Shenseea to the rescue
Shenseea

AS a child Monifa Peterson always wanted to become an attorney-at-law — a dream that seemed far-fetched due to high tuition costs. The 25-year-old is, however, breathing a sigh of relief after dancehall artiste Shenseea covered the US$10,000 for her final-year at The University of the West Indies, Mona, where she's completing her Bachelor of Laws.

"When I found out I was awarded I cried and thanked them one million times because they were right on time. I work full-time while going to school and I also support some of my siblings financially so I had a huge financial obstacle lightened. It's like Shen came and took the world off of my shoulders or said: 'Come girl, come make me help you carry this!' " the Red Ground, St Catherine, native told the Jamaica Observer.

In May this year, Shenseea announced that she would be covering the schooling fees for select fans who were unable to, once they could provide proof.

According to Peterson, who has five siblings, she was required to submit a status letter stating why she was a deserving candidate.

Monifa Peterson

She said she found out about the scholarships via social media as she is a staunch supporter of Shenseea.

"What I admire most about Shenseea is her work ethic and diligence to her craft. She focuses on her music and improves exponentially in every aspect as time goes by. She is like Beyoncé — they train and train until they are the best at what they do," she said.

Shenseea, whose real name Chinsea Lee, is 26 years old. She came to prominence in 2016 with the collaboration Loodie featuring Vybz Kartel. In March she released her debut album ALPHA which saw collaborations with Megan Thee Stallion, Beenie Man, Sean Paul, and 21 Savage.

In the meantime Peterson has her eyes set on Norman Manley Law School as well as the implementation of several programmes to curb deviants in the Jamaican society, in addition to encouraging non-traditional career paths.

"And as it relates to those persons who are just always getting in trouble with the law, I would like to encourage rehabilitation centres to ascertain how they got to that point and how we can assist them to find peace on the right side of the law through the introduction of the 'three-pronged approach' to building a better mindset: teach them more civics and history so they can understand why the society is the way it is, and also who they are, and push for more persons to learn skills and encourage inventiveness rather than a single academic approach to educating. I think while people do know that there are several avenues to success they are often only presented with two: education or organised crime — and that's obviously way too narrow for the dynamic and talented people being born in Jamaica and the world each day. They need to know the other options and we need to show them how to explore and excel at these other options because not enough emphasis is placed on the fact that not everyone is an academic like me or a talented person like Shen, so we won't all take the 'straight and narrow' unless we are presented with a version of the straight and narrow that we can navigate in our own capacity," she reasoned.

"I think if a kid can make shoes, we need to let him and her know that Jamaica and the world needs shoemakers — you don't need to become a medical doctor. It's hard to find heels that women of various body shapes and sizes can wear so, in this example, the essence of my idea of a mindset shift in schools and rehabilitation would be encouraging people to solve existing problems and make a career out of that," Peterson added.

BY KEDIESHA PERRY Observer writer

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