Vejay Steede is primarily an artist.
Writing is his art, but he makes his living as an educator, mostly, with some freelance writing to supplement. Vejay is a published poet and a spoken word performer. His work has been commissioned to commemorate such local milestones as the book release for the late Tamell Simons’ work Date With Destiny, the Ministry of Culture’s Historical Heartbeats Lecture Series, the unveiling of the Sally Bassett statue on the grounds of the Cabinet Building, the unveiling of the We Arrive statue at Barr’s Bay Park, the opening ceremony for Minister Luis Farrakhan’s most recent address to Bermuda, and the 2011 National Heroes Day ceremony to induct Dr Pauulu Kamarakafego, Dr E F Gordon, and Mr Henry Tucker into the pantheon of National Heroes.
Recently he has become more known for promoting the Official Cup Match Afterparty: Soca Versus Reggae, which he and his team have been doing for eight years. This year it’s at Snorkel Park Beach on August 1.
“We are extremely proud that our vision has come so much clearer, and we look forward to realizing the dream of Cup Match in Bermuda becoming an essential international experience,” he told the Bermuda Sun.
Interview by Sarah Lagan.
When did you last laugh out loud?
All the time! Especially when my partner gets mad at me for something silly and then tries to stay mad knowing full well that she can’t stay mad at me!
Your earliest memory?
I heard an earth-shatterring siren and jumped up and ran around my house until I realized that it was just a fire truck. Pretty sure I cursed the fire truck off with my angriest pre-school curse words too!
What were you like in school?
I was quiet. Shy, but somehow still chatty.
Not really too athletic, but still went to inter-school sports every year to represent my school.
Good grades, but still managed to be tight with the popular kids.
If you were given a million dollars tomorrow what would you do with it?
Buy a nice house in a peaceful part of the world for my family, and then buy all the guns off the street in Bermuda for my country.
Who is your hero/heroine?
Dr Pauulu Roosevelt Osiris Nelson Brown Kamarakafego, and my late grandmother, Maude Carlington — both molded me in meaningful and sublime ways.
Which cartoon character would you be?
Well, my partner says Superman because I’m allegedly tall and handsome, but I’ll balance that off with Groo from Dispicable Me because I tend to have a gruff exterior that hides my kind heart.
Do you believe in fate?
I believe that certain things happen, or don’t happen, so that other things can — life is connected on far deeper levels than what can be seen.
Your greatest fear?
Losing love … I can’t stand to end something I think still has value.
Most embarrassing moment?
I’m never embarrassed. I was once booed off a stage in London, didn’t bother me. I’d probably be embarrassed if I was ever naked in public for whatever reason, but that’s never happened to me (knock on wood — no pun intended ;-)
Your most unappealing habit?
Head scratching? Nail-biting? Making disastrous relationship choices? Describe yourself in three words.
Strong. Real. Resilient.
Which human trait do you dislike the most?
Cynicism. Not sarcasm or jokey cynicism, but that ‘to the bone’ belief that there’s nothing good or
redeeming in humanity.
Best party you’ve ever been to?
There was this house party in Brighton when I was in college a hundred years ago, but more recently Soca versus Reggae 1 through 7, with the 2013 edition being the best thus far!
Anyone you’d like to say ‘sorry’ to?
Of course! To anyone I’ve failed, let down, or disappointed: I’m sorry …
Worst job you’ve ever done?
I’ve loved all my jobs. Got something from each one. Proud of each one.
I did used to tie eel meat to ropes for the tourists to fish with at Devil’s Hole Aquarium when I was a teenager though — eel meat does NOT smell good!
Should’ve been a lawyer, maybe. Probably would’ve hated myself by now though… having said that I do have several lawyer friends whom I love dearly.
Your desert island song?
What, I can’t get five?! Okay, Redemption Song then! Argh!
What animal would you be and why?
A tiger. I just love tigers. They’re so regal and powerful; plus I kinda related to them when I was little because they are the biggest cats (I was always the biggest kid), and they have natural markings (I have a copious amount of freckles!).
If you had a time machine, where would you go?
I’d go to the future to make sure Bob Marley gets the same revered status that Beethoven and Mozart get today!
And to see if any of my work survived of course.
Best advice you have ever taken?
Don’t sweat the small stuff… and all of it is small stuff…
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I struggle with my weight. I won the Bermuda 100 Day Challenge back in 2009 by losing 77 pounds in 100 days, but it’s not always easy to keep the weight off once you lose it; that’s the real challenge, ‘cuz food is quite a wonderful thing!
What do you like best about your appearance?
My smile. It can light up a room, if I do say so myself!
Nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
I love you … what could be nicer?
Define romantic love.
If today were forever, I’d love you through sunset. Then I’d chase the moon around its orbit, just so I could love you again, tomorrow.
That’s an old piece I wrote. It’s as good a definition as any I’ve seen.
Most treasured possession?
A hard drive that has more movies, music and books on it than one can reasonably digest in a lifetime.
Oh, and my Tempur-pedic mattress!
A dream location for a home?
Somewhere isolated, private, and beautiful, with mountains in one direction, and a coastline in the other.
What keeps you up at night?
Spider Solitaire mostly, but sometimes too much caffeine; never worry if that’s what you’re getting at! :-p
Red Velvet cake from Miles; it’s the moistest by far! Sweet Saak Bakery throws down too though! Them cinnamon rolls are obscene!
Your proudest achievement?
Being recognized as a poet in Bermuda, and being a part of creating a viable community of poets within these shores.
I actually got a standing ovation for reciting a poem at the book release event I mentioned above back in 1999! It blew me away to be appreciated like that in Bermuda.
Most important lesson life has taught you?
Judge not lest ye be judged ... Biblical, yes, but still a lesson that must often be learned through the living of life.
What would you most like to be remembered for?
Honesty, integrity, and loving hard, fast, and authentically…