By Anastasia Coulson-Gagnon
Tuesday’s winter storm hit hard and was quite nasty, but social media hit back harder, and happier.
CP24 news anchor, Brandon Gonez, was reporting live downtown Toronto early Tuesday morning. With the winter storm in full effect, Gonez said this in his cast:
“We are experiencing the tip of a massive winter storm that will pack a dutty, or if you wanna call it dirty, punch, right across the GTA.”
For those of you who are unaware, ‘dutty’ is Jamaican Patois for the word ‘dirty’.
Toronto viewers were quick to pick up on Gonez’s Jamaican vibes.
Never thought I'd hear Patois in the local weather forecast 😂 pic.twitter.com/JLwJn9rYMp
— star • gyal (@beequammie) February 12, 2019
On Twitter, user @beequammie posted a video recapping Gonez’s newscast. Tweeting the video along with the caption, “Never thought I’d hear Patois in the local weather forecast.” With her tweet gaining thousands of views and likes, a viral star was born.
#DUTTYSTORM was blasted all over social media. From Instagram posts and stories to Twitter hashtags, everyone was buzzing about Gonez’s ‘dutty’ storm.
Famous Toronto Instagram account that has over 800k followers, @6ixbuzztv, featured another clip of the video in a post on their account. Captioning it “@brandongonez This is my new favorite CP24 Man.” The video was uploaded yesterday and as of today, has over 370k views and over 64k likes.
“Is it very viral?” Gonez asked during an interview with Skedline.com. “It’s kind of surreal to be honest, it doesn’t actually feel real because, I don’t know, it’s just something where these are the kind of conversations, and I don’t want to say it was a slip-up, but, I just try to act myself as much as I can on air.”
Gonez’s down-to-earth attitude has gained him thousands of followers on Instagram. From 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Gonez’s Instagram following went from 5,400 to 10.6k.
“It felt just like a normal thing,” Gonez said on his now famous phrasing, “I never expected that it would create this much social buzz. It’s pretty insane. It really shows that no matter how massive this city is, or even the GTA, social media can really bring people together.”
Instagram user Jerimi Jones (@jermijones) posted a video that includes Gonez in a highlight spotlighting Black History Month in Canada.
Gonez was surprised and grateful to have been included in the video.
While discussing Black History Month, Gonez said that he has always looked up to fellow journalists Dwight Drummond, Marci Ien, and Tracy Moore. He believes they are trailblazers for black individuals in the media industry.
“I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be here, if people like them hadn’t paved the path that could lead to this,” Gonez said. “I remember watching Dwight Drummond on City News when I was growing up. He wore an earring and I thought to myself, this guy is so cool! Imagine that, seeing a reporter on the news, who’s the only black reporter, and he’s wearing an earring while he’s delivering the 6:00pm news and reporting on stories.”
Gonez has had an impressive journalism career. He has worked for Bell Media, Global News, CTV, CTV’s Your Morning, and just recently became CP24’s newest anchor. In not even a month of working for CP24, Gonez has managed to become one of their most talked anchors in Toronto.
With Toronto being such a diverse city, Gonez strongly believes it is important that Jamaican and Caribbean cultures are represented in the media.
“Jamaicans are, I feel, such a critical makeup of the GTA,” Gonez said. “Sometimes people can impersonate Patois, which is the Jamaican dialect, or not give respect to the influence that Jamaicans and Caribbean people, in general, have brought to the culture scene in Toronto.”
Every summer in Toronto, the city throws The Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival, many people refer to it as Caribana. Caribana is a festival celebrating Caribbean culture. The festival has been a Toronto tradition since the 70’s but its popularity continues to grow as the Caribbean community in Toronto grows as well.
“Caribbean people make up a significant population and have given so much to this city. I think it’s so important that we recognize that and it should be a staple on every station, not just on CP24,” Gonez said. “I mean, I always say if Toronto “Diversity Our Strength” is the motto that they are going to run by, then we need to see that reflected not just on news stations across the city but also on city councils.”
Torontos motto “Diversity Our Strength” was established in 1998 and in 2016, BBC Radio named Toronto the most diverse city in the world. According to a 2016 blogTO article, 51 percent of Toronto residents were born outside of Canada and Toronto is home to around 230 different nationalities.
Going forward, Gonez hopes that this viral buzz brings more positive attention to Torontos diverse cultures.
“I hope it normalizes stuff, I hope it normalizes people who come from cultural backgrounds,” Gonez says. “I really hope it does.”
Continuing into the week, the weather forecast is looking better. Gonez reflected back on Tuesday’s storm by saying “It truly was a dutty storm that we received, it was a dutty storm.”