Miami Broward One Carnival Celebrate 30 years of Carnival in South Florida

By Jason Walker

MIAMI BROWARD CARNIVAL CELEBRATES 30 YEARS

MIAMI BROWARD ONE CARNIVAL CELEBRATES 30 YEARS. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIAMI BROWARD ONE CARNIVAL

Miami Broward One Carnival reaches a major milestone in 2014. Three decades is a long time for any area not based in the Caribbean to host the largest physical manifestation of Caribbean culture: Carnival. The name Miami Broward One Carnival reflects the historic unification of two Carnivals that were staged for several years in close proximity in South Florida, on the same day at the same time. Both events drew thousands of people and had stage shows and bands.  The people, however, wanted one Carnival for the sake of unity, – everyone could partake in all that Carnival has to offer.

The vision of Carnival in South Florida 30 years ago has manifested itself into one of the most popular Caribbean events in North America. The Carnival even has hit songs that are about that Carnival, such as Alison Hind’s “Never Too Late For Carnival” featuring Trevor Offkey.

Joan Hickson is the chair of the organizing committee. Hickson thought back to “the first Carnival on NW 183rd Street.  I was a member of the St. Lucia Association of South Florida.  We became a band in the Carnival.  I was actually the Queen of the Band one year.  Since that time I have been involved in other bands – D’ Untouchables and D’ First Dimension.  I was on the Board of the South Florida Bandleaders Association and Caribbean American Carnival, which later became Miami Carnival Inc.  I have loved almost every minute of the last 30 years.  It is an accomplishment that we were able to overcome everything and all come together to continue this beautiful event”.

YOUNG ONE IN COSTUME FOR JUNIOR CARNIVAL

YOUNG ONE IN COSTUME FOR JUNIOR CARNIVAL

Hickson also demonstrated the importance of joining both Miami and Broward Carnivals; “it is very important for us to have only one Carnival in this region”, she cited.  “History has proven that we cannot afford more than one – financially, culturally or socially.  It was hard for both organizations; we were accustomed to our independence, but as leaders of our community it was the only choice and it was the right choice.”

Kathryn D’arcy is a director on the organizing committee. D’arcy shared that this year the “theme is a celebration of the 30th Annual Miami Carnival.  The first Miami Carnival was in 1985 in what is now the City of Miami Gardens.”

The late Selman Lewis took the helm of leadership in 1990 and with great fortitude, cunning, will power and strong support helped to guide the Carnival to be one of the most recognized in the world.

Miami Broward One Carnival by Walter Drayton

IMAGES FROM CARNIVAL IN SOUTH FLORIDA BY WALTER DRAYTON

Getting to the milestone of 30 years is very important and has been very difficult. The Carnival organizing committee has to make sure all facets of the very large event are taken care of, that there is buy in from the non-Caribbean community, the governing municipalities of South Florida, and the other Carnivals to avoid conflicting schedules. D’arcy shared that doing this “is a personal triumph because of my history with Miami Carnival.  I was not there in 1985, but I was in 1986 and every year since.  I’ve been a bandleader, a mas player, a competitor, an onlooker and an organizer of Miami Carnival.  I have seen and been a part of different facets of Carnival and from an organizational perspective I’ve seen every problem, every triumph over adversity – and there have been a lot of them.”

The Director of Marketing, John Beckford (formerly part of the Broward Carnival organizing committee), states that the Carnival means to him “embracing heritage and celebration of Caribbean arts and culture. It means food, drinks and music indigenous to the Caribbean. It means, getting together with friends and family if not for this one time each year…it means old man Winter is about to set in….” Hickson declares that, “I have loved almost every minute of the last 30 years.  It is an accomplishment that we were able to overcome everything and all come together to continue this beautiful event.”

For it to last this long and still grow and be relevant is admirable, the question as to how it has lasted so long was posed to Hickson.  She responded by saying “Our community loves Carnival.  No matter where we are from, we all had Carnival at home, so it’s natural to want to show our kids and teach them our culture.  Every year another thousand people discover Carnival and will bring their friends the following year.”

Broward Canrival

IMAGES FROM BROWARD CARNIVAL

Miami Broward One Carnival has left enduring memories for all, memories that have seared into people’s subconscious to become lasting life images. Board members shared some of their memories; Beckford shared his most enduring memory which was a “A quiet conversation with Selman Lewis two days before he died, about how unity of Miami & Broward carnivals was the right thing to do…. Selman….miss him….”; Hickson adds, “… the memories of Selman Lewis are there. We called him “The Runner” because the rest of the Board had specific responsibilities but he was, overall, responsible for everything.  Plus, Selman was too elegant to ever run. The name was our private joke.  I always loved seeing the Kings, Queens and Individuals on stage, especially when we did the show at the Coconut Grove Convention Center and they had a big stage to perform on.  The Junior Carnivals are good memories.  I loved it when the steelbands came from T&T and people just chipped along smiling and happy.” D’arcy remembers “Wet Mih Down” playing while masqueraders jumped up on stage in pouring rain in Miami Beach; sitting on the wall of Hialeah Park watching the masqueraders pass; the heat at  carnival parties in Studio 183 and Travelodge; Sherman Helmsley (“Mr. Jefferson”) jumping up on stage at the Convention Center; a City of Miami Policeman pushing pan on stage at Bicentennial Park; TanTan and Saga Boy at Pier 1 in Miami Beach; the perfection of D’ First Dimension Mas Band; all mas bands, steelbands, Junior bands and J’Ouvert bands that make up Carnival.”

The Carnival brings thousands of persons to South Florida consistently from across North and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and even Europe. It is a huge boost to the South Florida economy, a great plug for Florida tourism and a fantastic display of Caribbean Culture. Caribbean and Non-Caribbean people get engaged in the Carnival in diverse ways. They are not just standing on the sides and grooving to music anymore, they are becoming a part of the show joining bands, putting on costumes and fully becoming part of the Carnival. There are Caribbean and non-Caribbean people volunteering to help with the organizing of the Carnival. According to Beckford, “some embrace carnival and are curious of the diversity. Thanks to TV, Internet and World Travel, more non-Caribbean folks explore and embrace Carnival. Each year I see non-Caribbean numbers grow in attendance”

Kia Hidspire representing Grenada & St Lucia along with Nicole Williams representing Jamaica in Tribal Mas Band in the 2013 Miami Broward Carnival

Kia Hidspire representing Grenada & St Lucia along with Nicole Williams representing Jamaica in Tribal Mas Band in the 2013 Miami Broward Carnival

There are many aspects for people to enjoy and be engaged in. Patron and Reveller Nicole Williams who makes the trek from New York City states that “my favourite part would be the beginning when we start to march”; Miami Native Rhavi Bharath eloquently points out that “the Carnival bliss in that moment of sweet soca, alcohol, stunning women and scenic ecstasy was a time forever etched in my subconscious.” There are also masquerade bands that will travel thousands of miles to partake of Miami Broward One Carnival. Garth George and his Fusion Karnival Band out of New York is such band. According to Trinidad & Tobago born George Fusion Karnival masquerade band is one of the largest to come out of New York and he states that “Miami Broward (One) Carnival is the last bacchanal getaway of the summer before the main event in T&T to get ready again for another year”.

The Carnival engages various people in many areas. When asked about this phenomenon D’arcy expounds that “there are cashiers, Marshalls to direct the parade, people to work with the vendors, marketing needs people to service the sponsors, we have PR volunteers tweeting and instagramming at every event.  These are just some of the people who work with Carnival.  From an attendance point-of-view, it’s exciting to see the promise of diversity play out on our stage.  Every color, creed and race is on the road, but in addition the age differential is amazing in that nobody is too young or too old to play mas.  We have masqueraders in wheelchairs; we have LGBT masqueraders; anyone and everyone is welcome as a masquerader or attendee.  We are truly diverse and that is the true pageantry and spectacle of Carnival.”

Looking back at the three decades it is hard to separate Selman Lewis from the memories. Hickson shared that “Selman Lewis is the cerebral founder of Carnival.  The WIADCA Committee founded Carnival in 1985.  In 1990 Selman Lewis took the Carnival and dragged it to a higher level.  He formed alliances which brought Brooklyn and other cities to Miami in record numbers.  He started the Coconut Grove Convention Center parties.  He started doing a Carnival Launch.  He then started doing an Official Launch of Miami Carnival in T&T.  He was the brainchild behind the beautiful brochures which many Carnival produce.  He had a unique mind and the ability to communicate which allowed him to dominate every meeting and every group, and to get people to agree with his viewpoints.  He formed the first “Junior Board” with the intent of having a group of younger people to take over Carnival.  His policies and procedures are still used today.  He was a Carnival Genius.”

Miami Broward One Carnival celebrating 30 years should be a powerful display of Caribbean culture, expression and, yes, unity. The Carnival will be in two parts the Miami Broward Junior Carnival will be held on Sunday, October 5, 2014 at the Central Broward Regional Park & Cricket Stadium (3700 NW 11th Pl, Lauderhill, FL 33311) and on Sunday, October 12, 2014 there will be the staging of the Miami Broward Parade of Bands, 30 Years Celebration at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds, 10901 Coral Way, Miami, Fl 33165. For more information visit www.miamibrowardcarnival.com.

Jason Walker is a freelance writer for Caribbean Today Magazine who has had an award winning journalism career that spans 20 years. He can be followed on twitter at www.twitter.com/jasonwalker_ or emailed at jasonarticle@gmail.com

BwH1-LBIEAAYdBb

Trinidadian Born Miami Native Rhavi Bharath with fellow Masquerader overlooking Biscayne Bay in Miami

marcus_garvey_0822

TODAY IS MARCUS GARVEY’S BIRTHDAY, in the face of all that has been occurring (police brutality against brown and black people, institutional racism and all other forms of oppression) the words of MARCUS MOSIAH GARVEY can help us in our quest for change.

 

“One God One Aim One Destiny”

 

Short Overview from Jamaica Information Service.

 

- Jamaica’s first National Hero was born in St. Ann’s Bay, St. Ann, on August 17, 1887. In his youth Garvey migrated to Kingston, where he worked as a printer and later published a small paper “The Watchman”.

 

During his career Garvey travelled extensively throughout many countries, observing the poor working and living conditions of black people.

 

In 1914 he started the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), in Jamaica. The UNIA, which grew into an international organisation, encouraged self-government for black people worldwide; self-help economic projects and protest against racial discrimination.

 

In 1916, Garvey went to the USA where he preached his doctrine of freedom to the oppressed blacks throughout the country.

 

However, USA officials disapproved of his activities and he was imprisoned, then deported.

 

Back in Jamaica in 1927, he continued his political activity, forming the People’s Political Party in 1929. He was unsuccessful in national elections but won a seat on the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC).

 

But the world of the 1930s was not ready for Garvey’s progressive ideas. He left Jamaica again, this time for England where he died in 1940. His body was brought back to Jamaica in 1964 and buried in the National Heroes Park in Kingston.

 

Garvey’s legacy can be summed up in the philosophy he taught – race pride, the need for African unity; self-reliance; the need for black people to be organised and for rulers to govern on behalf of the working classes.

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Third World Maxi Priest

QUESTION: “THIRD WORLD HAS HAD A FEW LEAD SINGERS OVER THE YEARS. ONE HAD A NICKNAME THAT IS A VEGETABLE, WHAT IS HIS FULL NAME AND NICKNAME?”

SUNDAY, AUGUST 17, 2014
NBAF Global presents
THIRD WORLD  ||  MAXI PRIEST 
and JULIE DEXTER 
@
THE TABERNACLE
152 Luckie Street ~ Atlanta, GA
6pm
Tickets start @ $15, VIP tickets available
Purchase tickets online @ 

 

CLASH IN ATLANTA

CLASH IN ATLANTA

BY JASON WALKER

MIKE DOBSON PRESENTS
Shebada bringing his Jamaican Play to Atlanta August 16
to the Georgia Tech Ferst Center Theater
 
Atlanta has always been a destination for Jamaican plays, ever since the Caribbean population in Atlanta started to grow in leaps and bounds since the 1980’s. With a population of roughly 200,000 persons. And of that 200,000 a big chunk is Jamaican, so it makes sense that another Jamaican play should be brought to Atlanta. 
 
This play is “Clash” starring Keith “Shebada’ Ramsay, simply know as Shebada. Shebada is one of the hottest commodities in Jamaican and Caribbean comedy and theatre. Shebada draws thousands of people to his plays, does TV and has become very popular in Jamaica’s music world. Not since Oliver Samuels has there been such a cult following. Shebada has become extremely popular throughout the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora (Canada, US and UK). 
 
Critics in Jamaica say that Shebada’s performance in Clash is his best since Bashment Granny. Shebada plays Rivers a road manager of an up and coming Jamaican artist. The play is an irreverent look at Jamaica’s music industry filled with area leaders doubling as unscroupulous promoters, incompetent road managers,  shady booking agents, and dancehall artistes who are not very bright.
 
Shebada represents the new generation of Jamaican theatre which showcases the modern Jamaican culture, his rapid fire manner that he executes his comedy has enthralled and delighted audiences and has given new Jamaica a platform. Shebada is also known to touch on very risque topics for Jamaican society. His most famous character “Bashment Geanny” which sees Shebada in drag on Jamaican stages is not a normal phenomenon seen in that country’s theatre industry.
 
Although very popular, he is a very private person and does not like crowds. Shebada grew up in a large family and in economically challenging circumstances in Franklin Town, Jamaica and has gone on to become a Jamaican superstar. The play Clash also stars Jamaican theatre legendary Volier “Maffie” Johnson. along with Garfield “Bad Boy Trevor” Reid, Tuana Flowers and more. Atlanta audiences are going to be treated to one of the most talented and brilliant talents to grace the Atlanta stage on August 16th at the Goergia Tech Fest Center Theater / doors open at 6pm / 349 ferst drive Atlanta Ga for more information the number is 7703679677
Emancipation Park statues representing Africans looking to the sky after Emancipation declared throughout the British Empire in 1834

Emancipation Park statues representing Africans looking to the sky after Emancipation declared throughout the British Empire in 1834

(I originally wrote this piece a few years ago, still seems to make sense to me)

By Jason Walker

Emancipation day is an important day for the descendants of Africa, especially those whose ancestors were impacted by the brutal Slave trade. In the 1800’s the holocaust of slavery was hit with a crippling blow around the world. The Emancipation Act was passed on July 31, 1834 throughout the British Empire and effectively ended the inhumane Slave Trade. Full freedom from slavery did not come until four years later on August 1, 1838.  The 4 year period was instituted as a transition period as this monumental change would irrevocably change societies worldwide. The abolition of Slavery in the British Empire would affect slavery everywhere mainly because Britain’s navy owned the seas and without the cooperation of the British Navy, it made slavery both difficult and expensive. And as destructive, dehumanizing and inhumane the European version of the system of slavery was; it was for all intents and purposes an economic manifestation.

Slavery was a cruel and destructive system that had Africans as free labourers in labour intensive industries such as Cotton, Sugar and Tobacco. Throughout the 1400’s through to the middle of the 1700’s products such as these fetched a very attractive price, along with the free labour, a tidy profit could be made. Although labour was free, the cost to keep Africans enslaved was high. Especially in areas where there were slaves freeing themselves and staging revolts. The most successful of these of course included the Maroons in Jamaica from the 1500’s through to the 1700’s and even more so the Africans (including Maroons) in Haiti who at the end of the 1700’s would successfully wage a revolution against French armies, supported by Spain and England.

Do not think though that the Emancipation act came about from any suddenly altruistic gestures by the British Monarchy. Due to the work of many abolitionists in Britain; the sentiment against the horrific system Slavery had grown tremendously among the English population. Also the prices of the aforementioned products began to drop on the world markets as new products that did not need this labour intensive situation were now rising to prominence. Along with that came the advent of the industrial age which was ushering a new era where such labour numbers were not the order of the day. All the aforementioned along with the cost of keeping control and responding to revolts made these endeavours non-attractive. Continuing the genocidal and devastating system Slavery no longer made economic sense.

As we come to the present, we find that it is only in the past two decades that countries have decided to mark this date as a holiday, and of the countries that were affected by this act (Countries in Africa, The Caribbean, Central America, South America, & North America) a small percentage actually commemorate this day*. Maybe that is appropriate; I say this because although things are different from the era of slavery, people of African descent in the aforementioned geographical areas are not in a position of true emancipation.

The definition of Emancipation from the English Oxford Dictionary states that it is “the fact or process of being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions; liberation:” With the majority of African persons in these areas lacking resources, political clout, and in some cases freedom, can we really call ourselves emancipated? It was probably this same observation that led former Prime Minister of Jamaica and former leader of the Non-Aligned Movement (a coalition of countries that were not listed as industrial nations) Michael Manley to say; “The enslavement of the body which endured till 1838 was nothing compared to the enslavement of the mind which persisted since”. The affects of slavery and the propaganda to support slavery has endured and left a lasting mark and has conspired to keep those of African descent in such a position.

Yet by our accomplishments singularly and in some rare cases collectively we see we are a very powerful people. So it is possible to change the current existence. However we will probably have to do what Reggae Superstar Bob Marley said in his song Redemption Song: “Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery” before we can truly be at a stage of Emancipation. So although we celebrate the Act that saw fruition on August 1 1838 annually, we should probably use these days to see where we are on the road of getting to the next stage of Emancipation and be creative in getting to that new stage.

*Countries that Celebrate Emancipation Day include: Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda, Bahamas, St. Lucia, Canada, Guyana, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis

Vin and flag

VIN MARTIN

Vin Martin, the former Jamaican Honorary Consul to Atlanta has died in Atlanta.  He served as Jamaica’s honorary Consul from 1997 until he retired last year after 16 years of dedicated service.

He was awarded the  Jamaica Diaspora Award of Excellence in 2013 for contributions to the development of the Jamaican diaspora in the United States.

Vin was born in Jackson Town, Trelawny and attended Excelsior High School before migrating in 1965 to the United States to attend College. He earned an undergraduate degree from Howard University (1969) in Washington D.C., an MBA (1972) in Finance and Investment from Pennsylvania State University and a Juris Doctorate (1976) from the Washington College of Law of the American University in Washington DC.

In 1972, Vin commenced work as an Accountant with Fannie Mae but upon graduation from law school, he was transferred to Atlanta and commenced work in Fannie Mae’s Atlanta legal department. After 30 years at Fannie Mae, he retired to open his own law practice in Stone Mountain.

Vin is survived by his wife, Hazel, their two sons and three grandchildren.

Courtesy of JAMATLANTA

Marley-StephenSTEPHEN MARLEY

HERE IS AN EXCERPT OF AN INTERVIEW I DID FOR CARIBBEAN TODAY MAGAZINE. WHICH WAS ALSO AN EXCERPT OF A MUCH LONGER INTERVIEW, WHICH I PROMISE TO PUBLISH IN FULL IN THE FUTURE.

STEPHEN MARLEY TALKS TO JASON WALKER

Stephen Marley is one of the most successful and decorated artistes and producers around. He is the son of late reggae king Bob Marley and a member of the Melody Makers, the group his father started with his siblings.

“Ragga” Marley runs the Ghetto Youths International (GYI) label where he produces music for himself and other artistes, including his brothers Damian and Julian, along with Wayne Marshall. Stephen holds the record for the most reggae album Grammy award wins – three with Melody Makers.

 

Caribbean Today freelance writer Jason Walker recently caught up with Stephen Marley. The following is an edited version of that interview.

 

Jason Walker: Tell us about GYI.

 

Stephen Marley: Well GYI is a label whey we form that consists of Damian, Julian, Stephen (Marley) and then you have youth like Black Am I, Jo Mersa (Stephen’s son), and Wayne Marshall who just joined the force and we a build; we building.

 

J.W: Tell us how it got started?

 

S.M.: Ghetto Youth United (GYU) is something (eldest brother) Ziggy Marley had started with myself, where we were producing and releasing records for the youth dem in the ghetto of Jamaica. From that now I man had branched off with GYI. It was a platform where if artistes in Ghetto Youth United were doing well would be pushed up to the more upstream label, which was GYI, where we could spread out our wings a little more. That was the whole concept of the label.

 

J.W.: Tell us more about the artistes on GYI.

 

S.M.: GYU was more of a mass thing; maybe 10 or 15 youth would come to the studio and they would have their songs and

 

we would have our riddims. That was going on in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Now when we are concentrating on being a label, that is when we came up with GYI and that is where we really started to take on artistes. In the beginning it was myself, Damian and Juju (Julian).

 

J.W.: How are artistes evolving at the label?

 

S.M.: Damian a start from a little youth to now where he is taking on artistes and producing. We are a house of music; really that is what it is. When you come amongst us, you are definitely going to grow. I live at the studio; that is my home. We live this, we don’t just talk this and prepare like a job. We live this.

 

J.W.: Tell us about your evolution.

 

S.M.: Well, the whole evolution, we started in 1979 when we released our first official record as the Melody Makers (“Children Playing In the Streets”). We started from then on a professional journey and a profession career, that is what we did.

 

We were privileged to be around great musicians and great artistes helping to raise the bar. We have to exist! It couldn’t be just because we are Bob and Rita youth and we are singing. We went through all of that. We have to prove that this is what we were meant to do.

 

The evolution came from there and then I started doing a little production with my grandmother and then I started slowly taking on my younger brothers. They nurtured me as much as I had to nurture them. All of my elders Ziggy, Cedella, Sharon etc. gave me the guidance necessary to be as strong as we can be.

 

They are always there when we need them. All of those things we take and move forward to today, where I have two solo albums and I am looking to come with a third, Damian gone three and looking to come with a fourth and Julian likewise.

 

J.W.: You have been an artiste, producer, performer, label owner and manager. Which role do you enjoy the most?

 

S.M.: I man is a skipper, in that sense. I was born in April. April is from the tribe of Reuben. In the Bible Reuben was the first son of Jacob, so I man is a general like that. Is a natural thing, I do not have any position. I cook, clean, wash, sing and do everything, anything that is to be done. I man is the man.

 

J.W.: Tell about the music coming from GYI.

S.M.: There was the Set Up Shop compilation, which summed up all the artistes on the label – myself, Julian and Damian. Then it had Wayne Warshall,,,,,,, (Read the rest of the article here http://caribbeantoday.com/entertainment/item/17901-musical-weapon-stephen-marley-armed-and-fighting-the-revolution.html)