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The Virgin Islands Orange Economy is Ripe – First Pick Monea!


If you’re a Virgin Islander with an appreciation for quality music, then you probably already know the name Monéa Richardson – better known simply as “Monéa.” A talented singer, songwriter, and dancer, Monéa is set to headline her own concert, Tropikana, on December 9th 2023. And the sugar to the peas soup? The concert is entirely self-produced and self-promoted.

Swing My Way: A Look Back

Monéa’s rise to success took flight during the days of Top 7@7 when she was just a highschooler with the stage name “Mooxie.” Now, over a decade later and with several years of experience under her belt, Monéa colours the Virgin Islands music scene with hits like “Inna Di World,” “Gypsy,” and “Big Boss,” and collaborations with the likes of Dexta Daps, Pressure, and Rock City’s Timo.

A true fusion of both talent and hard work, Monéa embodies a commitment to her vision, creativity, and artistry. She continues to invest in herself, pushing the boundaries of what many Virgin Islanders even consider to be possible for people from our small community. But what if we have yet to brush the surface of what our artists can do for our community as a whole?

Roll Out: The Power of the Creative Economy

When audiences play their favorite song on repeat or binge watch their top show of the season, the economic contribution of the content they’re consuming is likely the last thing on their minds. But as a community with eyes on the future of our islands, the potential of local creatives is worth the extra consideration.

Not only do creative industries contribute significantly to the world’s economy, but they also have great potential for substantial growth. Often referred to as the “orange economy”,  creative work generates over 2 trillion US dollars in revenue and accounts for a little over 6% of global gross domestic product (GDP). Furthermore, Deloitte estimates that global creative industries could grow 40% and account for 10% of the global GDP by 2030 (do a proper citation here per magazine guidelines if needed) .

As such, many Caribbean nations are now realizing the vast potential within the creative industries and are actively investing in the creative economy. In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the United Nations urged Caribbean nations to utilize the untapped potential of the creative economy to diversify their economies. Since then, Jamaica announced that their creative sector generated approximately US $2 billion in earnings during 2022. In July 2023, St. Kitts and Nevis officially launched their Department of the Creative Economy, dedicated to giving creatives opportunities to develop and market their talents. (do a proper citation here per magazine guidelines if needed) .

To make a long story short, the creative economy is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, generally even growing faster than the wider economy. This indicates there is immense economic value in creative work of all kinds, to include advertising, fashion, film, and of course, music. However, even with the community at large poised to benefit from supporting creators, and local governments worldwide starting to take notice, much responsibility still falls to the creative themself.

Set: The Responsibility of the Creative

The highly competitive nature of the worldwide creative industry requires artists to constantly evolve their talent, expand their creative toolkit, and build their portfolio. However, life in the Virgin Islands comes with its own unique set of challenges, which unavoidably falls to creatives as well. Just by virtue of our small population, local creatives are often faced with limited resources, smaller initial audiences, and less mentorship opportunities. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are left empty-handed.

Our modern social media era presents a major opportunity for local creatives to connect with an international audience. It serves as a platform for creatives to build a strong personal brand that distinctly defines who they are and what sets them apart. Even more, an active social media presence gives smaller communities like our own the chance to be a part of globally aware conversations and content creation.

Interestingly enough, one major facet of creative work is a value already ingrained into the fabric of the Virgin Islands’ community – networking. In a place where everyone knows your name, it is essential that creatives take advantage of opportunities to work and build together. Virgin Islands creatives often face the challenge of being one of the “first” or one of the “few.” Until that changes, we must all be ready to start from scratch if needed.

Big Boss : Building The Lane

As the world advances and the creative economy grows, creative talents are primed to continue to be a driving force behind innovation and cultural evolution. This is truly an unparalleled moment in history, where creatives are poised to succeed and communities are aware of their incomparable economic power. Supporting local creatives is an indelible win-win. And for creatives, pursuing their passions with diligence, commitment, and tenacity provides a way to reach heights never before imagined.

Monea’s commitment to quality artistry, even if it requires both headlining and producing her own performance, is both an inspiration and a gentle reminder. As creatives, we must be so undoubtedly sure in our own creative prowess that we fearlessly pursue all our ambitions. As a community, we should take the necessary steps to ensure local creatives of all kinds don’t ever have to go it alone.

Tropikana Concert has created an opportunity not just for herself, but for the community. Become a contributor to the local creative economy by attending the show, and be sure to share Monéa’s artistry with your own circle. A more affluent Virgin Islands economy, filled to the brim with the genius of our own local creatives, coming to come!

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