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December, 2018

Tourists visiting the Big Apple during this holiday season are no different from residents of the state who since 1932 make Radio City Music Hall the destination families are guaranteed a spectacular fun-filled showcase. Comment

Caribbean actors pay tribute to famous Trini playwright

Manhattan: More than a half dozen Caribbean actors are going to perform excerpts from Zeno Obi Constance’s plays at TheatreLab Studios on Dec. 10. Parts from eight of the Trinidadian playwright’s work will be read by some of the rising and dominant names in Caribbean theatre in “From Page to Stage: A Caribbean Journey.” Comment

November, 2018

VINCY CHRISTMAS

VINCY CHRISTMAS

Music: Vincentians and other Caribbean nationals in Brooklyn on Thanksgiving Saturday reminisced about Christmas at home, as the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (UVCGB) brought much nostalgia with its annual Christmas Serenade. Comment
What goes through the mind of a mother of a teen-aged son who has not checked in with her for almost 24 hours? What if that mother is Black, living in the southern-most state of the Union and after calling her only child repeatedly gets a voice recording? Comment

Flatbush artist revives culture in murals

Brooklyn: He draws big and tall. The Brooklyn-based artist behind “Selassie Mountain” — a big mural at the Health Conscious Food store in Laurelton, is a self-described humble artist and no stranger to colorful murals. Flatbush artist Vince Ballentine was recently commissioned by the owner of the business at Merrick Boulevard and 231st Street to beautify the store’s wall with a painting of Haile Selassie and the Lion of Judah. And it is one of dozens of similar large paintings he has drawn in other countries, he said. Comment

Queens mural pays homage to Selassie

Queens: But check out this wall. A new mural depicting emperor Haile Selassie currently adorns a Queens corner in Laurelton. The artwork titled “Selassie Mountain” is painted along the wall of the Health Conscious Natural Market at 231st Street and Merrick Boulevard. It shows the former Ethiopian ruler and highly regarded figure in Rastafarianism, alongside the Lion of Judah with a mountain in the backdrop. The owner of the store, who also commissioned the artwork, said the sketch stands to be a reminder of a black king. Comment

October, 2018

Work of Jamaican artist John Dunkley on display in New York

Jamaica: The work of Jamaican artist John Dunkley is exhibiting outside of Jamaica for the first time at the American Folk Art Museum starting Oct. 30. The exhibit titled “John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night,” features dozens of the late artist’s work and it is also the first time many of them will be at one place, said the co-curator. Comment
Haiti: The jokes on Haiti. A Haitian comedian is bringing together several jokesters for a comedy show to benefit the Caribbean country on Nov. 10. The third annual “Jokes for Haiti” at Park Slope’s Littlefield, is featuring four comedians for a laughter-laced show, all in good fun for charitable efforts. And despite its name — the quips won’t exactly be about the country, said the organizer and host. Comment

Jamaican play about mental health, displacement premieres in New York

Jamaica: A popular Jamaican play exploring friendship and displacement has made its New York premiere at the New Perspective Theater, and will be playing until Oct. 28. “The Key Game,” by Pat Cumper, follows four men — three patients and their caretaker — in a dissolving psychiatric hospital in Jamaica, set to be destroyed for a high-rise hotel. The stage play tackles an important theme on mental health during adversity, and dealing with things beyond their control, said the producer. Comment

Actress creates a different lane

Manhattan: A Harlem-based stage performer is shifting the way women performers are portrayed in theater. Recently playing the role of a Dahomey Amazon in the Off-Broadway show titled “Black Sparta,” actress Aixa Kendrick is a unique stand out in her profession. Topped with her unique look and signature Mohawk hairstyle, the performer says she is drawn to roles about history and presenting women as fearsome beings because it’s not something she usually gets to see. Comment

Playwright documents tough upbringing in new play

Manhattan: A Jamaican-American playwright is revisiting her dark past in a new stage play set to make its New York city premiere at the American Theater of Actors on Oct. 4-6. “The Wounded Soul” is a story based on Sheryl Hatwood’s life as a survivor of abuse and overcoming struggle. But even when she started writing the play several years ago — she encountered roadblocks because writing about her past required a lot of self-reflection that would take a few years to write. Comment

September, 2018

Queens: One way ticket west! An award-winning comedic play tackling immigration is playing this weekend at the Milton G. Bassin Center starting Sept. 28. “Single Entry” follows two Jamaican women and their respective determination and journeys to successfully make it to the states. When Jamaican playwright Aston Cooke wrote the play a decade ago, he highlighted an issue of the time. But the subject still remains a topic of concern for many Caribbean immigrants trying to enter the U.S., and with the current political climate surrounding immigration — the story is more relevant than ever, said the show’s executive producer. Comment

Red Hook exhibit features Port-au-Prince artists

Haiti: If you love art, the exhibit of the year should not be missed. The monumental PÒTOPRENS: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince features 25 artists working in Haiti’s capital at the art / cultural center Pioneer Works in Red Hook. Comment
Brooklyn: It’s black and it’s beautiful. Comment

Caribbean theater tackles immigration with comedic drama

Immigration: According to thousands of prospective immigrants from eight countries, targeted by the current administration with a travel ban there’s nothing funny about the state of United States immigration policy. Comment
Jamaica: A Brooklyn theater actress is going to her ancestral home of Jamaica on a Fulbright scholarship. Stage performer Abigail Ramsay is heading to her parents place of birth for a 10-month teaching program at the Edna Manley School of Performing Arts, located in the country’s capital of Kingston. The nearly year-long stay will be the first time in years that a thrilled Ramsay returns to the island, but this time around she is exploring an educational avenue she hopes will be stimulating. Comment
Guyana: Calypso Monarch, Roger Hinds, (Young Bill Rogers) wowed the crowd with memorable hits, while the hugely popular Ninja Band, and world-renown performer, Tamika Marshall, got nationals on their feet for a loud, entertaining concert, to bring down the curtains on the 17th Annual Guyana Folk Festival, in Brooklyn. Comment
Jamaica: Jamaica scored cool points with both genders in the nation by elevating the profile of one woman with installation of a statue erected in her honor. Comment

VINCY CULTURE ALIVE

VINCY CULTURE ALIVE

Music: The United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (UVCGB) on Saturday held another very successful cultural show in Brooklyn in its continuing efforts in raising funds to assist, with medical supplies, hospitals and health centers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Comment
Carnival: J’Ouvert City International announced the results of the Brooklyn J’Ouvert 2018 judging and Roy Pierre & Associates was named the first the prize winner in Fancy Mas for their portrayal of “All Hands On Deck (A Sailor is a Sailor).” This marks the 17th time that Roy Pierre & Associates has taken first place. Comment

Cultural cornucopia: Costumes and cuisine delight spectators at annual Caribbean parade

Carnival: Millions of revelers queued up along Eastern Parkway on Monday for the 51st-annual West Indian Day Parade, which offered spectators a feast for the eyes — and stomachs, according to a vendor who peddled homemade cuisine along the route. Comment
Carnival: On an unusually very hot Labor Day, over three million spectator and tens of thousands of masqueraders and revelers converged on and jammed down Brooklyn’s sprawling Eastern Parkway for the largest carnival parade in North America under the ubiquitous eyes of officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD). Comment
Carnival: The junior costume “Jump Up” presentation on Saturday, Sept. 1, was splendiferous. The children brought much merriment and a kaleidoscope of colorful costumes to the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, massing in grand style. Comment
Entertainment: Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is excited to begin their 38th anniversary season with “A Tribute To The Music Of The Palladium Era” featuring the legendary Mambo Legends Orchestra with special invited guest singer Gilberto Santa Rosa on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 at 8 pm. Comment

August, 2018

Brooklyn: New York City Mayor, Bill deBlasio, during a Caribbean American Carnival kick-off reception at Gracie Mansion, on Tuesday, Aug. 28, said the city is proud to be working together with the NYPD and the community to celebrate J’Ouvert in peace. Comment
Brooklyn: Revelers who come out for this year’s J’Ouvert parade can expect to celebrate among thousands of cops and hundreds of floodlights — but not Mayor DeBlasio, who said he won’t be attending the early morning festivities preceding the West Indian Day Parade on Sept. 3. Comment
Brooklyn: Dozens of Caribbean cultural groups and mas camps performed pieces of music and dances last Saturday, showcasing the tradition of J’Ouvert — the pre-dawn festival of Trinidadian origin, held in likewise fashion in the preceding hours of the West Indian American Day parade on Labor Day. The event titled “The Art and History of J’Ouvert: Steelband as Resistance,” brought the central traditions of the annual event to the steps of Central Branch library to enlighten, said one performer. Comment

STREET FEST

STREET FEST

Carnival: As millions get ready to converge on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway on Labor Day for the massive West Indian American Day Carnival Parade, hundreds of thousands earlier this week descended on London for Notting Hill Caribbean Carnival. Comment

‘The Carnival Jungle – Sweet Fuh Days’

Brooklyn: Alton Aimable, the St. Lucian-born leader of Tropicalfete mas band, said it will be a “true Caribbean cultural experience” when the band exhibits “The Carnival Jungle – Sweet Fuh Days” in this year’s West Indian American Day Carnival. Comment

Colors of Power showcases ‘Butterflies of Colors’

Brooklyn: The Colors of Power is debuting in this year’s West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s (WIADCA) Parade with “Butterflies of Colors.” Comment

Boom Mas gets erotic for Labor Day

Brooklyn: After four consecutive years on the Parkway, Boom Mas Carnival, the International Band, is getting erotic for Labor Day, according to co-band leaders Trinidadian Joel Deriggs and St. Lucian Daran Andrew. Comment
Music: “The organizers, exhibitors, talented performers, artisans and vendors who come together each year to make Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique Day in New York City, a reality, are all set to make this, the 10th anniversary, the biggest ever,” affirms project coordinator, Michael Vincent of GRENCAP UNITED, the organization responsible for staging this annual event. Comments (1)

WIADCA presents New York Caribbean Carnival Week 2018

Brooklyn: Thursday, Aug. 30 Reggae | Afrobeats | Soca Unda Di Stars! - Showtime: 7 pm – 1 am This outdoor jam session is complete with Afro-Caribbean Roots, Rhythm and Reggae! Full of vibes with a unique line-up Charly Black (Jamaica), Nailah Blackman (Trinidad), Ayo Jay (Nigeria), Linky First (Jamaica), Brooklyn’s own DyDy and more. Music by Kevin Crown (Dancehall), DJ Gringo (Reggae), Concert Kings: DJ Don & DJ Buka (Afrobeats) Triple 9 HD & Sound City International (Soca). Tickets: $35. More at the door. VIP $80. Comment
Music: Haitian cultural group Fanmi Asòtò teams up with NY’s Oldest House and Brooklyn Arts Council to bring an unprecedented festival celebrating the Lakou Souvenance tradition, including food, dancing, drumming, singing, and more. Comment

Make J’ouvert a non violent one

Brooklyn: On Tuesday evening, at Plenty Paradise along the strip on Rogers Avenue in Brooklyn several high powered business leaders, community leaders, noted elected officials, judges, top attorneys, clergy and the Brooklyn police commanding officer were all at one location to discuss what has marred j’ourvert for too long. Comment

Time for D’Midas’ ‘Rebirth’

Carnival: D’Midas International New York, Inc. says it is celebrating life and the survivors of cancer with “Rebirth” this Labor Day. Comment

Inspired by Zoe presents ‘The Lion King’

Brooklyn: The four-year-old Brooklyn mas band Inspired by Zoe expects to reign this Labor Day with “The Lion King.” Comment
Music: For the seventh successive year, thousands of Vincentians from all walks of life on Saturday descended on Heckscher State Park in East Islip, Long Is. for the annual Vincy Day USA Picnic. Comment
Brooklyn: With the spectacular display of some of the costume productions for this year’s Labor Day Parade, the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) on Thursday launched its 2018 New York Caribbean Carnival at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Comments (1)

1199 SEIU presents ‘Festivals’

Carnival: After a year’s lay-off, 1199 SEIU Cultural Committee returns this year with “Festivals,” as it vies for a top spot in the medium-sized category in the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade on Labor Day on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway. Comment
Brooklyn: The West Indian American Day Carnival parade’s solo Haitian masquerade group, will make its debut at the annual Labor Day pageantry next month. The Crown Heights-based Banboche Mas Camp is the newest organization that will represent the French-Creole speaking nation in the parade. As one of the youngest camps, the group recently launched a weekly fund-raiser leading up to the big event in an effort to raise funds to support the band’s expenses. At the launch kickoff on Aug. 10, the band was able to earn some support, and introduce themselves to new registrants, said co-founder of the band. Comment
Queens: The second annual “Carnival in the Rockaways” brought out hundreds of Queens denizens to Far Rockaway to enjoy a day of celebrating Caribbean culture on Aug. 18. As one of the few organized public events in Queens that honors island culture, for many attendees, witnessing the multi-cultural turnout was a sight to see, said one local mother. Comment
Brooklyn: “It’s our first endeavor of its kind,” explains Brooklyn Arts Council folk arts director Chris Mulé, elaborating on the Council’s first guided Brooklyn Pan Yard Tour to mas camps in Brooklyn. Leaving from the Brooklyn Museum on Aug. 23, from 7 pm — 11 pm, participants will visit six locations starting in Crown Heights. Comment
Entertainment: Battery Dance presents a dance theatre musical, PULA! Botswana on Broadway, sponsored by the Botswana Tourism Organisation, on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018 at 3 pm and 8 pm and Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 at 8 pm at The PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway, NYC. Tickets start at $40 and are available at www.botswanaonbroadway.com. Comment

Kiddies band goes on a fantastic journey

Brooklyn: Giselle Fritz and Associates has competed in the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) Parade for the past 11 years. The band has had numerous successes, never failing to be among the first three places in the small band category. Its individuals have left their mark in both the Individual category and the King and Queen presentations. Comment
People: Last month Jamaican theatre actor David Heron finished the closing of a production of “Romeo and Juliet” at the Shakespeare Festival in St. Louis, Missouri. It was the actor’s sixth appearance in a Shakespeare play, and the show was record-breaking attendance for the festival’s show ever, and it was awing moment for him. Comment
Queens: The Caribbean spirit was in the air. Hundreds of people attended the “Spirit of the Caribbean” community event and concert at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens on Aug. 4. The mid-day event featured a variety of island cuisine, dance, and music. And it was as much an exhilarating experience, as a it was an educational one, said the executive director of a dance group that performed. Comment

Another bombastic CropOver

Music: Barbadians and visitors jumped, danced, drank and partied in other unimaginable ways along the streets Monday to wrap up another CropOver festival, the island’s biggest, and internationally renowned, annual celebration. Comment

Suga Candy Mas ‘Dreams’ for Labor Day

Carnival: The three-year-old Suga Candy Mas is dreaming for another bumper year in the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade. “This year’s presentation is called ‘Dreams,’” band leader Belizean Maxine Magdaleno, told Caribbean Life, who founded Suga Candy Mas in 2015. Comment

Dingolay Mas pays tribute to Shadow

Carnival: Inspired by popular Trinidadian calypsonian The Mighty Shadow, Dingolay Mas will this year pay tribute to the witty and dynamic calypsonian in its Labor Day production. Comment
Queens: The second annual “Carnival in the City” exhibit is gracing the walls of Resorts World Casino for its second edition now until Sept. 7. The two-floor display launched last year to showcase Caribbean culture to patrons of the casino. Now it’s back again, this time with more new and returning imagery of the Caribbean carnival culture in the city, said the curator. Comment

WIADCA president dies

WIADCA president dies

Brooklyn: Just less than a month before the massive West Indian American Day Carnival Parade takes place on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3, the president of the organizing group has died. Comment

GCA launches children’s costume band

Guyana: Celebrating its 17th Annual Folk Festival Family Fun Day on Sept. 2, the Guyana Cultural Association New York, Inc. (GCA), will for the first time, present a children’s costume band to celebrate Guyana’s rich cultural heritage under the theme: “Spirit of our Festivals.” Comment
Music: On July 29 in Prospect Park, the D’Radoes Steel Orchestra opened an afternoon folk arts festival in Prospect Park, which through music, words, dance, puppets and theatrical presentations shared the cultural expressions of more than 10 ethnic communities, part of the cultural jambalaya that makes up Brooklyn. Comment

Glowing up: Dance party combines raves and Caribbean culture

Entertainment: This party gets a rave review! Comments (1)

Veer Paradys envelopes Antoine International

Brooklyn: Last year, “Caribbean Sickness” took over Antoine International’s Labor Day presentation. This year, “Veer Paradys, or feather explosion, envelopes the mas band, says band leader Trinidadian Kenneth Antoine. Comment

July, 2018

Roy Pierre & Associates say it’s ‘All Hands on Deck!’

Carnival: This year marks the 25th anniversary of Roy Pierre & Associates participation in Labor Day J’ouvert celebrations in the borough of Brooklyn. This band also played mas at the very outset of the Eastern Parkway Parade, from 1971-1977, winning the Band of the Year title in 1974 with Midnight at the Oasis. Comment
Books: Dozens of kids got to learn about the master of puppeteering at a puppet workshop in the Bronx on July 26. The students, who are part of the “From One hand to Another” summer camp — founded by singer Pharrell Williams, were thrilled to learn an artform many are not familiar with, said the creator and organizer of the event. Comment

MISS CARICOM 2018

MISS CARICOM 2018

People: Tall, beauty Marsh Thompson, who will be attending university this fall on a full scholarship, sashed her way into the hearts of the judges on June 22, to become Miss CARICOM 2018 at the Multipurpose Ballroom on Farmers Blvd., Queens. Comment

Carnival in Queens

Carnival in Queens

Music: It’s round two for Queens’ sole Caribbean carnival Far Rockaway’s first and only carnival is returning for its second year on Aug. 18. The “Caribbean Carnival in the Rockaways” comes back next month for another go after a successful debut last summer. The event, created by and spearheaded by State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D–Far Rockaway), brings island culture to the borough’s southern tip, highlighting the various island diasporas that have shaped the neighborhood, he said. Comment
Music: The stage is set, and the streets are ready to welcome hundreds of masqueraders who will dazzle Jersey City, NJ, in a colorful costume parade, when the Jersey City West Indian Caribbean American Carnival Association Inc. (JCWICACAI) celebrates 23 years of revelry on Saturday, July 28. Comments (4)

Vincy artist impresses with ‘Pontillism’

St Vincent: Vincentian artist Lennox Commissiong continues to impress with his diversified collection, displaying “Pontillism” over the weekend at the Wizardhands exhibition at the Dwyer Cultural Center in Harlem. Comment
Entertainment: When it comes to presenting free cultural entertainment during the summer, the unrivalled champion city in America is New York. For all its repute for being expensive and unaffordable, city parks throughout the boroughs provide dance, music, spoken word, films and theater free of charge or at a premium low to anyone willing to put a pause on air-conditioners and television sets and stepping out into breezy, tree-lined outdoor spaces. Comment

Playground operas for Harlem schoolchildren

Manhattan: Opera education in primary schools? Seems like a very far-out concept — but not for Trinidad-born Odelphia Pierre, Principal of PS 129 in Harlem, who appreciates the arts. Comment

Show tackling prison systems goes returns on tour

Entertainment: Her show is back, and she’s taking it on the road! Comment

CLASSIC LOVE

CLASSIC LOVE

Entertainment: During these dog day afternoons, there’s no better place off to cool off, relax and spend time with 200 like-minded theater-lovers who would rather chill than sweat out the season. Fast forward to a tiny space on 13th Street, where Classic Stage Company (CSC) is now presenting a revival of the musical “Carmen Jones.” Comment
Bahamas: A Prospect Lefferts Gardens dance academy is heading to the Bahamas for a new dance immersion program. The contemporary dance school AbunDance Academy is launching “AbunDance in Bahamas” — a weeklong program introducing its students to dancing styles of another culture. Comment

Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph onto Wall of Fame

Music: The Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) has inducted Jamaican American actress Sheryl Lee Ralph into its “Wall of Fame” in commemoration of National Caribbean American Heritage Month celebrations. Comment

June, 2018

BP sponsors Central Brooklyn culture walk

Music: Hundreds of revelers hit Eastern Parkway on June 24 to toast the cultural contributions of individuals and institutions hailing from neighborhoods in the heart of the borough, including a Bedford-Stuyvesant–born, award-winning performer honored at the bash who thrilled attendees with a surprise show. Comment

Panamanians score goal of honoring media

New York: Panamanian nationals here in Brooklyn glowed with gratitude by honoring media practitioners they believe are worthy of recognition and presenting 10 Lucite awards and citations as proof of their appreciation. Comment
Brooklyn: Dozens of carnival aficionados attended the annual Caribbean Cultural Showcase at Von King Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant on June 24. Fort Greene based-Caribbean cultural organization Tropical Fete, presented “Carnival Jungle: Sweet for Days” — their new carnival designs for 2018. Guests enjoyed the visual and musical entertainment, and many were especially big fans of the group’s steel pan ensemble, said one of the organizers. Comment
Brooklyn: From the eyes of the youth. Comment

YOUNG DAZZLERS

Entertainment: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, a hip-hop-style choreography performed by students of Impressions Dance Theatre on June 24, set the tone for an evening of exciting entertainment at the school’s 15th Anniversary Recital at PS 268 in Jamaica, Queens. Comment

Cicely Tyson inducted into ICS Wall of Fame

Movies: As Caribbean Americans in the United States celebrate National Caribbean American Heritage Month, the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) has inducted Caribbean American actress Cicely L. Tyson into its “Wall of Fame.” Comment

Free summer concerts return to Coney Island

Music: Council Member Mark Treyger and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams on Monday joined City Parks Foundation in returning free summer concerts to Coney Island. Comments (1)

DANCE BROOKLYN

Brooklyn: A blend of cultures performed at a free community concert at Kings Theatre on June 15. At “Dance Brooklyn! A World Celebration,” the event featured dance groups from various cultures and dance styles to celebrate diversity. Organized by East New York-based dance company Purelements, an Evolution in Dance, the company wanted the show to foster cultural connections and dance available to more people. Comment
Music: The Brooklyn-based Tropicalfete, Inc. will host its annual Caribbean Cultural Showcase on Sunday, June 24 in Brooklyn to unveil its 2018 costumes under the theme “The Carnival Jungle — Sweet Fuh Days Comment

Dream on

Dream on

Brooklyn: It’s a dream of the past and present. A show inspired by the musical “Dreamgirls” will tackle modern issues, including racism and school shooting, when it plays the Kings Theatre on June 24. “Dream Abundantly” uses tunes and themes from the Broadway musical (and later film) to shine a light on issues facing kids today, said its creator. Comment
Haiti: The Queens Museum is a vital partner with the Haitian community and hosting topical symposiums is a good example. Last week’s L’Education du Regard (Educating for Deeper Understanding), an annual event has been held at the museum for more than a decade. Comment

ON THEIR TOES

ON THEIR TOES

Guyana: Guyanese American Verna Walcott-White, an award-winning choreographer, Educator and CEO of Impressions Dance Theatre, will welcome fans to the group’s 15th Annual Dance Recital on Sunday, June 24 at 4 pm. Comment

Film history: African arts festival adds movies to its lineup

Brooklyn: When the International African Arts Festival returns to Brooklyn for the 47th time this month, it will add a new element — a documentary film festival. Comment
Haiti: It’s their first time in New York! On Sunday, June 10, for the dance-loving community, Haiti-based Compagnie de Danse Jean-René Delsoin will be offering an energetic, full afternoon of dance at Brooklyn’s Mark Morris Dance Center. Comment

DANCEAFRICA

DANCEAFRICA

Music: Memorial Day weekend saw DanceAfrica 2018 Bazaar filling the streets that wrap around the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Every May the dance festival celebrates Africa through music, dance and film, wrapping up an outdoor global market place Comments (1)

May, 2018

Music: Some may contend that Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie and his bride Empress Menem are distinguished to being Africa’s most acclaimed couple. However, in the 20th and 21st centuries most will regard South Africa’s Nelson and Winnie as the continent’s most renowned couple as well as the two fiercest freedom fighting union of the entire world. Comment
Music: Caribbean Life’s Associate Editor Grenadian-born Kevin Williams was among three outstanding community figures honored last Sunday at the first award ceremony of the Brooklyn-based Grenadian cultural group Quake USA. Comment
Haiti: Members of Haitian cultural dance group — La Troupe Zetwal, hosted a performance in celebration of Haitian flag day at Clarendon Library in Flatbush on May 19. The show included various traditional dances native to Haiti, and other artistic forms. And library patrons were very engaged with the show, even joining in on an interactive dance session. Comment

Grammy winning artist Common will open BRIC 40th Celebrate Brooklyn fest

Music: Grammy Award winning artist Common will headline opening night of the 40th anniversary gala and concert of Brooklyn Information & Culture (BRIC) Celebrate Brooklyn! festival June 5, at Prospect Park Bandshell. He will take the stage at 8 pm. Comment

Pols ramp up calls for a Little Haiti District in Brooklyn

Music: A number of legislators in Brooklyn are calling for the creation of a Little Haiti Cultural and Business District. Brooklyn Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte will be joined by Assemblymember Nick Perry, State Senator Kevin Parker, Council Member Jumaane Williams, Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo, Borough President Eric L. Adams, and several Flatbush community leaders in a press conference calling on the New York City Council to officially make the designation. Comment

Film retrospective on career of a flamboyant fashionista

Movies: André Leon Talley was born on October 16, 1949 in Washington, DC, but raised in Durham, NC After earning his BA at North Carolina Central University and an MA at Brown in French, he headed to New York City to begin what would be an incomparable career in the world of fashion. Comment

Play on colorism showing at Billie Holiday theatre

Brooklyn: A production of the Pulitzer prize finalist play “Yellowman,” is playing at Billie Holiday Theatre in Bedford-Stuyvesant until May 20. The story follows the skinny and light-complexioned Eugene, and the larger and darker complexioned Alma, as they grow from a platonic friendship to a romantic relationship in the deep South. As its name suggests, the play tackles skin complexion — particularly through colorism and how they affect both characters respectively. Comment

Piers, parks & plazas ready for Concert Series

Music: No sooner than daylight savings time dawned, so too did a plethora of summer concert series to brighten and lengthen the season of free, outdoor music and dance offerings. The annual five borough presentations of music, dance, spoken word, films and theatrical presentations encompassing jazz, reggae, hip-hop, pop, r&b, and country music offerings enable free, quality, outdoor entertainment for the asking. Comment
Music: Sherill-Ann Mason-Haywood, the new head of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora Committee of New York, has described as a success Saturday’s launch of Vincy Mas in New York. Comment

‘Mask Fo So’ for SVG Connect

St Vincent: Verna Arthur, the Brooklyn-based founder and bandleader of the two-year-old SVG Connect, says it will be “Mask Fo So” for this year’s J’Ouvert in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Comments (1)

Disaster artists

Brooklyn: They are the eyes on the storm. A new exhibit opening in Red Hook this weekend showcases the work of artists from Dominica and other Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Maria. “Dominica After Maria,” opening May 12 as part of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s 40th season, will not only raise cash for disaster relief groups — it also offers a big boost for the artists involved, said the show’s curator. Comment
St Vincent: The Cultural Association of Vincentians in the USA (CAVUSA), the cultural arm of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Diaspora Committee of NY, Inc., will host a simultaneous launch of Vincy Mas in New York on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn. Comment

May is Garifuna Arts & Culture Appreciation Month

Music: The Bronx-based Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. says it is celebrating Garifuna Arts & Culture Appreciation Month in New York City during the month of May in honor of the 17th anniversary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) proclamation of the Garifuna Language, Dance and Music as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, on May 18, Comments (1)

Jamaican actress to play Meghan Markle

Jamaica: Actress Parisa Fitz-Henley, who was cast in the role of Meghan Markle in the May 13, Lifetime Television movie “Prince Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” has a connection to the Guyanese community. Comment

April, 2018

National: A Vermont-based arts assistance organization is looking to help Caribbean craft artists get back on their feet. The Craft Emergency Relief Fund, or CERF Plus, helps creatives in the hand-made art discipline with emergency financial assistance. With many U.S. based artists from the Caribbean, the non-profit has already provided funds to those in need, and are trying to lend a helping hand to more to show support, said the director of programs. Comment
St Vincent: In the spirit of the evening, echoing Garifuna colors, New York City Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson wore a dress in bold geometric designs of black, yellow, and white at the City Hall event ‘Celebrate Garifuna Heritage.’ “We should celebrate the culture of the Garifuna every day,” she beamed. Comments (1)
Guyana: Juliana Hughes was presented with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Award of Excellence for Handicrafts, for her commitment to ecology — utilizing seeds and beads, found in her homeland of Guyana, to create fine jewelry. Comment

DANCE MASTER

Haiti: Five years ago, the Haitian and the folkloric dance community mourned the death of an icon from their midst, Jean-Léon Destiné. As a dancer and choreographer, he brought Haiti’s traditional music and dance onto American stages and international venues. Soon after his death, dancers influenced by this master, talked of having a major tribute to him. Comment

‘Paradise Plum’ sweetens theater festival

Jamaica: The second annual “We Are One” Caribbean Music, Comedy and Theater Festival return this month with a nostalgic, entertaining and inspiring presentation staged in conjunction with Black Spectrum Theater to celebrate 48 years of excellence and stellar showcases at the Queens-based cultural center. Comment
Guyana: The Easter season got off to a fun start for children of Albouystown, Georgetown, when Guyanese from the diaspora volunteered their skills during a kite-making workshop to keep the cultural tradition alive. Comment

Clarke announces 2018 Congressional Art Competition

Entertainment: Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke on Monday announced the 2018 Congressional Art Competition. “Each year, Brooklyn students have the opportunity to submit original artwork into a nationwide competition,” said Clarke, Democratic representative for the 9th Congressional District. “The winning artwork is displayed in the halls of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Comment
New York: She’s written a moving comedy! A British-Trinidadian playwright will launch a heartwarming comedy about immigration and messy relationships this weekend. “Mother-in-Law,” opening at the Black Lady Theatre in Bedford-Stuyvesant on April 7, follows undocumented immigrant Petra as she prepares to marry her fiance Philo, only to face interference from her soon-to-be mother-in-law. Comments (1)

AMAZING GRACE

Jamaica: To the delight of music lovers who attended Afropunk in Brooklyn three years ago, Grace Jones fulfilled expectations to deliver fashion fabulous, androgynous music glam, lyrical mystique and spectacle. Comment

‘The Iceman Cometh’ for a limited run

Entertainment: A theatrical revival which throughout the years featured the likes of Robert Redford, Kevin Spacey, Jason Robards, James Earl Jones, Jeff Bridges, Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane is once again re-casted, reformed and already in previews on Broadway. Comment

March, 2018

Haiti: On March 15, the opening of BRIC’s latest exhibition— Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti and their Diasporas attracted 900 art and culture mavens in an epic event. Locals emerged from the never-ending winter in New York to mingle with cohorts and friends while immersed in art that will be on view through April 29. Comment

BLACK RENAISSANCE MAN

Entertainment: The Classical Theatre of Harlem (Ty Jones, producing artistic director), Pemberley Productions and Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre are presenting “Sancho: An Act of Remembrance at The National Black Theatre from April 18 – May 6, 2018, with previews on April 18-19 and the opening night on April 20. Comment
Brooklyn: Jamaica through a different lense. In a new art exhibit titled “By the Rivers of Babylon,” visual artist and New York University professor Jacqueline Bishop analyzes her homeland in recent times. The monthlong exhibit, which opens on March 30 at Sro Gallery, was inspired by the aftermath of the infamous international manhunt for gang leader Christopher “Dudus” Coke in 2010, and the decades-old tourist perception of the island nation — two extremes in which outsiders often see Jamaica, said Bishop. And in her search for family during the manhunt she discovered something unsettling. Comment
Entertainment: Welcome to Harlem, London. The prestigious British acting school, The London Academy of the Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) announced they will be partnering with two leading Harlem arts organizations this summer — The Harlem School of the Arts and The City College Center for the Arts. The collaboration will bring a two-month summer program to Harlem, giving the city’s drama students exposure to the best of the best, said Charles Hamilton, chairman of The Harlem School of Arts. Comment

Between two worlds: Dance and disability

People: She’s striding through a hidden disability. Barbadian-born Gina Mayers is a full time modern professional dancer at Brooklyn’s Shadowbox Theater. But unbeknownst to most people, she dances while living with multiple sclerosis — a central nervous system disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain and spine. Having always had a love for dancing, she came to the states to pursue her love for the artform at the Alvin Ailey school in Harlem in 2009. But before it all, she started experiencing symptoms that would lead to a life-changing health crisis. Comment

Panamanians to stage Easter cantata

Entertainment: Members of the Brooklyn-based Day of Independence Committee of Panamanians New York organization are gearing to present “The End of Times…Contact of a Soul” a dramatic Easter cantata. Comment

Vincy heroes tribute

Vincy heroes tribute

Music: Hundreds of Vincentians Saturday night joined the Brooklyn-based Garifuna Indigenous People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Inc. (GIPSVG) in celebrating National Heroes Day with a cultural extravaganza at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn. Comment

Garifuna celebrates Heritage Month

St Vincent: The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc., says it is “proud” to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Garifuna-American Heritage Month in New York, inviting all New Yorkers to join in the March 11 - April 12 celebration. Comment
Entertainment: On International Women’s Day, March 8, just one day after a nor’easter dumped a snow-rain-mix of slushy combination on the tri-state area, a ray of sunshine peeked from Broadway announcing the arrival of “Summer, the Donna Summer Musical” in a tribute to the avowed queen of disco. Comment

Over the line

Brooklyn: Call them artists without borders. More than a dozen Dominican and Haitian artists will come together to showcase artwork depicting the relationship between the two neighboring Caribbean countries. At the exhibit “Bordering the Imaginary,” opening at Bric House on March 14, artists from both countries will explore the history of the island they share. The show was inspired by a controversial 2013 ruling that stripped Dominican citizenship from children of Haitian descent, and the ignorance that its curator saw displayed at panels and protests about the ruling. Comment

Back in motion: Displaced PLG dance academy offers discounted classes ahead of grand reopening

Entertainment: Honchos of a Prospect-Lefferts Gardens dance school forced to abandon its classrooms due to allegedly rising rents are ushering in the academy’s March 11 grand reopening inside a brand new location with a week of discounted classes ahead of the event. Comment
People: Renowned photographer Lem Peterkin staged an exhibit of his work during a Black History Month event on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 at 320 Jay St. in Brooklyn, New York. Comment

CULTURAL SHOWCASE

CULTURAL SHOWCASE

Music: Barbara Atherly, consul general of Guyana to New York, told expatriates to be inspired by the vision of a united, democratic, and prosperous Guyana, during a magnificent, colorful 48th Republic Anniversary celebration, on Thursday, Feb. 23. Comment

February, 2018

People: Philadelphia-based artist Watson Mere went viral last month for his artwork depicting Martin Luther King Jr. silencing President Trump. The idea for the one-year-old piece was generated during Trump’s inauguration, which came days after the holiday celebrating Dr. King. Mere said he wanted to frame an artwork surrounding the late activist, while also juxtaposing him to something. Comment

US military helps thwart Trinidad carnival terror attack: Reports

Trinidad and Tobago: United States military troops participated in anti-terror raids in the Caribbean have helped in capturing four “high value targets” aimed at disrupting Trinidad and Tobago carnival, according to reports. Comment
Music: BPTT Renegades celebrated their long-awaited tenth National Panorama Championship title at the Panorama finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Saturday night. Comment

CIVIL RIGHTS ART

CIVIL RIGHTS ART

Brooklyn: In a month-long exhibit during Black History Month, the painted portraits of black political prisoners will be on display at the Okay Space in Williamsburg. The “Correspondence” solo art exhibit, which is part of its creator’s larger “To Be Free” project, will be on display until Feb. 24. Artist Sophia Dawson said she always had an interest in the lives of the men and women locked up fighting for civil rights, but that interest was piqued when she learned about the death of one of the prisoners that made up the Angola Three. Comment

New gallery makes Harlem home

Manhattan: From London to Harlem. A British-based gallery celebrated the opening of its location in Harlem on Feb. 4. Gallery 8 welcomed dozens of Harlemites into the new art space to introduce themselves to the neighborhood, and give residents a chance to get acquainted with the gallery, said the gallery’s partner. Comment

January, 2018

‘Once on this Island’ on Broadway

Manhattan: The revival of the 1990’s musical “Once on this Island,” is the sole Caribbean-based show currently on Broadway. It returned to the stage in December, close to three decades after its first run. It is a one of a kind production and its rebooted comeback is even more exciting, said the show’s marketing partner. Comment

DISRUPTIVE ARTISTS

Music: A new season is in session. The Harlem Stage performing arts theater has announced their lineup for their spring season, which started on Jan. 16 and kicked off with “Ella! A Centennial Celebration.” The new season has several shows and even some free forthcoming performances and workshops. Comment

Fellowships for East Brooklyn artists

Brooklyn: An East New York-based art organization has announced a $16,000 fellowship for Brooklyn artists. ART’s East New York (AENY) is introducing the The Van Lier [re]Activate Fellowship as part of their ReNew Lots project for artists and artisans living in eastern Brooklyn. Comment

Is Chutney out of place in Carnival?

Trinidad and Tobago: When people get angry, they tend to speak their mind. Their emotions explode in words that they have been suppressing for some time. Psychologist Dr Jeffrey Huntsinger proved this theory after conducting experiments at Loyala University in Chicago in the USA in 2012. Comment
SISTAS

The Musical now in its seventh year

Music: With the arrival of 2018, the long-running smash SISTAS: The Musical had its seventh New Year’s celebration at St. Luke’s Theatre in the heart of the Theatre District. Comment

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