Measha's Story Resonates

By Joan Jenkinson, Vice President of Independent Production for VisionTV / Zoomermedia. Jenkinson has been with VisionTV since 2001 and has had the privilege of overseeing the production of hundreds of hours of documentary, music, lifestyle and drama programming. She commissioned the Rhombus Media production of the feature film and four-part music series Songs of Freedom for VisionTV / ZoomerMedia.

Of the many productions I have been a part of, Songs of Freedom with Measha Brueggergosman is particularly close to my heart. This music documentary and series is a wonderful expression of music that speaks to everyone but has special meaning to people whose ancestors have been enslaved and are now free.

My family immigrated to Canada from Jamaica when I was very young – an escape to freedom of sorts. My parents left a country with a history of slavery and colonial rule that has left an indelible mark. The class structure ranks individuals by the shade of their skin and perpetuates widespread poverty and violence. My parents left to find employment and the possibility of a good life and education for their children. They succeeded.

In spite of its economic and social issues, when I visit Jamaica I find the people are expressive, vibrant and resilient. They are full of faith and hope that one day they will be truly free.

I had the opportunity to visit Senegal when I was 19. Although I don’t know my specific African origins, I felt at home. I was welcomed and embraced by the community as Measha was on her trip to her ancestral home in Cameroon. The people I encountered had strong musical traditions of song and dance that were full of infectious life, joy and passion. They shared this with me as a “sister” who had returned home.

I’m thankful to Measha for sharing her journey and her family history and for bringing this music to life in such a special way. This project will touch the hearts of everyone who sees and hears it, as it’s done for me.

VisionTV / ZoomerMedia is very pleased with its collaboration with director Barbara Willis-Sweete of Rhombus Media and with the producers of the digital media components from DEEP Inc., Irene Vandertop and Thomas Wallner, who have brought us these exceptional visual expressions of freedom.