2 Minutes With … Queen I, Founding Member of Life Is A Ceremony

On cannabis as a holy sacrament

Queen I is a founding member of Life Is A Ceremony retreats. She is a Rastafari artisan and teacher. She considers herself a One Love Therapist, intuitively working with the essential elements of fire, earth, water and wind. She's been a plant medicine facilitator since 2016.

Queen I was previously an English teacher at Jamaica College, a traditional high school. She was one of the earliest employees at the groundbreaking IRIE FM, the first radio station to play reggae music around the clock. At IRIE, Queen I pioneered the use of Jamaican patois in advertising announcements, becoming a beloved voice across the island.

We spent two minutes with Queen I to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.

Queen I, tell us ... 

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in the rural hills of Westmoreland and later lived in the suburbs of Ocho Rios, St. Ann Parish. Today I live in Montego Bay, St. James Parish, and I reside in the Rastafari Indigenous Village, a community of creatives who work together to preserve, protect and promote the culture of Rastafari. 

How you first got interested in cannabis.

When I attended the first SunSplash Reggae Festival, my friend made a joint for me to try. We both smoked and that experience opened me up to other experiences that led me to more creativity.

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.

In 2017, I launched I and I Skinfoods–a hair and skincare company that uses natural plant-based ingredients, which I sell at the Rastafari Indigenous Village

A recent project you're proud of, and why. 

I recently taught an I and I Skinfoods apprenticeship program to students who wanted to learn how to make natural products like soaps, oils and shampoos. I'm always proud when a new student graduates from the program.

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today, and how to approach it.

In my environment, cannabis is considered a holy sacrament. But governing law does not allow us to sell it on the legal market. We can collect contributions, but if we are caught by the police with cannabis and money, then we still run the risk of being charged with distribution. 

One thing about how the cannabis industry is evolving that you're excited about.

Now people are able to develop better strains since we don't need to hide like we had to before. People are able to advance the genetics in Jamaica because we are sharing knowledge with others more easily. Also, the stigma is dissipating because the perception of cannabis in Jamaica is changing due to decriminalization.

Someone else's work, in cannabis or beyond, that you admired lately.

A Rastafari brother I know, Ras Bia, spends his time developing and using organic fertilizer specifically for cannabis plants. He also sells it to the community. 

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

There's this book I recently read that inspires my life and my liberation journey. It is called Two Thousand Seasons by Ayi Kwei Armah. It gave me a clearer understanding of who I am in the African diaspora. It also lets me see my path clearly and the role I now play in this lifetime.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

King Tebah, one of our villagers, and a founding member at the community, is a talented multimedia artist. He is a father, a Nyabinghi drummer, a dancer, a sculptor and a painter. His life's mission has been the preservation of Rastafari culture through his passion for art and music. King Tebah has dedicated over a decade to the Rasta Village Band as the lead drummer, and has traveled around the globe to countries such as Germany, China, Mexico and Cuba to share the message of his Rastafari and African roots through music and dance.

Many of the inspirational murals decorating Rastafari Indigenous Village are King Tebah's works of art, and his drumming plays a central role in our sacred medicine ceremonies. His performing group, Prince Tebah and the Sons of Thunder, opened the first Reggae SunSplash in 1979. They played with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and other reggae legends.

Your favorite fictional character.

For me it's not necessarily a fictional character, but a mystical character from Africa—a warrior named Nyabinghi. The Nyabinghi drum beat, which is the beat of the heart, comes from her. 

Someone worth following on social media.

At the moment, I admire Dr. Gabor Mate, because his healing work helps people with trauma. His work has opened a new dimension of understanding about trauma that has been valuable in my own life and work.

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

I am able to be intuitive in creating things that the market needs.  

Your biggest weakness.

I'm always working on strengthening my memory retention, but because of Gabor Mate's work I am now learning how to manage it in a more impactful way.

Something people would find surprising about you.

That I am able to cry, because I smile so often.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Hash. It brings on the feeling I am looking for from cannabis.

One thing that always makes you sad.

To have clients that are not willing to make the necessary changes they need for healing.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.

I would be involved in acting or working in the entertainment industry. But, cannabis has opened up our minds to a different consciousness and purpose, so I am blessed to be working with this plant.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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