Jahajee Sisters to bring visibility to gender-based violence in a livestreaming TV series

Actors during a scene from Intersectional Feminist TV Series, titled: Jahajees Rising production in 2018.
Photo by The World is Rich LLC

The Jahajee Sisters: Empowering Indo-Caribbean Woman, a Queens-based group committed to creating a safe and equitable society, is on a mission to bring visibility to gender-based violence in its biggest project yet, according to Taij Kumarie Moteelall, who spoke with Caribbean Life about an Intersectional Feminist TV Series, titled: Jahajees Rising, ready for livestreaming platforms.

Moteelall, an award-winning artistic genius, creative entrepreneur, and co-founder, Arts + Activism and resident for two years, spoke passionately about the completion of a pilot, and is scouting screening platforms, such as Netflix and Apple TV +, among others to air the series.

“Enchanted Blue Media, Media Sutra, and other talented and inspiring Indo-Caribbean creatives, committed to gender justice, are in partnership, to bring the TV series to fruition,” said Moteelall.

She noted that an extra spicy group of Indo-Caribbean artists and activists’ band together after the brutal staffing of Sevita Singh on New Year’s Eve in 2018, to build a cross-class LGBTQ + Inclusive movement that addresses gender-based violence while navigating generational trauma, family secrets, and love triangles.

The artistic creator told Caribbean Life, that the Jahajee Rising TV series was inspired by the first homicide in New York City six years ago of a Guyanese woman, a violent act that shook the community. However, the TV series is a fictionalized and futuristic reimaging of a true story.

Taij Moteelall, award-winning creative entrepreneur and co-founder, Arts + Activism, addressing an audience.
Taij Moteelall, award-winning creative entrepreneur and co-founder, Arts + Activism, addressing an audience. Photo by Natalia Peters

“In the series, Savita Singh survives a brutal stabbing by her partner and joins a budding gender justice movement. Jahajee Rising challenges the narrative that normalize intimate partner violence, while igniting new cultural norms,” she said.

“I have written the first two episodes and created the pilot for the first season of eight episodes,” adding, “the work of the Jahajee Sisters have always been about ending gender-based violence and it’s also sadly always been catalyzed by some very brutal murders of Indo-Guyanese and Indo Trinidadian women, but mainly Guyanese.”

“We know that it comes from the very early days of the plantation life and some of the disparities with women on the plantation in the early days, it was one woman for every 10 men, but in 2018 it kind of hit the community differently because of the homicide at that time of year. It was a catalytic moment for the Jahajee Sisters.”

“We were kind of in a lull, we had burned out as a volunteer organization, so we started coming together to imagine what it would look like to make a bigger impact and sustain ourselves and in the midst of it all, this brutal murder happened, and we started organizing,” said Moteelall.

“I decided to create a theater production called Jahajee Rising and the theater production was meant to help people understand, by using the arts as a tool for organizing and for awareness building the way that gender-based violence has been so ingrained and baked into our culture and normalized and accepted and swept under the rug,” she added.

“The way it’s normalized and accepted is because we don’t talk about it, we don’t address it by putting it on stage. It took Jahajee Rising 100 years back to the plantations and we saw the roots of it. We saw how it continued in the bottom house, we saw how it’s continuing in the streets of New York and then we saw an example, so it’s a futuristic reimagining of Stacey’s story, it’s not true to life of Stacy,” said Moteelall.

“I don’t know her story, so it reimagines what if she lived and became a gender justice activist. In the theater production, it helps our community understand our methodology. We’re not just a direct service organization that’s trying to put a band-aid on the problem, we’re trying to create change in the very fabric of our culture and the mindset that enable this kind of violence to happen, so in 2018 we knew we were on to something powerful,” expressed Moteelall.

Jahajee Sisters is a movement-building organization, led by Indo-Caribbean women, committed to creating a safe and equitable society. The group fosters solidarity and empowerment through dialogue, arts, leadership development and grassroots organizing.