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Wuh Gine On?!

First published on Linkedin March 7, 2019

Gine On?! founders D.J. Simmons and Empress Zingha
Gine On?! founders D.J. Simmons & Empress Zingha

I was a dancer/choreographer/dance teacher for 10 years. The arts were, and are still special to me. So when I learned about an online magazine featuring local artists and the events where they could be found; followed that magazine on social media and learned locals were behind it, then checked out the video interviews with local dancers, musicians, visual artists, poets and creatives well…”BRAVO!” I thought. I had discovered GineOn?! magazine.

With names like Empress Zingha and D.J. Simmons you immediately sense that the husband and wife founder team were already entrenched in the arts scene in the land. Maybe that’s why the content doesn’t feel forced at all. It’s ‘real', so I could see how local arts and entertainment lovers and practitioners on every level could develop a big brand affinity for Gine On?!

From a video collection of what’s going on in the arts scene with details of when and where, Gine On?!, now two years old, has steadily grown in popularity and in breadth and depth as a business and a brand. It’s now become a full platform of local content on and here’s what I love about it.

  1. Brand name: if you’re Bajan it’s natural for you to greet someone you know with “Wuh gine on?” In fact if you follow Gine On?! On social media (like I do) or you watch the interviews by Empress Zingha (like I do) or the promo videos by her husband (like I do), they are filled with familiar bajanisms (the way we Barbadians talk in everyday life). And “Wuh gine on?” is the perfect way to start every interview.

  2. Brand purpose: There’s so much happening on this little island some of us call home and so many talented people producing great work. Gine On?! captures it in the most palatable and entertaining ways and makes you feel proud, or at least a little pleasantly offbeat to be Bajan. The way they describe it is, “An immersive experience in the arts and culture of Barbados”. Agreed.

  3. Brand Experience: When you enter the Gine On?! world online it feels a bit quirky, a bit rootsy, a lot Bajan and beautifully inclusive. A sweet mix of the niceness in our culture today.

  4. The content: The Gine On?! team goes all out to ensure that they are on the ground capturing the latest events in all spheres across the island. It’s a perfect mix of business, arts and culture content. And now it’s evolving to include GineOn TV, new releases from musicians, the latest tidbits on the local culinary scene and more and more original content. And it never loses the groundedness of the brand ethos (“from bout hey”- a proud declaration of loving your Bajan roots)

  5. The Founders and brand likeability: If you google Empress Zingha, you’ll discover that she’s a poet, an actress, a director and writer who graduated from the University of the West Indies with both a BFA and an MFA in Creative Arts. Her husband D.J. Simmons is a spoken word artist who’s been awarded at the highest level locally for his work. You can tell that Gine On?! lives and breathes their genuine interest and excitement for arts, entertainment and all things Bajan. It makes the brand all the more likeable.

  6. Brand growth & monetization: A growing audience, a loyal audience, that’s the foundation of successful media business. Like any media company, Gine On?! has to continue to leverage its growing audience for revenue generation and it’s doing this with Gine On?! merchandise. Also, there seems to be a new influencer marketing model in testing, where corporate brands can align with the entertainment influencers well-known to Gine On?! We’ll see how that plays out.

From my perspective so far, Gine On?! gets top points for effort in cultural enterprise. I concede that my background may predispose me to bias but I'm officially calling it an emerging Bajan power brand.

What do you think?


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