As an African American woman not brought up in the culture, I have found myself having some very… interesting interactions with friends, and even some family members that really don’t understand carnival outside what they see in my photos or on social media otherwise. Some of my interactions were very exciting, and heart-warming. Some? Not so much, and some just downright offensive and awkward. You will find my reflections of these experiences below. Perhaps this will inspire you to consider how you will approach these situations in the future, especially if you decide that playing mas is going to be a regular occurrence for you.
In 2015 I was undergoing major changes in my life. I was introduced to Caribbean Carnival as a means to distract me from my depression and pending divorce. I weighed almost 180 pounds. Throughout the past six years, the experience of Caribbean Carnival and its community taught me to love my body regardless of the scale, and has evolved into a major outlet to manage life stressors. Over time, I began to research and study Caribbean culture. In 2018, American Wines Matter (AWM) was born with the aspiration of spreading awareness of the Caribbean culture, encourage all people of varying backgrounds to enjoy carnival, and promote self-love.
AWM Mission Statement
To shed light on an African American woman’s perspective of discovering her roots embedded in Caribbean culture.
To capture the experiences of Caribbean Mas, J’ouvert, fetes and other activities in means that inspires others to embrace the culture, and to dispel many misconceptions of those that do not understand its historical roots.
To share current and developing knowledge through my experiences. To spread awareness and love of Soca and Caribbean Mas to all those interested, especially those who feel that they are not included because of their cultural backgrounds.
To provide guidance/mentorship to experienced/ inexperienced masqueraders and revelers with tips and tricks to make their experiences smoother and less stressful.
To function as a sounding board for various platforms that are making significant cultural contributions to black communities.
To utilize my credentials as a certified Physician Assistant to provide education about healthcare concerns specific to the black community.
To utilize my life experiences, gifts of intelligence, optimism and charisma to cultivate love of self in all women of varying shapes and sizes and to encourage them step outside their comfort zone to enjoy the Caribbean culture..
A vaccine has come and as the numbers of those vaccinated in the United States increase, the number of active COVID 19 cases continue to fall. And so… in 2021…Carnival returns. How will you do things differently?
Connecting the African diaspora one fete at a time. I had the honor of speaking with DJ Maga Stories, CEO of Afro Soca Love. Read all about him and how he was inspired to orchestrate events connecting all walks of the diaspora through a multi-sensory experience of love, soca and afro beats.