Ki-Juan and Soledad’s Christmas songs are a social media sensation
A Bermudian equestrian living in the United States is helping an award-winning journalist count down to Christmas with a 12-day singing campaign.
Ki-Juan Minors, 38, has partnered with broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien for their 12 Days of Christmas countdown, where Ms O’Brien will share videos of Mr Minors singing Christmas songs leading up to December 25.
Mr Minors, who is based in Wellington, Florida, and has combined riding and singing for several years, said one of his videos had been seen and shared by award-winning singer Stephanie Mills, best known for playing Dorothy in the Broadway musical The Wiz.
He added: “She tweeted on Soledad’s Twitter line saying ’he’s singing from his heart’.
“It’s just awesome that it seems like it’s finally taking off in my direction – I’m able to connect my horses and my music at the same time.”
The campaign started after Ms O’Brien, a riding student of Mr Minors’s, shared a video of him singing Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You to her Twitter feed last Friday.
Mr Minors said that they decided to “have some fun” and record the video as he groomed their horses before they agreed to share it over social media.
He said that they agreed to release 12 songs leading up to Christmas “whenever we were kind of feeling it” and to maintain a casual atmosphere.
Mr Minors added: “I haven’t had the chance to sit down and talk in detail about how far we’re going to take it, but I give her riding lessons every single day and we just have a little fun at the end of her lesson.
“We didn’t want it to be professionally done or anything like that, we just wanted to have fun and just do it on a whim.
“No fan features or anything, just us enjoying what we do and what we’re able to do with the music and also with the horses.”
Soledad O’Brien, a Harvard-educated journalist, is best known for her television programme Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien.
She is the chairwoman of Starfish Media Group and a member of the Peabody Awards’s board of directors.
Ms O’Brien has also appeared on several programmes for CNN, including groundbreaking reports on race in America, and has worked as a correspondent for Al Jazeera America and HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. She has also written columns for the New York Times.
The first video of Mr Minors she shared received around 111,000 likes and 334 retweets, with another two released earlier this week earning about 116,000 likes in total.
Mr Minors said that the videos will be shared to Ms O’Brien’s social media including her Twitter, where she has 1.3 million followers, and Instagram pages, where she has 465,000 followers.
He added that the response to the campaign had been “overwhelming” and “amazing”.
Mr Minors said: “Within a couple of hours of the first post my e-mails, text messages, DMs, instant messages were just filled with random people, other celebrities and other journalists.
“They were just trying to tap in to see who I was, what I do and things like that and just giving thanks for putting talent out there and bringing a smile to people’s faces.”
Mr Minors said his ultimate goal was to help others feel happy this Christmas season, especially after a long and tumultuous year.
He said: “With Covid being so hard around the world, a lot of people can’t get home to their families – including myself – so this is just a chance to do something nice and just make everybody smile.
“I think the ultimate goal is mainly just to let people be aware that even though it’s hard during these times the smallest things – like a little video for a minute – can just brighten up someone’s day.
“It just kind of give them something to look forward to.”