The full title of this article by Leila Cobo (Billboard) is “Meet Maluma’s Jamaican co-star: Davina Bennett rocks locks and Caribbean pride in #7DJ.” Cobo interviews Davina Bennett (former Miss Jamaica) and her role in the companion film to Maluma’s seven-song EP, Siete Días en Jamaica–Seven Days in Jamaica (#7DJ), which tracks Maluma’s trip to Jamaica and the music inspired by the island. Read the complete interview at Billboard.
Watch the 25-minute video here:
[. . .] When former Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett landed the part as the love interest in a Maluma music video, she thought she’d be taping a regular four-minute music video. Instead, she was cast as the Colombian star’s muse in #7DJ (Siete Días en Jamaica – Seven Days in Jamaica), companion film to the seven-song EP of the same name that tracks Maluma’s trip to Jamaica, in search of a spiritual rebirth.
And Bennett’s role became something far more significant than mere screen time or high-profile exposure.
“There are other music videos, but few consider, ‘Let us merge cultures, let us merge Black and white,'” says the 2017 Miss Universe runner-up. “To see Latin, reggae, dancehall, Black and white come together and create something epic like this is a whole other level.”
For Bennett, proudly representing Caribbean and Black culture is not new. In 2017, she made headlines when she took the stage at the Miss Universe pageant with an afro, her natural hair, becoming the first Black woman to be crowned among the top three to do so. In “7 Días,” she wears dreadlocks, emblematic of Jamaica, and is a constant player in a visual work that went to great lengths to stay true to the island’s roots and traditions.
“She’s not just beautiful, but a big ambassador of her own culture,” says Maluma. [. . .]
The album is called 7 Días [en] Jamaica, and it truly is an homage to Jamaica, showing so much of the island. Did it surprise you to see how prominently Jamaica is featured?
What makes it even better for me is there’s the combination of two cultures: Latin from Colombia and reggaetón and dancehall from Jamaica, and that makes it even greater. Maluma incorporates people like Ziggy Marley, Charly Black. For you to not just come to our country, but also use Jamaican creatives, a Jamaican girl, Jamaican artists — it’s not cultural appropriation, but literally paying homage. It’s not, “I’m coming to your island, taking credit and leaving.” It’s about us. It goes in-depth in terms of our culture, how we portray ourselves. Even down to the drink we have in our hand, Red Stripe, is unique to the Caribbean.
Your hairdos are incredible. Tell me about them?
We decided to do locks [dreadlocks], which is a great representation. We are Rastafarian. Mellisa Dawkins, my hair stylist, would come up with these ideas on the spot. This woman just transformed each look into something amazing. It was such a great representation in my country. Locks are discriminated [against] in many places. And to show locks can be styled, they can be elegant, flirty — it’s something I’m extremely proud of.
There was a highly publicized case of locks and discrimination in Jamaica recently, right?
Last year there was a discrimination case in Jamaica, because a little girl went to school with her locks and she was sent home. This is a big slap in the face. We are known for our locks. If you’re going to send a girl home for wearing locks, you might as well spit on us. So to be able to be on a [major] platform and use locks is a big deal, not just as a Jamaican woman but as a Caribbean woman. I hope this will tell people: “It’s not OK to discriminate against natural hair.” Because it is natural hair. And it’s a disgrace that today you would tell someone you can’t wear your hair like that. [. . .] For full interview, see https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/latin/9520080/davina-bennett-interview-maluma-video-star