Though the Brooklyn-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) is yet to announce plans for this year’s carnival parade, in view of COVID-19 pandemic, the carnival group has been hosting other activities in keeping with its mission.
This month, WIADCA says it is hosting “a week for New York City to enjoy Caribbean-cuisine, as Caribbean restaurants offer prix fixe menus and ‘NY Caribbean Restaurant Week’ specials from June 20 – 26 to celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month.
“This year, WIADCA is using its 8th Annual NY Caribbean Restaurant Week initiative to build awareness around the Caribbean restaurants that have been impacted,” it said. “We are currently asking the restaurants to register.
“If you have any restaurants that you think would benefit from this initiative; or organizations that can assist in ‘getting the word out’, it would be great,” WIADCA added.
Last month, WIADCA Cares, Sesame Flyers International and Friends of Crown Heights were “just some of the countless Caribbean organizations that rallied together in efforts to support those affected by the eruption of La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” WIADCA said.
It said community members donated household items, personal care items, non-perishable foods, baby/childcare items and medical supplies to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The carnival group said music artists and entertainers also lent their support.
Contributors included Vincentian soca artists Problem Child and Kevin Lyttle, and deejays from Team Soca, WIADCA said.
Last Labor Day, in lieu of the spectacular display of carnival costumes and revelry in what would have been the 53rd staging of the spectacular West Indian American Day Carnival parade, organizers hosted a virtual Caribbean Carnival extravaganza.
“We will not give in to COVID-19,” vowed Trinidadian Angela Sealy, Board chair and long-serving member of the Brooklyn-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), which usually hosts five days of carnival events, culminating with the massive parade on Labor Day on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway.
In the pre-Labor Day activities last year, WIADCA presented a virtual Youth Fest talent show, highlighting young emerging artists.
It also hosted Brass Fest, a virtual “at home’ jam featuring popular musical ambassadors Kes the BAND; Tabou Combo, celebrating their 52nd year anniversary as Haiti’s premiere Kompa band; Nailah Blackman, on stage with Kes for the very first time; and Trinidad and Tobago’s Road March champ Iwer George, among others.
On Labor Day last year, WIADCA opened with “One Love” New York Carnival and a Virtual Road show, a 12-hour edition complete with live DJ music, allowing masqueraders to participate safely from home on Zoom.
In celebration of WIADCA’s 2020 theme, “Back to Love,” the virtual and community marshals included members of the New York Police Department (NYPD), “essentials” from surrounding hospitals, city agencies and young professionals; WIADCA volunteers; and “other notables.”
Calvin Collins — also known as International DJ Spice, a WIADCA Board Member and Entertainment Committee co-chair — said: “We can’t wait to get back in the streets carnival-style to feel the love again.”