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From fashion to food, Jamaican pride on full display across New York City as island celebrates 60 years of independence

Jamaican pride in New York City
Jamaican pride in New York City 03:11

NEW YORK -- Jamaican pride is on full display throughout New York City and the world as this year marks 60 years since the island gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

CBS2's Lisa Rozner spoke to some New Yorkers who are taking the milestone seriously and honoring their heritage in a big way.

Designer and Jamaica native Terese Brown's newest collection includes some personal touches in the pattern.

"This is lignum vitae flower, hibiscus flower," she explained. "What the print symbolizes is taking all the national symbols with the doctor bird, the ackee fruit, the hibiscus and the lignum vitae flower and merge it into one print ... I'd been missing home and just wondering how I could get back. How could I connect with a land I love so much?"

After a successful year collaborating with major partners like Macy's, she wanted to mark her own milestones and Jamaica's.

On Aug. 6, the country marked 60 years of independence. Until 1962, for 300 years, it had been under British control.

Brown moved from a small town called Lucea between Negril and Montego Bay to the Bronx at 7 years old. She recently learned her late great grandmother may have been a freed slave.

"I want people to know that Jamaica is a land of abundance. We are a resilient people. We jokingly say we know how to make something out of nothing and we always find a way," she said. "And there's a saying that we use a lot, and you'll hear it, when people say, 'If you want good, your nose will have to run.' Meaning, like, if you want good things in life, you have to work hard, you have to sacrifice and you'll get there. And I believe that's what I'm doing with my line."

Brown says she also wants to address the poverty in Jamaica, and she hopes to create a foundation to help Jamaican students who are interested in design pursue their dreams.

RELATED STORY: Bronx celebrates 60th year of Jamaica's independence

The country's independence can also be celebrated through food.

"Because Jamaica is a food culture, is a cooking culture, so, you know, you're always forced to get in the kitchen at a young age," said Chef Andre Fowles, a native of Kingston.

Fowles, the culinary director for Miss Lily's 7A in the East Village, invited Rozner into the restaurant's kitchen, explaining, "So here we have a beautiful red snapper, and we're going to do a escovitch fish, which is pretty much one of our most traditional dishes."

He says his grandmother was his greatest influence.

"She's very rooted in the traditions of Jamaica," he said. "For instance, when she makes rice and peas, she'll get the dried beans and she'll soak it for 24 hours."

He says any time he comes into Lily's, it's a celebration of home. The restaurant has a global menu infused with Jamaican ingredients.

For the jubilee, Fowles cooked up some jerk chicken.

"It's a celebration of coming into our own as a people, having control over what we wanna do with our future," he said. "It's just a really magical experience. It's a complete sensation of, just like, the people, the energy, the music, the food, the ambiance."

A future that looks so bright, you can taste it.

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