‘Caribbean Sickness’ takes over Antoine International

A section of Port-of-Spain Pan Groove entertains at Antoine International Mas Camp.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Claiming that “Caribbean Sickness” is too prevalent, Trinidadian Kenneth Antoine says that it is befitting that he so names this year’s Labor Day production.

“Wherever you go — all over the Caribbean — everybody gets this Caribbean thing in them, this fever,” said Antoine, band leader and producer of Antoine International, in a Caribbean Life interview. “That’s why I call it a sickness. It’s an epidemic.”

Antoine, who founded Antoine International in 1991, said “Caribbean Sickness” comprises 14 sections, including Archangel, Coppertone, Ice White, Royalty, Serenity, Women and Men of the Red Land (Indian), Sun Gods, Oriental Magic, Heat, Caribbean Paradise and Running Rainbow. The remaining sections are produced outside the camp, Antoine said.

He said all but five sections are females. The male sections are: Serenity, Men of the Red Land, Coppertone and Sun Gods (with one outside section).

Antoine averages 30-35 masqueraders per section for an overall 275-300.

“We’re from all over,” he said about the nationalities of the masqueraders. “We have no specific country, but the majority will be Trinidadians. We cater for Americans right back to the whole Caribbean. We have three whites already registered and one Chinese.”

Antoine, who has been participating in mas production for more than 30 years, said he hopes to place in the top three places in the Adult Mas category in the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade.

“We hope to at least win something,” he said, adding that Antoine International has competed “very good” over the years.

“We won small bands a couple of times and won medium band three times,” he said. “We’ve never won large band, because we’ve never been in the category. For the first time this year, we’re going up (competing) in the large band (category).”

He said masqueraders can expect “lots of fun,” adding: “Because the band is all inclusive, you get food and drinks. We take care of our masqueraders.”

Masqueraders will sway to the pulsating beat of DJ Sound City, Antoine said.

The mas camp is located at 245 East, 34th St., between Church and Snyder avenues in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Antoine can be reached at (347) 303-7857 or email at kennyantoine622@gmail.com. You can also call Simone LaPoint at (347-701-4649.

“I hope everyone will come out and have a beautiful carnival without committing any crimes,” said Antoine, who is also president of the Carnival Band Leaders Association. “Wishing all the bands best of luck!”

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