CREATIVE SPACE #5 OF 2023 (Uploaded February 28th 2023)

CREATIVE SPACE is an award-winning series spotlighting local (Antiguan and Barbudan/Caribbean) art and culture. As a brand, it dates back to 2009, published exclusively in LIAT’s inflight magazine. It was revamped in 2018 as a blog series and syndicated as of 2019 on Its publishing partner, as of 2020, is the Daily Observer newspaper. It has its first print run in the paper every other Wednesday, with the online extended edition with EXTRAS running here on the blog and full interviews and extras on AntiguanWriter on YouTube. In 2021, the twopart CREATIVE SPACE mini-series on marine culture placed third in the OECS clean oceans journalists challenge. CREATIVE SPACE is created, owned, and written by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean authorjournalist, producer, and freelance writer, editor, and trainer. 

Here’s a link to the issue as it appeared in the Daily Observer newspaper on March 1st 2023:

Below is the extended online edition (not a duplicate of the edition with publishing partner Observer Media) with EXTRAS.


When I decided to talk with a couple of my girls for CREATIVE SPACE, I didn’t plan to go public with it on March 1st, the start of Women’s History Month, but it aligns beautifully. “My girls” are Zoë Teague and Latisha Browne who, not yet 30, are finding their paths and their voices; I’ve known them since they were in the Cushion Club reading club for children.  So this was a catch-up and an opportunity to hear the perspective of two young women in this moment in Antigua and Barbuda.

(Zoe, left, and Latisha, right, in their Cushion Club days. Each is with late Cushion Clubber Zuri Holder, whose memory we continue to keep alive)

Zoë is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, LGBTQ and gender activist and she makes space for practice as an Attorney-at-Law. Latisha is a forensic technician with the Police’s forensic evidence recovery unit and aspires to be the first female ballistics expert in Antigua and Barbuda; she is active in several community organizations.

(Zoe, called to the bar in January 2022; Latisha on the job)

What are you creating?

Zoë: “I would want to say community, change in the world, the change I want to see, and I’m creating the things that I desire. I said I wanted to travel three times a year this year minimum. I didn’t know the how, I didn’t know the when. I wrote it down and the next day two travel opportunities came in. Just the act of thinking I want to do something and bringing it to fruition is always very exciting; that I can create something in my mind, this desire, and I can make it real, that is exciting.”

Latisha: “What I’m trying to do is to create a platform for young people who were labelled a type of way. Being in secondary school I wouldn’t say I was the best behaved. Persons would say ‘you nar go reach far in a life, you just always inna something’. Looking back then and looking at me now, I can really say ‘hey, I’ve proved the labels wrong’ and I see it in within our generation for today where students are being placed in this box ‘oh you’re not going do this in life’ …and they live to these labels. Knowing the community that I came from (St. Johnston village) and being a young woman in today’s society, we’re labelled as ‘you can’t do this and you can’t do that’ and I want to show persons that ‘nah’, especially the young ones for today because they live to the words that you throw at them.”

(Zoe, in yellow, in a promo shoot (wearing pieces curated for the brand/business) Shop Zoë Mercedes. Latisha, in blue, in the Police pageant in 2022, in which she was first runner-up)

What concerns you?

Zoë: “Capitalism. The more I really am a part of the capitalist machine, I realize it is the root of our problems in society. Injustice, infringing on other people’s rights not allowing other people to live their own lives, taking away opportunities from people, the lack of resources that people have. I work at legal aid, so I see a lot of people who are systemically disadvantaged. Yes, they’re here for a divorce, yes, they’re here about child maintenance, but their problems are so much bigger than that and it stems from the machine of capitalism.”

Latisha: “Us not listening to the youths and not giving them a voice and not accepting them for who they are. We’re still stuck in our olden days mentality – ‘this is what it should be’. We don’t allow the youths to express themselves and give them a voice…we rather, as I say, put them in a box.”

(Left:  a screenshot from an interview Zoë did for Outright International at a 2022 regional conference in Barbados, Caribbean Women Sexual Diversity Conference. Right: Latisha Lecturing to recruits on International Women’s Day in 2022.)

How do you use your voice?

Latisha: “On my social media platforms, I am not one to hold in anything…but then I kind of limit what I say because these things can be detrimental to you; so I’m careful as to what I say. When I network within my different organizations that I’m in – Halo Foundation Generation Y, Girl Guides or even JCI, I try to air my views.”

Zoë: “Sometimes, I don’t feel like I’m using it in the right way. But I’m a lawyer, so I use it in the courtroom. I think I have the gift of gab, so I’m always talking; and I write, so on my social media, I’ll talk about things. But similarly to Latisha, there are some things I’m not touching in the public space … especially in this society we live in and the type of job that I do. There are repercussions that I don’t want to deal with.”

I asked each of these young women who inspires them as they try to figure out their path. Which Caribbean woman.

Zoë: “Audre Lorde – her writing, everything, her feminism, her ideologies; I see myself in her.”

Latisha: “Rihanna – living in BIM, I have family in Barbados, seeing where she grew up, I could throw a stone from my aunt’s yard and it would drop in her yard where she raised up. My aunt would tell me she could hear her singing when she was a little girl, and seeing the area where she came from I could relate to her.”

Which woman, globally.

Latisha: “Viola Davis, hands down. Reading her book, Finding Me, really opened my eyes to see everyone struggles; so even though I’m going through my struggle now, I’m not the only one who has gone through struggle in order to tell my success story…every time I see her on the screen I’m like damn this woman really went through some hardship and look at her now.”

Zoë: Oprah. Her mindset, the things that happened to her. I’ve had a whole ton of traumatic things happen to me as a kid; but the positivity and deciding this is how I’m going to take control of my life and take control of that narrative, that’s somebody who does inspire me.”

Local, not including family members.

Latisha: “It’s not one person – my former teacher who passed away Ms. Omesha Charles, Althea Richardson who teaches craft at Clare Hall Secondary school, Debbie Davis, who also taught me, and, also, Abena Merchant; these are people that have been there for me. With Omesha, she was going through her own pain and when I lost my brother, she was there for me. These are people who have always been there for me. They’re always in my corner, pushing me and telling me to be my best self.”

Zoë: Alexandrina Wong [of Women Against Rape]. In the last maybe two years she has taken me on as a mentor as I go about my journey with my activism, and having somebody speak your name in rooms [and] believe in you in ways that you don’t even believe in yourself has been a tremendous feeling.”

(Nurse Wong of WAR left and Latisha with teachers who pushed her at prom)

It is.

So, let me say how much I believe in both ‘my girls’ and their future possibilities.


Full interview


The Cushion Club Reading Club for Children in Antigua and Barbuda is a Saturday morning activity long enjoyed by youths thanks to a number of volunteers over the years.

Zoe on the formative influence of the Cushion Club:

“You had more than a small influence – you and Cushion Club. I always think about it. It comes up a lot. I say, ‘guys, I used to go to this space when I was younger called the Cushion Club. I would read and I met so many amazing people.’ Like I think you are the first Antiguan writer that I ever met and I have the privilege to say I’ve know this writer since I’m a child. Now that I’m older, especially like I’m trying to read more Caribbean authors, like look how cool my life has always been… So it’s not been a small impact. Even with the other members of the Cushion Club, though were’ not as close as when we were kids spending every Saturday together, we are all doing such amazing things and I’m like that is the Cushion Club influence there.”


The print version of the article has a word limit. For this reason, I ran only the first of Latisha’s responses to what concerns her. She continues below:

“When I look at the scholarships being offered from Antigua to allow students to go away and study, it’s very limited. When I look at countries like Barbados and Jamaica [Latisha holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology and sociology from the University of the West Indies Cavehill Campus in Barbados and a post graduate diploma in forensic investigation from UWI Mona in Jamaica], there’s a vast amount of scholarships. We have our prime minister scholarship and we have our Board of Education scholarship but what else is there? I find that more organizations and businesses need to come out and offer more to students so that they can take that leap of faith and go for what they want. The problem right now in our society is persons don’t have it. Like I recently applied to a school. I got in but because of the fees I have to look for scholarships and when I look it’s limited. So I have to go and see what there are for international students. I think that’s the issue. It’s not like young people don’t want to go on; it’s what’s being offered to them.”


“Our culture is dying. We’re not teaching the culture to the young people today for them to understand. When I was in Jamaica studying, you see little children spitting Louise Bennett poems and stuff like that. You see them in the art form. You see them in to the culture. And I think that’s one of the things why we have the issues today; our culture is not being passed on and the youths are adapting different cultures and it’s creating an issue for us within our society.”

[Zoe added re culture…]

“Having lived in Barbados and Jamaica, those two places were so stimulating for me outside of the academic side of things…and I don’t just mean going to parties, there’s just a lot there. Their culture is rich but they’re also focusing on creative industries.”

[…and on scholarships]

“I had both and I was grateful. But the horrors that you have to go through to get your money sometimes to even pay, if I only talk.”

[…and options]

“I followed a traditional path but for people who want to go alternative routes we don’t have that. We now have this University of the West Indies but what they’re offering are very traditional courses. You can’t offer anything more dynamic? At least one creative programme.”

List of current course offerings at UWI Five Islands campus in Antigua and Barbuda.


More on why Latisha relates to Rihanna:

“She put a post with her and her mom – ‘giving you your flowers while you’re here’. My mom didn’t get the opportunity to go to university and college …[and] everyone know how I feel about my mom, so I see her as an inspiration to me. Going for what she wants, coming from the Caribbean, and look at her on the big stage. She has her own brand, not only in music but also in cosmetology. It shows me, you know, it don’t matter where you’re from. Once you have the right mindset, the right people around you to encourage you, you can go for it. Hence why, no matter what persons may say, I’m going for that [first] female ballistics expert.”

(Latisha flanked by her mom and a teacher from secondary school at her graduation in 2022 from UWI Mona with her Post- Graduate Degree in Forensic Investigation)


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