Write your blooming story!
Basillia is known to many as the warm yet bubbly voice that graced the airwaves on Love 101 FM's Youth Connection and NCU FM’s The Drive for years. She has been a media personality for over 10 years and is well known on the Gospel scene, being a capable and in-demand MC. She is currently an educator in the Communications field and an entrepreneur as you will see from her story.
Bas, as she is known by many, has embarked on a journey that I think is nothing short of extraordinary. She is the courageous visionary behind the Sterling Gospel Music Awards, which is the first of its kind in Jamaica! March 16, 2019 will mark the third staging of this prestigious event.
When I searched the archives of my mind for all the Winning Women I knew to feature starting in Women’s history month, I quickly settled on her as my very first. I am excited to use my platform to highlight women from ordinary circumstances who are daring to do the exceptional - women who are, in 2019, writing and re-writing powerful HERstories.
Maybe it’s because I’m a psychologist but I’m incessantly curious about people’s processes and motivations. I know that there is often so much wealth in the stories of those who are kind enough to share them authentically. I’m excited to share with you Bas’ story of daring to create a Sterling product where there was once absolutely nothing.
I had to ask Bas what on earth (or in Heaven) inspired her to not only dream of a National Gospel awards show but to also act on it. She told White Lotus Blooms: “The Awards was birthed from a place of being tired of seeing Gospel Music being treated like the long lost cousin in the Music Industry. So many times the efforts and productions of those in our industry have gone unnoticed, and the lack of encouragement to sweeten the labour was missing.”
Keeping it real in true Basillia style, she confesses that she was intimidated to get started. (We can all absolutely relate, can we not?). She overcame that intimidation, did her research and consulted with those who were more experienced in hosting such an event. Awesome, right? Yes, except it wasn’t smooth sailing from there. In fact it was a scathing lesson in perseverance that she learned. When she set out to get sponsorship for the event, not ONE sponsor said yes! Not even one. Bas recounts, while laughing, that she actually shelved the idea for two whole years after this initial failed attempt.
Thankfully, the vision wouldn’t leave her alone and consequently she went back to the drawing board, did even more research and consultations and with God’s help and the support of family and friends was able to successfully stage the inaugural Awards in March 2017.
Having watched the international Gospel Awards shows and been intent that she wanted that for Jamaica; Basillia and her team have now made significant traction on the local scene. They are steadily moving closer to the ultimate vision of having regional and ultimately international reach and relevance!
Let’s interject here to loud up some of the ‘large’ sponsors she has managed to get on board: Digicel Jamaica, Panache Magazine and KFC Jamaica to name a few. Impressive, right?
On rough days when needed financial support from Corporate Jamaica may be slow in coming, Bas digs deep into her faith. She reminds herself that she is doing God’s work and that one day the tide will change.
Her 2019 has been bountiful thus far. Bas, with her husband Brian welcomed a beautiful baby into the world, making their brilliant 2 year-old Bree'Ah a doting big sister. Her family is the pride of her life. Brian is never far from her side and she speaks glowingly of her love and admiration for him and their gems.
With all the responsibility on her plate I checked in with Bas about how she self-cares and balances it all. She admitted that balancing her roles of mom to a newborn and a toddler, wife and Director of a large, impending national event leave little room for time alone but she does eek out the time to indulge in different Netflix series, which she thoroughly enjoys.
On Saturday March 16, 2019 Basillia’s vision will once again be fulfilled. This year’s event will be held in the Blue Mountain Suite of the Knutsford Court Hotel. Kindly be advised that the Sterling Gospel Awards show is the only national red carpet Grammy-style event for Gospel in the island. A time when we get to dress up and celebrate the work of those God continues to inspire. I can’t wait to don something gold (so far I have sparkly shoes) and show up to celebrate the tenacity of this Jamaican Queen! Speaking of queen, the thing Mrs. Barnaby-Cuff is most excited about at this time is having the opportunity and blessing of raising two queens with her guy, Brian. We are here for this kind of winning all day!
As someone who is dabbling in the event-hosting arena I can personally find so much inspiration in Basillia’s journey. To achieve anything great in life you must get to a place where you eat “No’s” for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cheat meals in between. That’s the tenacity that greatness requires. When I roll up at Sterling next weekend and see the lights and the glitz I will be inspired all over again at the thought that this vision started in the mind of a woman who dared and keeps daring.
See you there!
Follow her on IG at @thesterlingawards and @basilliabcuff
Kamala P. McWhinney is God's Idea. I am academic, I am creative,I am dreamer. My name is Hindu for Lotus. Given the beautiful symbolism of the Lotus Flower I have embraced it as a metaphor for my evolving, my surviving and my thriving.