Brooklyn Borough President, Eric L. Adams, gave the Caribbean diaspora, an opportunity to “Embrace Your Hyphen,” a phrase he coined to encourage expatriates to celebrate both their American and Caribbean cultures, and in so doing, highlight their talents, education, and togetherness for the world to see.
The this end, the politician, hosted the 14th Annual Caribbean Heritage Month celebration on Thursday, June 27, and honored Trinidad & Tobago costume designer Junior Andrews, for being a visionary and multicultural artist whose accomplishments and body of work range from visual art and carnival artistry, to design and cultural productions.
Andrews won the West Indian American Carnival Association Labor Day Ole Mas Competition from 2015 to 2018, and the 2018 T&T Carnival Individual Competition.
His program, Carnival Art Therapy where he teaches seniors in Crown Heights once week, to make costumes while listening to Caribbean music and reminiscing of days gone by, was also applauded. He also teaches students in Brownsville, and East New York his artistic techniques.
Andrews, was applauded for the exemplary leadership he has shown, making a positive impact on the lives of others.
Chair of the Caribbean-American Heritage Committee, Hazra Ali, and Consul General of Trinidad & Tobago, in NY, André Laveau, presented the citation.
The Cynthia Brown Franklin Award Citation was presented, to Charles A. Small, Esq. a Brooklyn attorney, for his outstanding work in the community. Chief Program Director Sandra Chapman handed over the citation.
BP Adams, welcomed expats to a Cultural Marketplace on the Columbus Park Plaza to showcase the beauty of the Caribbean. The countries were, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Panama, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago. An exhibition also showed the works of self-taught artist, Tony Bennett-funded art school graduate, Cheyenne Sookoo, of Trinidad & Tobago.
A symposium titled: “From Brain Drain to Brain Circulation, A role of the Diaspora in Caribbean Development Challenges,” began with welcome remarks by Omyma David. PhD, a special presentation by Shelly Worrell under the theme “Census 2020 and the Caribbean-American Community with keynote address by Consul General of Barbados in NY, Oral St. E. Mackie Holder.
Additionally, guests were invited to a Taste of Caribbean Cuisine with food sampling from more than 25 restaurants in Brooklyn.
The daylong celebration came to a climax with pulsating rhythms by the Higher Levin High School Steel Orchestra, who revved up the audience, with popular calypso tunes.
Xavier Strings — violinists Janine and Janelle Xavier — put on a spectacular performance skillfully playing the instruments as they danced with their audience to a medley of favorite Caribbean songs.
Nandanie Iranian and Diane Ramsaran of the Srijan Dance Center of Queens, also treated the audience to Bollywood style choreography.
Something Positive, Inc. Dance Company led by Artistic Director, Michael Manswell, in turn educated spectators with “Caribbean Splendor: A Sacred Tribute,” in a splendid performance in word and dance, that cemented the evening’s outstanding tribute to the Caribbean.