Broken into a few parts due to length
Introduced with a clip from her triumph (as Ms. Congeniality) at the Ms. Universe pageant, Kai spoke of her journey to and her journey through life as a Rasta. And what a powerful presentation it was. Of pageantry, the former Antiguan, Carnival, and Caraval Queen said, “it was fun for a little while, but there was a feeling of being out of my own control.”
Then came her awakening, an awakening to her true self, through Rasta. People didn’t get it, some still don’t; but then, they don’t have to.
I’ve always thought Kai was well seated in herself – I remember interviewing her during her pageant days and finding her to be both effervescent and grounded; from the surface, I mean how many Queens back then were going natural (?), to what’s beneath the surface, if you’ll lie to yourself, who won’t you lie to, she said in one interview and that always stuck with me because…exactly. But to her mind, she still had a ways to go in her journey and she did.
In time, she said, of her retreat from pageantry and worldliness, “I was awakened and I couldn’t pretend to be asleep anymore.”
Let the naysayers talk, but on that TEDx stage was a woman owning herself – “I discovered how much I loved me” and discovering new purpose, as a mother, a mentor, a teacher, and a RASTA (emphasis hers).
“I opted to live a simpler life and I’m a better person because of it,” she said even as she acknowledged that it has not been a life without its struggles – some of us in the audience might have been surprised to learn, for instance, just how much open victimization of those claiming the path of Rasta still endure, from the 911 responder who cusses you out instead of sending help to the police raiding your compound and waving guns around in full view of the children. Yes, we still have these issues, apparently.
But, no regrets for Queen Kai – yeah, I’ll still call her Queen even if she’s wearing a crown of a different kind these days.
“This is my path,” she said, “and I am grateful to not be afraid.”
Her message: “know yourself, love yourself, be yourself at all times”.
Whether you agree with her path or not, and it’s really not for you to agree or disagree with, you have to admit that’s the kind of message young people need to hear. Teachers, take these TEDx talks when they’re uploaded and use them in your classrooms, use this one in particular to jump start discussion with your students that have nothing to do with standardized tests and everything to do with setting a standard of authentic living.