Broadcasting Live With Patrick Lafayette From Jamaica To New York!

PNNscholar1 - Posted on 15 January 2019

LEROY F. MOORE JR: First, tell us about growing up in Jamaica.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Well, I am the last of four children. I have two elder brothers and one sister. I lost my sight at age 16, detached retinas. Too many dives to the deep. I was doing a lot of high diving. Too many dives to the deep. I developed that eye condition by age 16, actually, and I was operated on here in Jamaica. Then approximately eight months after that operation, I visited New York, State Medical Center. Nothing further could be done with my vision loss and all of that. I was told by the doctors there that nothing could be done. Actually, the doctor’s comment was that a butcher’s job was done on me. It was terrible, the work that was performed, and it was irreparable. With further discussion with my family members, we decided I would stay in New York and go do rehabilitation and all of that kind of stuff. I did so at Industrial Home for the Blind for nearly a year. I went through the rehabilitation. I went through a number of things. I did volunteer work there also. I did my GED there. I also did my SATs there. And after scoring decently on the SATs, I went into a pre-college program with the State Commission for the Blind, which I did a semester at Syracuse University, upstate New York. I later transferred to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York where I pursued a Bachelor’s in Communications Art. I completed that exercise in 2005. And since then, well, that exercise, it was ‘85, 1985, 1985. I beg your pardon. Since then, I’ve pursued a career in Communications Arts, in New York with a focus on production and writing for radio and television. That’s what I’ve been about for the most part of my life in terms of my career. Broadcasting is still my mainstay, my main source.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah. How did you get into broadcasting?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Well, I started initially in college, doing the college radio circuit, radio station, and all of that. But in my junior year, to do my internship, I visited Jamaica just before, actually. Just before my junior year started, I visited Jamaica for summer ’83. And while in Jamaica and listening to radio stations, I said, hey, they could use me, man! You know? I know how to do this better than these folks. And I sent out my application. One radio station got back to me, and I went in for an interview. And I told them about my internship with the college in New York and if they’d be willing to give me an internship program, you know, monitoring the whole time, and they said they would. When I went back to school, I approached a mentor at the time, and they basically approved of it. The school did. So, I started my internship in Jamaica in 1984 for a semester, and that was pretty successful, actually. So much in fact that the station that I interned with, they went through a whole change in terms of rebranding of the station, renaming it, the whole nine yards. And that was to accommodate my being there as a fresh voice with fresh presentation and kicking butt. ‘Cause I was kicking butt. And the good thing about it for me was they accommodated me as a blind person.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, good.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And the audience didn’t really know that I had a visual impairment until the station started putting out little snippets of things. And when it became known that I did have a visual problem, that was a major excitement because it was an oddity, a rare thing for a totally blind person to be doing a show on commercial radio.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Based on that also, I broke a few records. I was working five days a week, four hours a day for the station. And every hour of every day that I worked was sponsored by a different sponsor, known as the as every hour I had a different sponsor in that part of radio in Jamaica, that was called, where you have every hour, every day that you work sponsored by a different sponsor. So, that was an achievement.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: I’ve since been working with various other stations because of my production work and the production that have been [unclear] satellite radio, the BBC, and a few other college stations. And because of my association with radio and the music industry, particularly the music that’s indigenous to Jamaica—reggae music—and the Caribbean, because of my input into that industry, I have met a number of people that have graced me with their story also, through interviews. And what I’ve started to do is produce these stories, these interviews into features, and they have been aired again, as I say, by XM satellite. The BBC has aired a number of them. The Jamaican government has taken a coupple of them, and they aired them during President Obama’s inauguration at the Jamaican consulate embassy in Washington, 2008.

In 1989, I was introduced to Job Access with Speech. It was version 1.7 at that time, very early. Now they’re on version 18, as you may know. And that changed my life, to be honest with you, getting access to computers, hence the world, yeah?


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And starting off with JAWS, I fell in love with bulletin boards, electronic bulletin boards.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: What was that?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: You know about electronic bulletin boards, right?

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: BBS, those, before the days of Internet.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And I developed my own BBS system, working with many other BBSers out there. And later on, I was introduced to mobile access. That first was Mobile Speak, the Mobile Speak software. That was over a Nokia phone with a Symbian system. It was my first introduction to voiceover on a mobile phone. I must tell you, by the way, in 1989 when I was first introduced to JAWS screen reader, after I got the knowledge, I visit Jamaica, and I started teaching at the Society for the Blind in Jamaica for free to educate the blind community in Jamaica about screen reading technology.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Because they had no idea about this, yeah? So, in a way, I’ve been responsible for educating most of the major computer users in Jamaica at this time.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And later on, in 2004, I brought the Mobile Speak technology also to Jamaica. In 2013, when I had my first iPhone—wow, it’s only five years now? Yeah, 2013 when I had my first iPhone—I migrated from a Symbian system. You can imagine the first thing that that did for me, that was like, wow! Pulled me out to a large step there.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Oh, yeah. You could do so many more stuff with an iPhone than you could with the Mobile Speak.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, yeah, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And again, I went back to Jamaica to educate and give the technology to the blind community there. So, it’s been a step on the stage for me that whenever I do acquire knowledge in certain areas of accessibility, it’s always a pleasure to pass it on, period. Because as you know, as a member of a challenged community, oftentimes, things are denied us, yeah?

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And I believe that each one, teach one. And if we can come together and combine our resources, our knowledge and share it, it helps to empower others like ourselves. And the more we can make the “normal community” know and understand our own capabilities and things that we can accomplish, the better it is for us in the long run because of acceptance in the marketplace, in the business realm, and in just regular day-to-day life in our relationship with other folks.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah, yeah. So, are also a musician. As a Black disabled man, I love Israel Vibration and their story.


LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah, I love them. So, are your favorite musicians and why? And describe your music to us.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Well, you just mentioned Israel Vibration, man. I’m impressed. I’m really impressed! I’m a lover of all kind of music. Because it’s a great equalization  that it transcends all boundaries, yeah? There’s no language barrier. I mean I see a popular English song, let’s say Bob Marley’s One Love being sung by people that don’t speak a word of English. They can sing it. And that says a lot for music and the power of music. For me, wow. I’m a lover, not a fighter. So, I love that kind of love presentation, that productive sound: artists like Sade that borders on R&B, jazz, and pop. I love Sade’s music. I love Anita Baker’s music. I love the music of Sting, The Police. I love Foreigner. I love Journey. I love Jimmy Cliff. I love Bob Marley. I love James Brown. I love Coltrane, you know? Music doesn’t stop for me. It’s that form of expression, and it’s a beautiful form of expression. And being totally blind, I must tell you, music for me is more than just the sound. It’s also a color. It’s also a smell. It’s also a taste. So, each chord has its own color, its own flavor, its own smell. And when you combine all of these to make music, it’s a very exciting, stimulating thing for me, basically.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Mm, yeah. Wow.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And they say music soothes the savage beast. So, you know.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Wow. Tell us about the obstacles for disabled people in Jamaica.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: A lot of it, access. Access to services and most especially for children where you have early intervention, that’s needed. Because you know, with early intervention, when you can identify certain things that’s wrong with the child, for want of a better world, but early intervention, at least you can take steps to help to correct or help the individual, yeah? And I think a lot of that access, the early acceptance, the access therapists like speech therapy, mobility. I’ve involved myself with several of the organizations that deal with all the parents with disabilities other than blindness. There’s the Nathan Ebanks Foundation that deals with children with cerebral palsy here. I’m associated with that organization as well as others. I’ve been [unclear] to a number of Boards, so I’m a Board member for a number of organizations in the island also. They’ve used me as their unofficial ambassador to basically help with the outreach programs and stuff like that. But because I have a big voice, I talk a lot, so I sometimes represent with voice the various NGOs and such. As for services though, it’s a little bit rough for the disabled community in Jamaica and the Caribbean, not necessarily here, but the whole, it’s a regional thing.

Another major factor in the disparity of disabled life is employment because you will have disabled people who are quite capable of performing the function that would be required for the job, but you first have to get over the stereotype that is associated with the disability. People will require you to prove yourself more than the average Joe, and you’ll have to do so all the time. It’s not just a one-time affair. You’ll always have to be proving yourself as capable of doing what you need to do. So, these are some of the barriers: employment and of course, relationship. Because oftentimes, it’s how we see ourselves, yeah? And if we see ourselves in a certain light, and we feel [unclear] our own condition, and we decide to live with the stereotype that people place on us, then of course we’re gonna get the sort of reaction from people that we get. But if we then choose to change our circumstances and go and meet the challenges, equip ourselves with the technology if we can and the knowledge and then excel in our realm of whatever we have to do and then actually seek to find employment, all we need to do sometimes is just get the opportunity to prove what we can do. And if we get that platform, we should make the best use of it as possible.

This is not the time and place in this world now for us to feel sorry for ourselves as people with challenges. What we need to do is to look at the changing world and see how we too can change, retool ourselves, re-educate ourselves, and apply ourselves. The traditional way of employing blind people have been things like telephone operators, physiotherapists, basket weavers, etc., etc. You know the routine.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: In a digital world, there’s room for content providers, bloggers, website builders, website maintaining people. There’s so much we can do without having to leave our homes, our place of comfort and security. So, it is for us then to do the research because we can’t rely on people to do it for us. They won’t know our exact reach. They won’t know how far we can go with what we can do unless we tell them or show them. So, it’s left to us basically to meet these challenges individually and prove ourselves.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah. Totally agree. Totally agree. Tell us more about your radio show.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Ah! I told you I started radio in 1984, working for a commercial radio station. In fact, I started with them in 1984. In 1989, I started with another radio station, and in 2001, I started with another. I’ve been a starter for people. Whenever they wanna start their radio station with a bang, they’ll call for me. After losing my brother, my second brother, three boys one girl, well, the second boy, he died in 2013. He was a computer genius. He was a music collector. And in order of his name, I decided to put together an Internet station. His name was Chris, and Christopher would make CDs and tapes for his friends. And so, if he made it with R&B, that would be an R&B CD. He would call it a Chris Mix Soul or Chris Mix R&B. So hence, when I put the station together, this Internet station, I called it Chris Mix Radio. And a great part of the reason why I put this radio station together: his friend, very close friends—you know they say you don’t pick your family, but you pick your friends—his close friends who are his brothers, they were devastated by his loss. So, in order to keep them out of depression and all of that, I put the station together, and I invited them to come and be a part of it where they would play their music as collectors themselves, of music. And the four of them, they were happy to do so. Now, keep in mind, I too am a broadcaster as well as a producer. So, when I applied my own skills to the production and the development of the Internet radio station, it started taking on a personality.

I associated myself with other similar entities: a dear friend of mine, a vertan broadcaster from New York. Her name was Francine Chin, and she’s worked from WLIV, WBLS. She was off radio for a while, and I encouraged her to do an Internet station also. She did. And in doing so, she introduced me to other Internet station broadcasters, and we then formed a network together. We called ourselves the Worldwide Radio Network, and what we would do, we would carry each other’s signal. Let’s say you were broadcasting from 1:00 – 3:00 on your station. I would carry your signal. So would the other guys. We’d broadcast you over our station, and you in turn would carry me at 6:00. So, we carry each other as content. Now, the last station I worked with in Jamaica that started in 2001, they approached me based on my content and said, “How about you like to provide content in Jamaica?” I said, “Really?” So, for the past year and a half, two years, that’s what my station has been doing. Every Friday night, Jamaica plugs into my station for eight hours, from 9:00 pm to 9:00 am.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: So, I don’t hog it. I do the first hour—I’m still the anchor station—I do the first hour, and then the second hour, I pull in my girlfriend’s station in New York. The third hour, I pull in another friend’s station, Foundation Radio from Florida. The fourth hour, I pull a station in from London, and I give London two hours. So, what I’ve been doing is feeding Jamaica with diaspora information. I plug in where they carry me and my community [unclear], like New York, Florida, England. And I’m looking now at Toronto and a few other places where they carry and communicate. It’s dense. It’s a dense population. I’ve also associated myself with some Caribbean stations, high energy in Trinidad, Gems in the Bahamas, Treal in the Virgin Islands. We also go as far as Brazil. There’s a Brazil station involved in the mix. And at our peak, our audience is up to 518,000, at our peak.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And this is on just about four years of operation.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: That is great. That’s awesome. On that same topic, I’ve been doing radio off and on for 10 years, and now what I do is called Krip-Hop Nation. And Krip-Hop Nation is an international music network of disabled musicians. And now we have a radio station at POOR Magazine called KEXU 94.1. That’s in East Oakland. So, we would love to play your stuff on our radio station and play your music on our radio station.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: I like that. I like that.

Last year, April, someone contacted me on Messenger. Someone was trying to connect with me on Messenger. I don’t know if it’s a hoax or anything like that. So, she was quite persistent, and then she left a number. And when I called the number, she told me she was doing research from her school on disability and would I like to help her out, participate in her study. I said, “Sure, no problem with that.” She said, “OK. I’m gonna hook you up with my teacher. And are you all right with that?” I said, “No problem.” And I called the number that she gave me, and the lady that answered said, “OK. Before we move further, I would like for you to sign an NDA, a non-disclosure agreement.” I said, “Whoa. OK. This sounds heavy. Just for a little survey? OK. Go ahead.” When they sent it to me, do you know where the heading was from?



LEROY F. MOORE JR: Apple! Oh my god.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: That’s what I said. And what they wanted to do, they’d chosen me, and they would like to come and interview me and quite possibly film me in my environment.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah! I saw that video, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: I said, “Oh, wow. OK.” And they sent for my wife and kids in Jamaica, because my wife, she works in the Caribbean. She’s a journalist, and a very good one too, I must say. And they came up, and we did the filming for five days. I had like about 25 people in my space for five days. And they produced a video that was aired in May for Global Accessibility Day.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah, yeah. I saw that, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And based on that video and my association with Apple, they’ve asked me to do a number of things during that period to present. Just recently, I was invited to the Apple Store in Manhattan, SoHo, one of the larger stores, to do a presentation onstage about me and my use of the iPhone. I also introduced them to an app, a great app, that does podcasts, not just for the blind but also sighted so all of us could work together in that kind of environment called Anchor, the Anchor app, good for broadcast. And the presentation also, I debuted a song that I have written and collaborated with several other blind people. We’re all using Apple’s tools, Logic. I did the guitar track, and I sent it over to my buddy. I sent it from New York, where I’ve been in New York. I sent it to Memphis, and my buddy, Dominick, did drums on it, and he did harmony. Then I sent it to Jamaica to my buddy, Timmy who’s blind. He did bass. I sent it to my other blind buddy in London. He did piano. Another blind buddy in Colorado, he did guitar. Another blind buddy in Sweden, he did organ and harmony. And another blind dude in Yorkshire, he did horns. And a blind girlfriend, she did harmony and horns also. I did do that in the Apple presentation, and it was a smash hit. I’m finishing it now, mixing, mastering.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, really?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yeah. I’m presenting it to Apple, and hopefully, hopefully, I’m hoping that they’ll use it as a part of their promotion or marketing or what have you. Because we’re all using the tools to create the product. It’s a heck of a product too, man. It really sounds good.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, wow. That sounds really neat. Wow.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yeah. There’s a good story behind the whole coming together of everybody, you know?

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Wow. So, how can people support your work and listen to your show?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Well, I do have a website: And the website basically has all the information. I’ve just had a recent release of a reggae cover by Barry White.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, yeah?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes. Love Ain’t Easy. It appeared at #22 on the New York/Florida Caribbean chart.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, cool. I would love to play that on my radio show.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: I’ll send you a copy of that.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Thank you.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And if they search for Patrick Lafayette, either the Apple Store or Apple Music or Spotify or anyone of the platforms, it’ll come up and play.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, good, good, good. How can people support your work and listen to your show?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Well, I’m on Mondays and Tuesdays from 6:00 – 9:00 Eastern Standard Time and on Fridays from 10:00 pm all the way up to 5:00 am.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Wow, OK. I’m gonna start listening now.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes, sir. And we would love some of your material, man. Because I was checking you out. You are somebody special, man.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: No, I just— Thank you, thank you.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: You’ve been a true pioneer.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Aw, thank you.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yeah, man. I was checking you out. I said, oh, this fella is a maverick. Check him out.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Thank you, man. Thank you. Yeah, I do what’s called Krip-Hop, and Krip-Hop is an international network of disabled musicians. So, we got chapters everywhere. But I just got hooked up with a couple people from Kingston.


LEROY F. MOORE JR: So, yeah. We’re trying to do something in Kingston.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: I need to get you hooked up too, man. Oh, man. I’m glad you called me. There’s some folks I’m working with too, man, the blind folks who are brilliant, man.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, really?!

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Oh, man. These guys, you should hear them use Pro Tools and Logic and all of that.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: And these are all musicians.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Oh, brother. You should hear some of the Hip-Hop beats.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh! Please!! I would love to tune in, play their music on my radio show, or start a Krip-Hop chapter in Jamaica!

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: That’ll be great, man. These are the things we should be doing, Lee. We should be collaborating and networking.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yes, yes. I agree. I agree. I agree.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes, yes. The powers all of us, man.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yep. I agree. I agree, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: If you don’t mind, I’m gonna share your contact information with a couple of my friends.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, please, please!

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: We use TeamTalk. Are you familiar with TeamTalk.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: No. No, I’m not.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: OK, TeamTalk is an app for either Android, the IOS, or even your computer, and it’s a boot server. If you use headphones, you’ll get full stereo, and we do production there. And we’re all over the world, but we’re all in this room doing the production.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Like I could have you very clean, and if you were a singer, I could record you singing on the track that I have here.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah, I’m a poet. I’m a poet. People say I rap, but I’m really a poet.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes, yes, yes. All right. What do you use? Do you use an Android, or do you use the iPhone?

LEROY F. MOORE JR: No, I have a desktop computer, so it’s Apple. Yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes, yes. Then we can give you the information.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, good. Message me on Facebook with all the contacts.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes, I’ll send you all the info, and I’ll configure it. And once you configure and connect, then you’ll be in the chat room with all of us.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, great! Awesome!

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes, yes. You’re gonna love this, man. You’re gonna love this.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Thank you so much. This has been a great interview, so thank you.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: No, thank you, Lee. It’s a pleasure knowing you, brother. Trust me.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Aw, same here. I’m gonna play this on all my radio shows, so yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Just send me the link and everything, and I’ll be glad to be there, man.


Well, you take care.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Right now, we’re working with a young woman by the name Royka.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Let me see if I find her. Hold on a second. [Patrick’s screen reader navigates and reads the page.] I’m gonna do two things. Even though this is phone, even though this is gonna go— Let me do this. Almost there. Almost. Ah. This is a song with all eight blind folks. It’s called [unclear].

LEROY F. MOORE JR: It’s called what?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: This is us, all eight of us.

[song plays over speakerphone]

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: This is not the best medium for you to hear it. But at least you get an idea what it is.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: But it’s a bad track, Lee.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh my god. It’s so cool.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: It’s a rough track. As for Hip-Hop—

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Really? And all of you are blind?


LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh my god! I would love to play that when it’s done.

[screen reader navigating and reading]

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: As for Hip-Hop, this is about— [unclear, as screen reader is still voicing]. I’m gonna have to put it back in. But homegirl’s got a wicked track.


PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Oh, brother. Oh, no. It’s a wicked track! We got a blind rapper by the name of B-Mob.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, yeah?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: You should hear B-Mob.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, is he on Facebook?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes, he is. Yes, he is. B-Mob.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: OK, OK. I’m gonna look him up.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: I’m gonna send you some tracks too, man.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah, please. Yes! Send me some tracks, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes, I’m gonna send you some tracks. Have you recorded? You have recorded?

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Excuse me?

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: You have done recordings yourself, right?

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, oh, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Well, I’m gonna need some of them so I can play them on my station too, man.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Oh, yeah. Definitely. I can send you some .mp3s, yeah.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Let’s stay in contact, Lee.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: Yeah, yeah, let’s do that. Thank you so much.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: Well, thank you, my brother very, very, very much. God be with you. God bless you, you hear?

LEROY F. MOORE JR: OK. You too. You have a good day, man.

PATRICK LAFAYETTE: You too, brother.

LEROY F. MOORE JR: All right. Peace.


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