Just two weeks into his new gig, the new host of The Morning Brew, Jason “JW” Williams has brought a lot of excitement to the show.
His debut on September 6 got immediate attention from the United National Congress (UNC), with the opposition party questioning his ability to be objective as he had been a People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate in the 2020 general election. Within days there was an announcement from the UNC that none of their representatives would appear on the show.
Amid all that controversy, JW chose to focus on the task at hand.
“I just focused on my task, focused on the interviews and kept that in the background, and come up bright and spritely,” he said.
Then came week two which “snowballed into this whole Nicki Minaj excitement.” JW gave his take on the issue in a monologue which quickly went viral on Twitter, with positive responses pouring in from the United States and even further afield.
He said he was prompted to share his views on Minaj’s COVID vaccine claims because of the attention it was bringing to this country.
“I mean she is extremely talented, born in Trinidad and Tobago. For better or for worse, she still put us on the map. I thought it was my right to defend it and show that we are no laughing stock,” he explained.
“Don’t bring that kind of pappy show to T&T. I just talk about us in a good light and I put us up on the mountain top.”
The buzz has only increased around JW and The Morning Brew since then. Apart from his video clip being shared widely across social media, it has also brought him some unexpected opportunities, including a guest appearance on The Daily Show hosted by comedian Trevor Noah.
The connection was made after Noah sent out a request through a WhatsApp group in LA to get in touch with JW. One of the members of the group, Darius Marcellin, put the producers of The Daily Show in touch with JW.
Once contact was made, JW was sent a script and asked to add his Trini flavour to an ad for erectile dysfunction—or a flat tyre as it is referred to in the skit.
Even after he submitted the voice note, JW admitted: “Only when I look at the show and actually saw it, I was like ‘Wow.’ I still had some kind of doubt. It’s not that I am not optimistic. I felt happy mostly for the show, that the show was featured. What we do here could resonate and create waves across the world.”
The new host of the Morning Brew Jason Williams.
As the new host of The Morning Brew, JW said he is focused on adding his distinctive style to the popular morning show. Previous hosts included Hema Ramkissoon and Natalie Legore and there were recent brief stints by Jessie-May Ventour and Soyini Grey.
“I love the new set. I love the fact that we have the Zoom wall. We utilising technology and creating a whole different energy and feel in the morning,” he said.
Although most of his working life is spent in the limelight, in his personal life JW is very different. He describes himself as very laid back and quiet.
“I tend to retreat. I am an outdoor, laid back kind of guy. I like my sports too, but generally very quiet. People feel I am this active, kicks man,” he said.
JW joins The Morning Brew with a track record of more than 20 years as a media professional. He describes his new job as “me coming back to what was my original introduction into media which is television.”
He pointed out: “I actually started my career at 17 hosting Party Time on TTT in 1997. I started radio in July 1998.”
From there he went on to host live events such as School Soca Monarch, in addition to stints on the party and club circuit, although he said his preference was cultural events.
He was approached by producer Lisa Wickham to be a co-host of the television programme series E-Zone, freelanced as a presenter for Synergy TV and hosted his primetime programme, Synergy Nights.
Later he explored his musical options, doing his recording in 2001, a song called No Response.
“It was more for fun back then,” he said.
Later on, JW joined forces with Ancil “Blaze” Isaac Jr and they started recording together in 2007.
Their musical collaborations included Eat Ah Food,
Bamsiology and Work and, at the insistence of Blaze, started entering competitions. “He had a more businesslike approach and decided we should enter Soca Monarch which was something I had never done,” he recalled. “We entered that first time, actually made it to the finals but we came last, we came dead, dead last.”
The duo’s big taste of success came in 2010 with their soca hit Palance which brought them the Soca Monarch and Road March titles.
JW also made a brief foray into politics, first as a PNM senator and then as the party’s San Juan/Barataria candidate in the 2020 general election. He lost to UNC candidate Saddam Hosein.
How JW is back on familiar media ground, albeit in a new role. Looking ahead, he said: “I look at my career as every day I turn a page and ever so often chapters come up and I turn the chapter. I think me coming on The Morning Brew is the turning of a chapter and I think and I am eager to see where this journey takes me and The Morning Brew and the company as a whole.
“I think it’s going to be a good, good ride.”