TODAY’S FUTURE – Black belt, actor, DJ Chrispen
Name: Chrispen Hackett.
Education: University of the West Indies, Cave Hill; Barbados Community College; Deighton Griffith Secondary; The Alexandra School; Charles F. Broome Primary.
Qualifications: MSc in tourism and events management (candidate); BA in linguistics (Hons); Associate degree in mass communication.
Occupation: Acting sub lieutenant, actor, tour guide, entrepreneur, karate instructor and deejay.
If you opened a magazine and saw a short paragraph summarizing who Chrispen Hackett is, what would it say?
Versatile, creative, talented, this young gentleman has gained the discipline he has from his martial arts career, which he embarked on 15 years ago as a student. Today that career has progressed to being student, instructor and owner of the Jordan Hackett Kempo Karate School.
He has found time to pursue his academic goals, having gained a diploma in radio and television broadcast, an Associate degree in mass communications from the Barbados Community College, and a Bachelor’s in linguistics from the University of the West Indies. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in tourism and events management.
In the creative arts, he first broke into the acting arena in 2006 with the self-penned piece JC Penny, which earned him a NIFCA Silver Award and two other incentive awards. This is testimony to this young actor’s quest for greater things. This transferred on to the Laff It Off stage where he has been one of the cast members for the last eight years.
More recently he is known as Rum And Koke. When not acting or training, you can find him executing his disc jockey skills at a number of corporate events and hotels, or teaching the popular wuk-up class called Lights Out.
What drives you and keeps you motivated? What’s always at the forefront of your mind?
Life is too short. Do what you want, when you want and how you want (within reason, of course). I always think about where I want to reach and that keeps me motivated.
Choose four words that best describe you.
Fun, caring, intuitive, respectable.
Why did you choose to pursue an Associate degree instead of going to a sixth form school?
Firstly, I was ready to be out of the secondary school environment; and, secondly, I wanted to study something which was more aligned with my personality. Hence, mass communication.
When did your love for stage and acting start?
In 2006 when I first entered NIFCA; but it really then started to grow even more in 2008 when I started with Laff It Off.
In 2006 and 2007 you won NIFCA Silver Awards and two other NIFCA Incentive Awards in theatre. What motivated you to enter the NIFCA competition?
When for the first time in 2006 I entered the competition with the piece JC Penny, it was actually a by-the-way type of situation.
A friend of mine had told me that I am a real idiot (she meant it in a good way –– I hope) and that I should be in acting or enter NIFCA. I then went the next week and signed up for it. The rest is history.
In 2008 you were successful again at NIFCA, winning a Bronze Award in theatre, along with the Barbados National Trust Heritage Focus Award and the Most Promising Theatre Piece. What was the title of the piece you entered and was it about?
The title of that piece was A Bajan Symphony. It was done along with my dad Carson Hackett, and it was a story based on a number of key Bajan words. The difference with that piece was that it was one that also allowed the audience to be a part of it as well.
Have you had professional training in stage acting, and do you write all of your pieces?
I have never done any professional training in stage acting or anything as such. Many persons believe that, but it is actually quite the opposite. I have however learnt a lot through Laff It Off from Cecily Spencer-Cross, Peta Alleyne and Tony Thompson.
I am not a big writer, but I have written a few things before.
Rum And Koke has taken social media by storm. You and Simon Alleyne seem to mesh really well. Where did the concept come from, and what may we expect for Rum And Koke in 2016.
Simon and I do mesh really well, and this has been a blessing for us. In terms of the concept, I would say that it was something which we kind of created on the spot while fooling around, as usual.
I am Rum (because I am brown-skinned) and obviously he is Koke as he is darker. However, once you mix rum and a Coke, it becomes a new drink. Therefore, we are bringing a fresh flavour to Barbados.
There are a lot of big things to come from Rum And Koke in 2016 (we don’t want to let the cat out of the bag yet –– well, depending on the type of cat it is); but check us out on Facebook and YouTube as Rum And Koke Barbados.
You have conquered the stage and are doing well in short films online. Are movies and TV series next on the horizon for Chrispen?
TV series and movies are on the horizon; and hopefully someday it may be possible.
Which Hollywood movie did you wish you were the main actor in?
It would be The Hangover or The Other Guys.
If you could be a superhero, which one would you be?
I am a superhero. They call me Trident Man.
If you were marooned on an island, what three things would you have wished to have with you?
Toilet paper, rum and a calendar.
You are a fourth degree black belt with the Universal Kempo Karate. Have you won any major titles locally, regionally or internationally? And have you had the privilege of representing Barbados outside the region?
I have competed in a number of tournaments in Barbados and Trinidad . . . . I have won a number of trophies and medals in point sparring, grappling, Kata and weapons categories.
Since opening my own karate school with Richard Jordan, I have now focused more on my students. One of our greatest achievements to date is that while in Las Vegas at our annual convention. Out of over 100 schools, we won Most Outstanding School in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Over the past nine years, you have served as senior head instructor and co-owner of the Jordan/Hackett Kempo Karate School. What inspired the move to entrepreneurship? And does the school cater to all age groups?
Well, there are certain criteria, which must be met in order to open a karate school. Having met the criteria at an early age, Richard and I always saw ourselves in the same light as our instructors Chetwyn Medford and Sean Mottley. Therefore, we decided to start our own school.
The school has about 80 students at the moment and we cater from ages four and up. We teach adults as well, and we are preparing to travel to Las Vegas in June, 2016, for our annual seminar.
The Jordan Hackett Kempo Karate School is located at Deighton Griffith School (which is also the school Richard and I attended).
Back in 2010 you joined the Barbados Defence Force and you are currently attached to the Barbados Coast Guard as and acting sub lieutenant. What motivated you to join the Reserves, and have you done any specialized training as an officer?
Military involvement runs in my family, with my uncle Algernon Hackett being in the BDF in the 1970s, my father being Lieutenant Commander Carson Hackett and my godfather, former Deputy Chief of Staff Commander David Dowridge. It was a natural for me, and having come through Cub Scouts, Sea Scouts and Cadets, there was no doubt I would become a part of the BDF.
Since joining the Barbados Coast Guard in 2010, I have done training in basic seamanship, navigation, range conducting officer duties, urban search and rescue –– just to name a few.
From a BA in linguistics to a MSc in tourism and events management. Why tourism and events management?
I chose the field of tourism due to how dynamic it can be and also because I believe it lends to my type of personality, which is very outgoing and creative. Tourism is an area that I believe I can make great contribution to and aid in taking Barbados forward to the next level.
Who has contributed to your success?
A number of people have contributed to my success, and those persons know who they are as I keep them very close to me.
What’s next for Chrispen?
The next phase for me is to continue learning, and to do the best I can in whatever I align myself with.
(If you are a young Barbadian professional, or know of any other worthy of being highlighted for their amazing contribution, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org)