Grace Hamilton rises from the ashes
At the launch of Grace Hamilton's Women Empowerment Foundation, the well-known and wildly admired persona, Spice, stayed backstage. Shedding the customary blue-hued wigs and flamboyant, revealing costumes, the dancehall star stepped into the Eden Gardens Resort and Spa conference room donning a full-white power-suit paired with deep pink pumps.
"I'm in two minds. I wrote a speech, something that I don't want to use because I wanted to be as real as possible. But at the same time, I don't want to break down because I'm supposed to be the strong woman that you're looking up to tonight. Do I read this speech and keep it calm, or do I just be myself and share my story a story that I've never shared befor?," Hamilton told her captive audience.
The story she told was a sad one, and tears filled her eyes as she spoke.
"I came home one day, and I lost my home to fire when I was living in Spanish Town. That made me really devastated. [I was] homeless to the point where I broke down and I felt hopeless. When I came home, it was just the land space that was there. It was burnt to the ground, flat. I lost everything. The only thing I had at that time was my uniform and the bag on my back," she said.
"But I'm really happy that that took place at that point in my life. It was then that I regained strength, and I started to fight," she continued.
Based on her experiences, Hamilton said an entrepreneurial spirit presented itself. To sustain herself, she sold candies at school. She walked from Spanish Town to St Catherine High School, with no lunch money and no fare for transport. She also revealed that she managed to open a small restaurant by the time she was 17 years old.
"Personally, I believe that all women are great. Greatness is something that truly exists in all of us. My intention is to transmogrify hopeless women into ambitious, tenacious, predominant women. I decided to start this initiative with the aim of enriching women through business and entrepreneurship," Hamilton outlined.
But Hamilton was not the only person sharing stories. For this occasion, she was accompanied by a panel of powerful women who all gave their own testimonies of feminine struggles. Some of the panellists were designer and producer Keneea Linton-George; CEO of D'Marie Institute Dawn Lindo; Miss Universe Jamaica 2017 Davina Bennett; and Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna.