s commentary was necessary in a world where Barbadians are afraid to speak out about issues due to fear of either social ostracization or political victimisation. It was also necessary because race is a taboo topic on the island that is rarely discussed on a national level. We need more young journalists who are able to report on social issues with plain language, straight statements, devoid of bias or malice.
Shai Hope has been having an incredible year and it is his innate skill, coupled with how he is seemingly poised to become a next Barbadian cricketing great, that has landed him on our 30 Under 30 list. At this year’s Cricket West Indies’ Awards he won Men’s Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year and ODI Cricketer of the Year. Hope initially made his Test debut in May 2015 but for a young cricketer few doubted his abilities on the field. Hope is one of the West Indies’ highest rated young batsmen and his addition to any line up is crucial to puling together a talented team. Commentators have praised his mature nature and calm spirit on the field, pairing natural talent with focus and drive. West Indies coach Stuart Law even believes that Hope has not yet reached his full potential, saying that even though Hope is a dedicated professional he still can grow even more.