Award-winning and best-selling Amazon author Jenelle Simpson hails from Browns Hall, St. Catherine, Jamaica and lived most of her life in Toronto, Canada. She is known for her contagious, welcoming, devoted, inspirational and compassionate spirit, not to mention a warm smile that brightens every room she walks in. She’s the winner of Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch in 2022. A wearer of many hats, Miss Simpson is also a senior real estate law clerk specializing in condominium development and commercial transactions, an inspirational, personal development and transformational speaker and coach, co-founder and CEO of multiple businesses, founder of the Roots of Jenerational Legacy Foundation and founder and host of “Commitment To A Deceitful Liar” Podcast.
What’s was life like for you in general as a child?
My childhood was filled with intention despite all the Challenges I did not imagine I would experience. I was a happy child, loved dressing up, getting my hair done, dancing, being outside, being free and doing things that almost gave my grandma a heart attack. I was born in Browns Hall, St. Catherine, Jamaica and lived there until I was five years old. I was raised by my grandma and father, and life was easy and full of love. I was a spontaneous little girl, I was not afraid of anything.
I loved climbing trees, picking mangos, running wild and relaxing. My mom migrated to Canada, and later sponsored my brother, dad, and I to live in Canada with her when I was five years old and I must admit I was excited to meet, and get to know my mother, but the thought of leaving my grandma left my stomach in knots. When I moved to Canada, I expected life to remain the same, and for a while it did until my mom and dad separated and things changed.
My childhood changed when I had a stepdad and my uncle came to live with us. I was no longer that jovial, fun, loud, and free girl. I became afraid, mute, and self-conscious. My childhood was a rollercoaster I wished I could escape from when I moved to Canada and my mom and I did not have that mother-daughter relationship I dreamed of. I am grateful and I enjoyed my growing season though.
What do you love most about your culture and what are some things you struggle with regarding your culture?
There are so many things to love and appreciate about the Jamaican culture. The beautiful and vibrant island, the finger licking cuisine, unique art and fashion style, the diversity of musical genres around the globe, the dancing, language, and the people in general, but the stand-out features about our culture is our creative ability, loving nature, and etiquette. The ability to take anything, good or bad, and turn it into a masterpiece is authentic talent. As kids, we loved to make things out of anything.
Kites, wire-wheels, slingshots, trucks; you name it, we created it and we added a spicey twist to it. Our creative nature keeps us resilient and happy in any circumstance and the ability to stay positive and driven in spite of our lifestyles or circumstances. The creative nature to bring joy to other people’s lives even if it is with a small Jamaican phrase. The warm inclusive atmosphere, unwavering faith that all things will workout, the value of family, respect, and their protective nature, just like the nation’s motto ‘Out of Many, One People.’
Jamaica’s culture has so much to offer and many things to be grateful for; however, there is a hard shell that most are trying to strip off. I faced challenges in the Jamaica culture that I intentionally tried to block out because I was told, ‘it’s not a big deal,’ so it took me a number of years to accept that my challenges were not normal, but rather a cultural stigma that continues to be passed down because this is what was instilled in them. There is a silence culture, and ‘a child needs to stay in a child’s place.’ There’s no room and safe place to heal, because in our culture we are taught to be ‘strong’ and keep moving, and of course that’s great, but it forces you not to take a moment to create space, and actively talk about the lingering traumas, and step into the healing process. Not being able to speak about the childhood lessons and experiences that left us battling adult trauma was a challenge or me.
The protective nature chose not to protect me when I was molested by a family member, but protected my violator. Not having an outlet to talking about it was hard, because culturally it wasn’t a thing that was okay to talk about. Culturally, family business stays inside the house and should not go beyond that. The belief that because it has been in the culture for years does not mean the cycle cannot be broken and we must continue with the same patterns.
The culture has a struggle with communication, vulnerability, and understanding of mental illness. I also struggled with forming relationships, because it was instilled in me not to trust people, and people don’t have good intentions for me, and they may obeah. Now as an adult I’ve learned how to try people’s spirits and create meaningful relationships.
What were some of your biggest challenges as a youth and how did you overcome them?
Self-love and owning my voice were two of my biggest challenges as a youth. I did not know what self-love was, looked like or what it meant, and it confined me to the point that my self-confidence was non-existent. When I became an adult, I acknowledged my challenges, and accepted the challenge to do the self work I needed to in order to grow, heal, understand who I was and recognize what self-love meant and what it would look like for me.
I examined who Jenelle Simpson was, why I lacked love for self, self-confidence, and why my voice wasn’t recognizable to myself. I overcame by allowing myself to process and do the necessary work I needed to for myself.
As you navigated through your journey, how did you gain the courage tell your story and become a resource for others to heal?
I gained courage when I gained the beauty of self-love, and owning my experiences. That opened me up to embrace my purpose, and healing so that I could see God’s purpose for me to be a source and sounding board in other people’s lives. I gained courage when I separated myself from my trauma and used it as a source of motivation, and inspiration for not only myself, but others.
Have you every received back-lash or negative feedback for telling your story publicly? If so how did or do you handle that?
Recently when my grandma passed away in November 2022, my family learnt about my book and purpose growth, and I received a lot of counterattacks. I heard negative comments about me, from my mother, my aunt, and uncle and to be honest, I almost allowed it to stop me from growing, but the good feedback, and where I am heading outweighed all of it. I had to learn how to silence the noise and keep peddling.
What are some of the most significant things you hope women can learn from your story?
You were born with purpose, and you are a force that the word needs. Don’t be concerned about what the naysayers will say, because someone will always have something to say. Stay focussed on your goals, and who you are becoming. Own boldness and walk with your heads held high and shoulders firm. Own your life, healing process and overcome the silent stigma and self-limiting fear of failure and stillness by cultivating self-confidence, self-belief, and self-love, and through faith. It’s also important to understand that you don’t have to always be strong. Allow your circle to be strong for you, and lift you up when you need it.
What are some of the most significant things you hope men can learn from your story?
It is acceptable to heal and admit that you are not doing okay. It is powerful to allow yourself to be vulnerable and let people in to appreciate and be present for you. Accept help, and possibly even go to therapy or some form of rehabilitation that can help to foster your healing process and growth. We understand, we hear, we see, and we love you, and you don’t have to be afraid to show yourself even in your darkest moments. Own your story and lean on the people in your circle for understanding and grace. Men have feelings. We don’t expect you to be perfect, but we need you to heal, and understand that you are not alone despite what the world demonstrates. You are highly required, needed and you are an asset, allow us to see what’s on the inside.
What are the biggest positive takeaways that came from your triumph, and how important is it to celebrate those aspects?
My triumph is not for myself. It’s proof to others that they can accomplish all things when they do the necessary work and trust themselves. My biggest takeaways are knowing that I am inspiring other people in more than one way. Our stories are not meant to be set aside as souvenirs, but motivational stones, living determination, and sounding board for those who are still soaking in shame, silence, and don’t know where to start in their journey. I never knew how to celebrate my accomplishments, but I’ve learnt with the help of my support system, that celebrating my triumphs is a huge deal, because it’s a testament of the many trials that I have overcome, and motivation to continue to inspire hope and intention al purpose in others. It feels good to say, ‘I am doing it with no fear.’
Tell us about your children’s book! What was your inspiration behind that and what next there?
My first children’s book is titled, Misunderstood: A Big Brothers Journey. This book was inspired by my son, Rushawn Evans and daughter, Laiyah Evans.
My son and daughter asked me if I could write a book with them, so the book is co-authored by them, and it is a non-fiction which depicts what its like when an only child desires a sibling, but when they finally have one, it turns out that it’s not at all what they expected.
The book dives into how children think and how a big brother navigates this new relationship with his little sister. It speaks to the lessons in responsibility and growing pains of having a sibling, but no matter how much life changes when a sibling arrives there will always be the one thing a family needs: love.
My inspirations were my children. I want to create a legacy not just for them, but with them. Their admiration for me pushed me to go a step further, and they will always be motivation to step bigger. We have written two other children’s books together that we will be publishing soon and we are working towards creating opportunities for children to understand what building a legacy means and the importance of this is for them.
What keeps you mentally healthy and motivated daily? – And how can we keep up with your work and upcoming projects/news?
Continuing to work on myself, and being open to change keeps me mentally healthy and motivated. Seeing the impact of what I am doing on other people keeps me excited to want to do greater mentally so that they can see that there is always more. Creating a legacy that people can use for years to come is mentally and emotionally satisfying. Our generation is changing and when things are happening around us sometimes we can’t mentally function in the noise, so we have to learn to analyse our environment, and be opening to adjust it so that we can grow healthy, and be open to change.
My children challenge me to go higher and become a greater voice.
You can contact me at: