Honey Jam is an all female developmental multigenre showcase. It is a platform for young women to gain exposure, education, mentoring and networking opportunities in the music industry and arts community. Along with the artist workshop and concert, they also promote women's charities and offer opportunities to female entrepreneurs. The concept was introduced to Barbados on February 20, 2011 at Pablo Donte's in Maxwell. Entitled “A Taste of Honey Jam”, the show featured all young local female artists, one performance each in a variety of genres - country, opera, folk, alternative, rnb, hip hop, rock, reggae, spoken word, jazz, gospel, etc. – a cultural potpourri. The artists were also given the opportunity to attend a free industry session to give them valuable information and advice about their careers. After the overwhelming success of the first show, the initiative has grown over the years and now the concert is a highly anticipated annual event which regularly sells out. An off shoot of Honey Jam is the First Citizens Honey Jazz Barbados Festival, another sell-out annual event taking place in January.
The Barbados initiative is based on the Honey Jam movement in Canada (see www.honeyjam.com) which boasts Nelly Furtado as their most famous alumna. Honey Jam came into existence in Toronto after founder Ebonnie Rowe produced a 3 hour radio special on Canada’s largest Hip Hop radio show in 1994 to discuss how women were portrayed in Hip Hop lyrics and videos. The discussion was precipitated by complaints from her female mentees in her Each One Teach One profession-based mentoring programme for black youth in Toronto. As a result, she was asked to edit an all-female edition of a Canadian national entertainment magazine called Mic Check. The celebration party for that issue in 1995, intended to be a one-off show, was called “Honey Jam.” The success of the show pointed to a void in the artistic community. Ebonnie was inspired, at the insistence of the audience and the artists, to keep it going and Honey Jam has grown to become a much anticipated showcase on the Canadian music calendar, running now for over 21 years. They also work with YWCA Canada and provide promotional and cash donations from their ticket sales.