March is acclaimed for many things – the month clocks here “spring forward” to daylight saving time; fabled to come “in like a lion — out like a lamb” and for a gender relentlessly striving to establish equality and parity in the workplace, women’s history month.
Although the entire 31 days are devoted to acknowledging significant achievements of the gender, Mar. 8 is regarded for celebrating International Women’s Day.
Trudy Deans, Jamaica’s Consul General who probably considered half a million outstanding women from her island to laud during an awards reception hosted by the Society of Foreign Consuls chose Patricia D. Chin.
Deans named the four feet 11 inch tall, octogenarian, Chinese-Jamaican businesswoman who has lived half her life on the Caribbean island and much of the other in Jamaica, Queens for a 2018 prestigious International Women’s Day Award.
“The Consulate General has followed your work and accomplishments over time and are very proud to select you as this year’s honoree in recognition of your outstanding contributions to our homeland Jamaica and within our Diaspora in the north-east and southern regions of these United States,” the island’s diplomatic representative at the consulate said.
As consuls and guests from numerous nations watched, the recipient took her place among women heralded globally for successfully contributing to social, economic, cultural and political advancements, Chin stood tallest in the moment.
“I am very honored and blessed to accept this prestigious award,” Chin said.
Affectionately renowned as Miss Pat to Jamaican nationals, recording artists, managers and clients, familiar with her storied career, many are also aware that the petite businesswoman is the P that established the largest independent reggae record label in the world — VP Records.
Along with her husband Vincent, the Kingston-based couple migrated to New York after retailing records for almost two decades at a business named for her husband’s pen name –Randy’s Record Shop.
Since selling the island’s music won handily on the island, when they migrated here the couple bargained on the vast Caribbean immigrant community to advance their purpose.
They settled in Brooklyn, combined their first names and voila! The alphabets proved appealing to immigrants, nationals and tourists yearning for vintage and current reggae releases.
The venture was also alluring to new and burgeoning reggae artists who were elusive to commercial labels and their artist and repertoire scouts.
It was Brooklyn 1975 and with almost no major, music magazine support nor record charting process devoted to niche music, a vast drought blighted reminiscences and nostalgia for Caribbean nationals.
At the time, commercial radio was not as friendly to the hard-driving beat and television seemed an unwilling medium to navigate.
Stocking old and new recordings, widening the repertoire and displaying merchandise familiar to a specific market, VP established an address and quickly garnered a foothold.
In 1979, the company outgrew its apace forcing a move from the hub of the Jamaican community to an even more diverse Caribbean immigrant location in Jamaica, Queens.
Demanding and loyal customers followed the vinyl distributors to the largest New York borough.
According to Wikipedia: “In 1993, a record label was formed after the success of the retail store. It established itself as one of the first and largest independent record labels for reggae and dancehall…by the early 2000s, the label achieved worldwide success for artists such as Sean Paul through the label’s deals with other major record companies.”
They amassed a stable that included Luciano, Buju Banton, Morgan Heritage, Dennis Brown, Sean Paul, Beres Hammond, Gregory Isaacs, Beenie Man, Wayne Wonder, Frankie Paul, Nadine Sutherland, Elephant Man, Michigan & Smiley, Sugar Minott, Yellowman, Byron Lee and virtually every major recording reggae artist from the island.
Unfortunately in 2003, her co-founder, longtime partner and spouse died at age 65.
However, by that time, the couple had schooled their son Christopher to represent the company as chief executive officer and groomed his brother Randy to preside over its daily operation.
Together the triumvirate continued the legacy with confidence that when it comes to reggae music VP was “strictly the best.”
The matriarch describes herself as the principal.
“To tell the truth, I always found Miss Pat to be the one I could talk to about everything,” Jah Paul Haughton, a customer and avowed Rastafarian said, “I talk to her regularly about my ambition as an artist, my family, my sons and almost everything…she always take time out to listen.”
Haughton added “When she got her O.D (order of distinction) she did not act stushie or big-headed she was still humble.”
“And she always support worthy causes,” he added.
Since receiving the sixth highest honor from Jamaica, Miss Pat has added numerous awards to her treasure trove – many of them unprecedented for her gender and trailblazing expertise in the field of entertainment.
With reggae and dancehall music blazing the trail, the Chin trio expanded the catalogue to include calypso, soca and Africa-oriented music.
Now staples in their inventory, the outlet has surpassed its initial claim of being “Miles Ahead in Reggae Music.”
In 2015, VP Records marked their 35th anniversary with a massive concert staged during the Central Park Summerstage concert season.
In addition to presenting performances by Maxi Priest, Gyptian, Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann Lyons and Massive B, the label boasted a vintage photographic exhibition that touted the journey years from Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, Queens.
Allegedly, VP has offices in New York, Florida, London, Kingston, Tokyo, Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro. Additionally, the label is reported to have established a presence in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Accompanied to the event by her son Christopher, the CEO, Miss Pat, the principal, a frequent traveler and world renowned entrepreneur is now celebrating the month and the fact she is Jamaica’s 2018 International Women’s Day award recipient.
“To be recognized for my work over the last 60 years makes me very happy.”
Catch You On The Inside!