Gabrielle Querrard: The Digital Griot of Virgin Islands’ Soul

A people with no knowledge of their history is like a tree with no roots, growing nowhere fast.

These words embody the spirit of Gabrielle Querrard, an ancestral Virgin Islander who serves as a modern griot for her community. Born and raised in St. Thomas, Gabrielle has dedicated her life to recounting and reinventing the Virgin Islands’ cultural narrative. By marrying the ancient art of storytelling with the power of digital media, she seeks to awaken a community to its roots and branches.

The Birth of a Modern Cultural Historian

“It was in this opportunity that a deep love for my heritage formed, and a deep knowing that I needed to protect it at all costs.”

Gabrielle’s relationship with history and culture began in her childhood, with a father keen on preserving local history and a mother who was a culinary traditionalist. By the time she attended All Saints Cathedral School, her destiny had already begun under the mentorship of Annie Smith, Gabrielle’s love for her heritage transformed into an imperative to protect it.

Today, she considers herself more than a mere history enthusiast. Gabrielle’s work as a content creator isn’t about presenting a series of facts but a kaleidoscopic view of how history, policy, and current events intersect. She believes culture is a living entity, morphing and adapting as it receives stimuli. For Gabrielle, this makes her not just a historian but a modern cultural navigator.

An Island on the Cloud: The Digital Homestead

Everyone should have access to understanding their history and culture; I believe my videos bridge the information gap in a way that has never been done before in our community.

Gabrielle Querrard’s digital space is an extension of her community. Her work in content curation aims to make the Virgin Islands’ history and culture not only more accessible but also more interactive. Through her videos, she packages heritage and traditions into a digital format, bridging an information gap. As someone who believes deeply in the collective consciousness, her aspiration is for her digital platform to inspire Virgin Islanders to engage in their community actively, be it through discourse, voting, activism, or service.

“I try to bring balance to uplifting the cultural values that support unity while also offering extensive dialogue around the cultural values that breed exclusion.”

One of the most poignant aspects of Gabrielle’s work is its commitment to bridging cultural divides. The Virgin Islands is a melting pot, but Gabrielle reminds us that even a melting pot has distinct flavors. Her work highlights these unique tastes while simultaneously fostering unity. She aims to unite generations and ethnicities in the Virgin Islands through compassion and accountability into one complex but harmonious culture.

Despite an overwhelmingly supportive community, Gabrielle faces challenges, especially when she addresses sensitive issues like gentrification. Yet she remains undeterred. If anything, pushback only adds fuel to her fire. When people question her accent or criticize her appearance, she finds the commentary irrelevant, refusing to engage in frivolous online disputes. Instead, she doubles down on her mission: to educate, inform, and unite her community around their shared history and culture.

When I receive this pushback, I am inspired to talk even louder about these issues and create even more content that explores these very real issues within our community.

The Pulse of the Virgin Islands: Future Ventures

“We create meaningful dialogue which supports a comprehensive understanding of our history and culture, offers new perspectives to ongoing challenges within our community, and envisions our Virgin Islands future which supports our individual and collective wellbeing as Virgin Islanders.”

Already a trendsetter, Gabrielle has not stopped looking forward. She recently worked with rising Roc Nation artist Maeta on her new album as a location scout and photography assistant. As if this weren’t exciting enough, Gabrielle also has a new podcast launching in August, co-hosted and co-produced by Sarah Ann Mitchell and Hannah Kennedy. Aptly named “By Deh Bayside,” this new venture aims to offer long-form discussions on nuanced topics centered around the Virgin Islands

Beyond the realm of the digital, Gabrielle manages Saje Sanctuary, a metaphysical shop where she nurtures another facet of community well-being. From aura readings to a comprehensive apothecary, Saje Sanctuary offers a holistic health approach to locals, adding another layer to her multi-dimensional engagement with the community.

“It is in this space that I am able to explore my spiritual self as well as support my community in exploring theirs.”

The Unfinished Story

Gabrielle Querrard’s work is a beautiful paradox. By looking back, she propels her community forward. Her digital spaces are not merely platforms; they are digital homesteads where Virgin Islanders can find a piece of home, no matter where they are in the world. In Gabrielle’s story, we find an intricate weaving of the past, present, and future—a tapestry that not only displays the vivid hues of Virgin Islands culture but also adds new threads to an ongoing cultural narrative.

So, when someone asks, “Who is Gabrielle Querrard?” The answer is multi-faceted: She is a modern cultural historian, a digital griot, a community bridge-builder, and most importantly, an unapologetic Virgin Islander crafting a new testament for her people’s culture. She’s not just telling stories; she’s changing the very fabric of the tale.

Gabrielle Querrard is a social media content creator and culture bearer from St. Thomas, USVI.
Gabrielle Querrard
Instagram @gabriellequerrard
Twitter @gquerrard

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