There’s no doubt that Patricia ‘Miss Pat’ Chin, co-founder, and president of VP Records, has played an influential role in helping Jamaica’s unique music reach the global stage.
Miss Pat immeasurable contribution to reggae was honored recently at the UBS stadium in Long Island, where she accepted York College’s first-ever Presidential Medal from President Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes.
Her history is storied and indicative of a time when immigrants to the US ensured that they would be successful after choosing a new home. In the 1950s, Vincent and Patricia Chin got their start at Randy’s Record Mart by reselling used records out of their shop at 36 East Street in Kingston, Jamaica.
Miss Pat and her husband would go on to become two of the first people to produce, manufacture, and sell local artists to Jamaican audiences, including artists like John Holt, Alton Ellis, and Lord Creator.
At the start of the business, Vincent worked for Isaac Issa, stocking new records into jukeboxes and gathering the records he took out. This was the humble start to what would grow into one of the world’s most successful and largest reggae record companies.
The dynamic duo went on to create ‘Studio 17’ in 1968, which would also become one of Jamaica’s top studios. Superstars of reggae Bob Marley and The Wailers, and Peter Tosh were among thousands to record at the studio.
That list continually grew and would go on to also include The Heptones, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, and Burning Spear. It would be 20 years after first opening their doors that they decided to move to New York City. They would make this dream a reality and started off with a small shop at 170-03 Jamaica Avenue in Queens, New York, in 1977. They continued to successfully promote and market reggae music.
Dr. Eanes expressed her pleasure in getting the opportunity to present York College’s Presidential Medal. She also acknowledged the level of persistence and dedication it took her to ensure that reggae got its deserved spot in the limelight. Dr. Earnes also described her as a phenomenal woman whose family has done a lot for Jamaica and Queens.
“For her successful immigrant story, business acumen and contribution to the Jamaica Queens and Caribbean American, Chinese Jamaican communities, on behalf of York College family, I am delighted to honour [and present] – the first in my presidential history – this award to Miss Pat,” she added.
When receiving the award, Miss Pat said that she fell into her career because of her love for music and community. She added that once she began her career, she worked day after day, week after week, and year after year to make sure it was successful.
“I also learned throughout my years in the business, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help when it is needed. And never give up when you stumble. Don’t give up, because there is always a way forward with patience and hard work,” she added.
She also urged the students who had gathered to enjoy the ride and enjoy wherever their career takes them. In sharing more words of wisdom, Miss Pat also advised students that if they meet a detour as she did, not to worry and just try to follow the path and still enjoy the ride.