Independence Gala 2023

Annual Gala celebrating Jamaica’s 61st Year of Independence

View photos from the gala (click here) -- photographs by In a Lifetime Photography

The Annual Gala celebrating Jamaica’s 61st Year of Independence — themed Jamaica 61 “Proud and Strong” — was a remarkable event held in the elegant Red Oak Ballroom at the Norris Conference Centers – Houston/CityCentre on the evening of Saturday, July 29, 2023. The venue’s grand ambiance perfectly complemented the spirit of the celebration. Attendees were treated to a night of cultural splendor, as the gala showcased Jamaica’s rich heritage through music, dance, and a silent auction. The performances were vibrant and engaging, leaving the audience enthralled throughout the night.

Overall, the gala program was a well-crafted blend of eloquent speeches, official recognition, and vibrant youth performances. It successfully honored Jamaica’s 61st Year of Independence while bringing together people from all walks of life in a celebration of culture, heritage, and unity. The efforts of the organizers and the participation of distinguished speakers and talented youths contributed to making this gala program a memorable and uplifting experience for everyone involved.

The gala’s organizers did an excellent job in creating an immersive experience that celebrated Jamaica’s history, achievements, and diverse culture. From the delectable Jamaican cuisine to the lively reggae beats that filled the air, every aspect of the event represented the essence of the nation. The attendees were in high spirits, embracing the celebration with warmth and joy.

Moreover, the event had an air of inclusivity and unity, with people from various backgrounds coming together to appreciate and commemorate Jamaica’s independence journey. The speeches delivered by prominent figures and community leaders were inspiring and shed light on the nation’s progress over the years.

The Red Oak Ballroom proved to be an ideal setting for such a momentous occasion, offering ample space for mingling, dancing, and enjoying the festivities. The event’s seamless organization and attention to detail ensured a smooth flow, allowing everyone to fully enjoy the experience.

DJ Fatta Carey, the master of ceremonies at the gala, was an absolute standout, infusing the event with charisma, energy, and a seamless flow that kept everyone engaged throughout the night. With an undeniable passion for entertaining, DJ Fatta Carey brought a unique flair to the role of master of ceremonies. His dynamic presence and magnetic personality effortlessly connected with the audience, setting a lively and enjoyable atmosphere from the start.

The gala program featuring speeches by Foundation President Dr. Nicole Bent Jones, Consul General R. Oliver Mair, Hon. Consul K. Omari Fullerton, and a proclamation given by Brian Pendleton with Precinct 4 Commissioner’s Office was an exceptional and inspiring evening of celebration.

Dr. Nicole Bent Jones, as the Foundation President, delivered a heartfelt and passionate speech that set the tone for the event. Her words resonated with the audience, emphasizing the significance of the occasion and the Foundation’s dedication to its mission. She also recognized the highly esteemed Board of Directors (Mr. Errol Anglin, Ms. Judith Drummond, Dr. Cameon McKenzie Reid, Mr. Peter Ford, Ms. Karlene Rose, Dr. Camille Gibson) and Honorary Advisors (Mr. Andy Adams and the Hon. Beverley Ford) who have played an instrumental role in shaping the vision and mission of the organization and generously given their time, expertise, and resources to ensure that the non-profit’s mission, to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need, is realized to its fullest potential. 

Consul General R. Oliver Mair brought a touch of diplomacy and grace to the program with his address. His insights into Jamaica’s journey as a nation and the importance of fostering strong ties between Jamaica and the global community were both enlightening and thought-provoking.

Hon. Consul K. Omari Fullerton’s speech highlighted the contributions of the Jamaican community and their impact on society. His words celebrated the achievements of the diaspora and reinforced the spirit of unity and pride among attendees.

Brian Pendleton from the Precinct 4 Commissioner’s Office recognized the importance of Jamaica’s independence and its contributions to the community, with a proclamation that solidified the gala’s significance in commemorating this milestone.

The silent auction accented the program well, with bids on education, music, health and genealogy consultations as well as original fine art.

Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by the Red Oak Ballroom at Houston/CityCentre. Dinner included Jerk Chicken Breast marinated in Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and Blackened Salmon with Cajun Cream Sauce, and sweet slices of cheesecake drizzled with mango sauce and chocolate triple-layer cake.

The youth performance led by Sharon Anglin, known for her caring, creative, kind and encouraging nature, was undoubtedly a highlight of the evening. While guests enjoyed dinner, the young talents showcased their skills through various artistic expressions, such as audience engagement with musical chairs, spoken word and dance. Their enthusiasm and talent injected a fresh energy into the event, captivating the audience and leaving a lasting impression.

Musical entertainment for the evening was nothing short of impressive! J-Unit Band performed songs that catered to everyone’s tastes, ensuring the dance floor remained alive and buzzing. From classic Jamaican reggae tunes to contemporary hits, J-Unit Band had an intuitive sense of the crowd’s preferences, maintaining a vibrant ambiance all evening.

Following the band was DJ Toney Campbell whose natural ability to engage with the audience, adapt to the crowd’s energy and curate his playlist accordingly was truly impressive.

Overall, the Annual Gala celebrating Jamaica’s 61st Year of Independence was a resounding success, paying tribute to the nation’s legacy while fostering a sense of pride and togetherness among attendees. It was an unforgettable evening that truly captured the spirit of Jamaica, leaving everyone looking forward to the next celebration.

This year’s event is themed Jamaica 61 “Proud and Strong”.

View photos from the gala (click here) -- photographs by In a Lifetime Photography

View this year’s Gala Souvenir Booklet (click here).

Special thanks to our sponsors and donors.

Click QR code to view booklet

View photos from the gala (click here) -- photographs by In a Lifetime Photography