Photo: Berne in costume for his most recent acting project, in which he plays the role of a police officer
BELIZE CITY, Wed. Nov. 9, 2022
Belizean-born artist and actor Berne Velasquez visited our newsroom yesterday to give an overview of his current endeavors in Mexico. Velasquez is currently one of the highest-selling Belizean recording artists. When he returned to Belize after being deported from the United States in 2008, he started on his path as an artist, branched off into acting – being cast in four featured films shot in Belize—and now he is continuing a three-year tour of Latin America. He has been based in Mexico since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the pandemic forced us all to socially distance ourselves and limit our movement, Velasquez had a fan base of considerable size—with hundreds of persons seeking to purchase his CDs and DVDs. He said that the experience is a dream come true and attributes his achievements in both Belize and now in Mexico to hard work and persistence.
Referring to his efforts to reach a larger market of potential fans and supporters, Velasquez said, “I traveled all the way down south, starting from Argentina and worked my way all the way back up.” “And then I traveled up to Mexico, and it was overwhelming, so much so that I was surprised by myself. I’m like, wow, you have 200 and 300 people di try to buy your CD and nobody nuh even know you, breda; you know how lucky you, you know how bless you,” he said.
He said he had to videotape those occasions to ensure he had proof of the enthusiasm of his fan base, since he thought nobody would believe those stories. Those videos led to the production of the documentary-style movie, Broken Dreams. That project gave a glimpse of his time in Mexico, during which he sold CDs on the street to hundreds of people, was arrested by Mexican police for drawing a crowd, and performed for up to 80,000 people at a concert.
Velasquez, in his comments to us, urged Belizean artists to take up their craft wholeheartedly and be persistent in order to see the results. In regard to the widely held view that Belizeans do not support the craft of their local artists, Velasquez says that is untrue. He expressed gratitude to Belizeans for their tremendous support.
“A lot of Belizeans see it as Belizeans don’t really support Belizeans; yes they do. Because you don’t get deported with house, boat, trucks—you understand what I’m saying? So Belizeans did that; Belize people did that. I can’t tell you the amount of people who say ‘Berne, I nuh really into that kinda a music weh you really do, breda, but I wa support you, so I di buy yo whole collection, cause I want to support’,” Velasquez said, adding that the support has been moving, and has pushed him to work harder in the industry.
“How you wah tell me the people nuh supportive. These people are overwhelmingly supportive, and I’m the proof of it,” he said.
At this time, he says that he is still very much engaged in music but has taken up more acting roles lately—even being featured in commercials for some top brands, and working on features and short films. His life experiences and the path he embarked on has led him to where he is now, he says, and a key to the success has been hard work and persistence, despite the challenges.
You can find his content and get updates on his work on his YouTube channel, Berne TV, and on various social media platforms.