Raw Essence presents ‘Caribbean Gems’

Shannys King portraying “Pink Saffire.”
Photo by Nelson A. King
Photo by Nelson A. King

Raw Essence says it will portray “Caribbean Gems” this Labor Day, with the hope of capturing the Medium-size Band of the Year title after five years of competing.

“The reason is because we wanted to showcase and tell, with the costume, how beautiful our islands are, and how much we think of the Caribbean on a whole,” head designer Trinidadian Cathyann Cuffie told Caribbean Life, stating that the band placed second in 2010 in the Medium Band category.

Cuffie said “Caribbean Gems” comprises 12 adult and five children sections, with two male sections for adults and one for children. The adult sections are: Midnight Jewel; Black Diamond; Sunset Bliss; Royalee Gems; Treasures of Spice; Jade Mist; Blue Diamond; Mystique; Pink Sapphire; Golden Topaz; Crystal Density; and Amazon Emerald.

Cuffie said the 500-plus masqueraders this year come from “all the different Caribbean islands.

“We believe in a good chance placing this year just because of the fun team and supporters we have,” she added, stating, however: “It’s not about the competition for us but for making sure our masqueraders get an amazing costume and also that they all have a fun and fulfilling parade.”

Kezzie Joseph-Harewood portrays “Black Diamond”
Photo by Nelson A. King
Photo by Nelson A. King

Cuffie said all hands are on deck in getting the costumes ready for the Parkway.

“This year masqueraders and the public can expect the full effect – colors, fun, food and drinks; great music; amazing costumes at great prices; and so much more,” she said, adding that production runs up to Labor Day.

In explaining the meaning of Raw Essence, Cuffie said “Raw” represents “men and the lion for their strength and power;” while “Essence” represents “flavor, passion, beauty and vibrant taste of women.”

Besides Cuffie, the producers of Raw Essence include director Frankie Wharwood, coordinator Junior Lue, president Richard Gilkes, assistance designer Zoe Baptiste and representative Ryan Herbert.

Raw Essence is located at 245 E, 34th St., between Church and Synder Avenues in Brooklyn. Cuffie said members of the public can call at any time for more information: Cuffie at (347) 468- 5988; Wharwood at (347) 885- 0185; Baptiste at (646) 664- 5335; and Gilkes at (646) 288-7713.

Afiya Gray portrays “Sunset Bliss.”
Photo by Nelson A. King
Photo by Nelson A. King

More from Around NYC