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‘Lights, Camera, Action’

Trinidad and Tobago’s world famous Carnival is no stranger to celebrity visitors. This year’s edition of the festival which took place on Feb. 11 and 12 was no exception.

Some noted American celebrities with an ample dose of curiosity to experience the music, color, gaiety and splendor of the annual Trini extravaganza were quite noticeable during the Carnival. Names such as Dulé Hill, Hollywood actor of Jamaican parentage, who portrays Burton ‘Gus’ Guster on the USA Network’s popular television comedy-drama Psych and his compatriots and fellow actors Tatyana Ali, Vivica Fox, Damien Wayans, Darrin Henson, were among others who had a frollicking time in festivities which trumps Rio’s in many respects, especially as it relates to the integration of all people.

With very boyish excitement, Hill was boasting to this reporter that “my whining skills are up” as he demonstrated his version of the “whine”, a local dance which places emphasis on the waist and the pelvic area, sometimes with strong sexual overtones.

Like the other starlets, he enumerated the various parties (fetes) he attended which are held as part of the pre-carnival activities. Hill, indicated that he attended “12 parties in five days: LIME, Brian Lara’s Fete, Soca Monarch, and INSOMNIA to name a few.”

When asked how he was able to cope due to lack of sleep, he exclaimed that he had become an honorary Trini and that he had learnt the art of postponing sleep until after the “last lap,” which signals the end of the annual bacchanal.

One could understand why this “yankee”, as Americans are called in Trinidad and Tobago, honestly believed that he was a hot-blooded native of the twin-island republic. Many patrons marveled at his energy and declared that he was actually ‘the life of the party.” At the popular fete, “LIME” held at the Hyatt Regency hotel, he was on stage “wining” and dancing with local soca star, Faye Ann Lyons. This was only a mere three hours after he had landed at Piarco International Airport from icy cold New York.

On Carnival Tuesday, the honorary Trinis were able to keep up with the sun and fast-paced music of sweet soca, a derivative of calypso music, which were both created in Trinidad. They were part of several bands of masqueraders, including the new mas band, Paparazzi. Paparazzi Carnival’s C2K13 collection highlighted consumers’ obsession with glitz and glamour.

Tatiana Ali, whose father hails from Trinidad, was very emotional when she indicated that her dad always spoke of soca legend Super Blue, who after a hiatus of 13 years had returned to rule the Soca Kingdom, despite the rise of pretenders to his throne such as soca star Machel Montano. On television during the Soca Monarch competition, she was able to sing, very well, some lines from Super Blue’s runaway hit, “Fantastic Friday,” which earned him a tie for first place with Montano. The veteran entertainer went on to take the road march title, for the “most popular song” played on the Carnival days.

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