Denise Gomez: the resilient radio DJ

By NADINE WILSON All Woman writer wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, February 27, 2012

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AS a Jamaican, Denise Gomez is proud of her heritage and never fails to share her vast knowledge of the island with listeners tuning in to her daily radio programme that reaches the enter tri-state area.


Gomez, or 'Lady D' as her listeners call her, admits that she is biased towards the Jamaican Diaspora, and during her six years as a disc jockey at Linkage Radio in New York, has had the privilege of interviewing some of the biggest names on the island.


"It has been rewarding, to be honest, I have learnt so much from these people and their work and the names they have made for themselves," she told the All Woman during a telephone interview from New York where she resides.


Gomez was born in Kingston, but relocated to North Central Clarendon at seven years old. Being raised by Christian grandparents meant that she was very active in church, but this is not a legacy she despises, since her faith in God has helped her to get through some of her toughest challenges.


"My roots have allowed me to be resilient, because the going does get tough, but I know that each day when I do something good and when if the day is not so good and I mess up, at some point in time I know that I have that place where I can go back to and say 'Denise, you need to pick yourself up'," she said.


Although it was expected that she would have gone into hosting a Christian radio programme given her faith, Gomez said she wanted to be different and so she decided to host Inside the Zone with Lady D where her listeners can expect to be informed about happenings around the world.


"I love it and I work hard at what I do. My programme is well respected, because of course whatever I do, I make sure God is at the helm and that anything that I communicate with the audience, they must on any given day walk away with some kind of a knowledge; they must have garnered something from my show," she said.


"While we are here as Jamaicans and as women in our respective fields, we need to keep tapping into our nation and letting them know that we are here, not just going through the flow, we are trying to make our voices known and heard," she pointed out.


Her hard work has not gone unnoticed and last year she was awarded for her significant contribution to the station. This year she has been nominated with a few other media personalities from Jamaica for the broadcasting personality special award that will be given by Linkage Productions in March.


"I am really looking forward to that because it tells me that my work and the work of my peers is being recognised," she said.


In addition to highlighting the achievements of the Diaspora, Gomez has worked with the St Elizabeth Homecoming foundation on at least two occasions and is the communications director for Cotton Tree Toys for Kids Inc. The non-profit foundation comprises Jamaicans living here and abroad who host an annual toy drive for underprivileged children.


"The toys are shipped and then sent off to Jamaica and of course they are received by my founder and president, and other persons from here go down [to Jamaica]. The team members from there meet, the toys are wrapped, the events are held and in addition to that event, we have the Miss Cotton Tree pageant and all the contestants are sponsored by companies here," she explained, while pointing out that the new toys are usually distributed around Christmas in Balaclava, St Elizabeth.


Despite her success as a disc jockey and a philanthropist, Gomez said her greatest achievement is being the mother to her 18-year-old son Alex. Although she was told he would not survive because he was diagnosed with severe acid oesophagus reflux disease, she said he has managed to supersede the expectations of everyone. While she lives in New York, she ensures that he gets firmly rooted in the Jamaican culture by enrolling him in a special education school here.


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